One of the great traps of the devil is to get us overwhelmed with the standard of living that God’s wisdom presents us. We think, “I could never live this out,” or, “I know the Holy Spirit can help me, but I just don’t know where to start.” Suddenly, we have a sharpened view of our own inability. While the Holy Spirit seeks to stir us to faith in His ability to do a good work in us, the enemy tempts us to doubt and fights to keep our eyes away from God’s helping hand. Satan will paint a picture of God as a taskmaster who demands standards we can never reach. He wants to blind us to the good news of the gospel, that even though none of us can reach up to heaven with our good works, heaven actually reached down to us when Jesus came to save. And God is still giving the Holy Spirit to those who ask. Our role is believing, asking, and receiving.
Even the book of Proverbs preaches this gospel to us: “In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (3:6). The Hebrew word translated “acknowledge,” is yada, which literally means “know.” We must know God, and in every area of our lives and conduct, we must let Him be present there and have an impact. When we acknowledge His presence, His commands, and His helping hand in every aspect of life, then all of a sudden He begins making our paths straight. He does the work as we remain in this position of knowing Him.
As we read chapter three, there is a question we can ask that, I believe, will draw out our hearts to cheerfully obey the wisdom of God. “What is God’s goal in giving us wise counsel?” Some would say, “to show us how we fall short,” and while this may be an essential starting point, I believe the devil would love for us to choose this as our final answer. No, God truly intends that, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we will obey the wisdom of God as a way of life. He promises to straighten our paths, in real everyday life, if we will let our relationship with Him affect every area.
What Satan wants to hide is the blessing the LORD has promised on the other side of obedience. These blessings are the goal God has in His heart for us. He says, “It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones” (3:8). If we obey wisdom, He promises it “will be life to your soul” (3:22). He promises to provide for every earthly need and more (3:10), and there is no situation for which He will not give us the peace of Christ to rule in our hearts, if we choose wisdom (3:17). We can experience security in our walk with God, where we do not stumble and do not have to fear, not even when the demonic realm opposes us. We can have peace in our sleep and confidence in God always (3:22-26). In verse 32, He shares that He desires intimate friendship with us, and that is why He gives us wise instruction. (When we make plans to meet a friend for coffee, do we not also make sure they have directions to get there? Our desire to communicate the directions is linked to our desire to enjoy fellowship with our friend.) If all of that wasn’t enough, The LORD wants us to choose wisdom so that He can bless our homes and households, and eventually honor us one day for going His way (3:33, 35). Let these promises draw your heart into willing obedience today.
The Rock Church