A New Hope

Proverbs 3 (NIV)

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart

and lean not on your own understanding;

6 in all your ways acknowledge him,

and he will make your paths straight.

 

What role does our own understanding have in guiding our life?

 

I’m not talking about your knowledge. I don’t really mean those things you learned in school like 1 + 1 = 2 or that the earth revolves around the sun and is part of the solar systems and a galaxy and universe. No those things are fact.

 

Those are the truth and as we have established all truth belongs to God. God wouldn’t deny that 1 + 1 =  2 or that gravity hold us to the earth. He might laugh at our understanding how it works and find us quaint. But He would not deny it.

 

Opinion may vary, taste may be different, but there is only one truth. Truth is 1 + 1 = 2. If I disagree that does not change the truth. If I have not yet discovered the answer it does not change the truth. If I have spent days determining that 1 + 1 = 3 because I watched mammals mate (1 dog + 1 dog = 3 dogs) that does not mean the math problem has a new truth, it means I changed the problem. My perspective may change but the true answer is not different.

 

Taste varies between people because sensory experience is different. I may find lemon juice sour and you may not, but that does not change the fact that lemon juice contains citric acid. I am saying that taste is variable, truth is not.

 

For some truth is becoming some undefined thing that may vary from person to person. But that is not truth. Taste differences do not make truth differences. Understanding differences does not make truth differences. So your truth and my truth cannot be different.

 

So trouble begins when we begin to believe truth is fluid we begin to think that our understanding can make something true.

 

Our understanding of life is beginning to guide us in ways other than the way that God would guide us when we start denying the facts of this universe because it does not fit conveniently in our plans or our deep desires.

 

Here are some examples; they are hurtful to hear for some… But candy coating it won’t make deliver God’s point.

 

The fact that I can’t withstand the financial or emotional impact that a baby coming into my life does not make it any less true that aborting a pregnancy is killing a defenseless human being. When I do that I am making my needs and my desires an excuse to build my own truth.

 

The fact that I am lonely and that I ache for physical affection does not make it less true that having a sexual relationship with someone besides my wife is anything but betrayal of a trust, side stepping the real problem, and abandoning a commitment I made before God. When I do that I am making my needs and my desires an excuse to build my own truth.

 

But there are ways that we can lean on our understanding or motivations that go beyond feigned ignorance.

 

Let me give you some examples of what I mean.

 

Revenge and anger can motivate us to do all sorts of things that we will later know to be wrong, but at the moment we can completely understand.

 

In a research project on game theory an article on ARS Technica showed just how far we will go to make sure that we get our share or that revenge is taken.

http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2009/06/irrational-markets-people-reject-free-money-out-of-anger.ars

 

They call it the Ultimatum Game. The basic rules of the Ultimatum Game are simple. One person is given a stack of cash, and told to divide it between themselves and a second party. That second party is then given the chance to accept or reject the offer; if it’s rejected, neither of them get any money. Clearly, any of this free money should be better than nothing, so under assumptions of strictly rational behavior, you might expect all offers to be accepted.

 

They’re not.

 

Things in the neighborhood of a 50/50 split are accepted, but as the proportions shift to where the person issuing the ultimatum tries to keep seventy percent of the total, rejections increase. By the time they hit an 80/20 split, nearly 70 percent of the offers are rejected, even though that 20 percent of the total cash would leave the recipient better off than where they started.

 

The point is that we lose our ability to be rational at some point and begin to become irrational children about things. We find out that someone has taken advantage of us or has done better than us and suddenly we lose track of even the things in our life that are better for us.

 

Instead of trusting God and knowing that He will ultimately make all ledger right. We insist on extracting our own form of justice.

We spoke a while back about a song by Sarah Grove. The first lines kill me, but they point out what I it means to trust that if we will let God have His way we will land in a better place.

 

Sarah Grove – “What I thought I wanted”

 

Tuxedo in the closet, gold band in a box

Two days from the altar she went and called the whole thing off

What he thought he wanted, what he got instead

Leaves him broken and grateful

 

Maybe not the place we wanted to be in, but a better place. Sometimes God takes us out of the game because he knows that many penalties are about to be committed. He protects from those things we thought we wanted.   

 

All too often we may think we are doing the right things, but they are just not for God’s reasons. We are really doing them for selfish reasons or because it makes our ego feel the pleasure of a job well done. But really it was all about us and not so much about helping others.

 

A woman who prays that her husband’s back stops hurting because she really needs him to get the gutters cleaned. Hey I prayed, right?

 

It could even be said that a person who is doing a good thing for all the right reasons on the surface is really doing it more for their ego than for the people are said to be helping.

 

Men we have a tendency to do this don’t we.

 

“No coach, I’m fine. I can get that touchdown if you’ll just keep heading me the ball.”

 

“But Todd, your arm is still out there on the 10 yard line.”

 

“Oh, that. It’s just a flesh wound.”

 

Probably gonna lose that game.

 

We see it all the time.

 

CEO’s who have been passed by in an industry, but will let the company go under because of their ego.

 

Quarterbacks who are passed the prime, but keep appearing on other teams to give it one more shot.

 

I was so sad when Michael Jordan came back. He was a hero for me. A great man who had been far beyond what anyone else had done in his sport. But his competitive spirit would not let him stop. His understanding left him somehow less than who he had been to us before.

 

The list is long:

Joe Namath (remember his Rams carrier, no one does but an old Namath fan like me)

Johnny Unitus (remember his chargers carrier, me either)

Bret Favre, Ed McMann, Elvis Presley….   

 

So what is the solution?

 

Proverbs 3

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart

and lean not on your own understanding;

6 in all your ways acknowledge him,

and he will make your paths straight.

 

What does it mean he will make our paths straight?

Check that first line.

Proverbs 3

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart

 

Does that mean that we will have fewer problems than a crooked path?

 

No, absolutely not. God never promises there will be no rain in our lives. In fact He says He will send the rain.

 

Leviticus 26:4

I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees of the field their fruit.

 

Or does that really mean that we will have a better result?

 

Let’s check our examples

 

In the Ultimatum Game if the second player would simply accept the amount they were given then they would end with money.

 

How about the “I’m pregnant and I just can’t have this baby” game?

 

How many women who have had an abortion wish they had given birth to the child?

 

How many women who let the child live truly regret the decision?

 

So many women and men know the time of year when their child would have been born.

 

In the “looking for love in all the wrong places” game?

 

Let me assure you that if you can take the time to work through the roughest time in your relationship you will never regret it.

 

It’s just that easy right?

 

No, it comes back to trust. You have to trust that God will make things right.

 

Being a child of God means putting all of your eggs in one basket.

 

God’s Basket.

 

1 John 2

1My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense–Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

 

3We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. 4The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: 6Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

 

7Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. 8Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.

 

9Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. 10Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. 11But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.

 

God wants us to live with Him forever. God wants us to trust in Him. If we do, John tells us that God will and has compensated for what the world delivers to us. If we fall God will pcik us up. If we are rained on God will make us dry and provide new closthes. If we sin, God will provide the compensation for our mistake in the name of Jesus Christ.

 

But if we do not trust in Him and walk in his way then we walk in darkness and we walk alone.

 

God has provided us with a New Hope in Jesus Christ.

 

When we cannot be perfect God has sent the one who was.

 

When we stand in judgment God has provided an advocate.

 

All that is required to pay this advocate is trusting in the one who sent Him.

 

We cannot fake it. 1 John 2:9 (TCB Paraphrase)

 

We must put our words in to action. We must know that if we do God will win and if he does we will for we are His children.

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About toddcbrown

The body of Christ will never grow if the Pastor is the one using his gifts to MAKE IT grow through some cool program or inspiring turn of a phrase.
This entry was posted in Religion, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A New Hope

  1. Jason Kuder says:

    Good sermon :)-Jason Kuder

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