I heard a person comment the other day on being impressed with an individual they had observed that had overcome many obstacles in life and seemed to have learned how to navigate well, despite them. They lamented that they hadn’t known how to do that when they were in the prime of life and how they wished they had. It seemed to them, that resources just weren’t available years ago that really helped people navigate working through troubled marriages or parenting struggles. The question seemed to be, “how has this person learned to navigate despite the obstacles?”
So, this got me thinking. What is the defining factor of success/or rather being wise? The Bible really speaks to this subject quite a bit actually! As I was reading part of Psalm 119 the other day, it was as if the answer to that question was just lifting off the page!
“Blessed are those who…SEEK Him with a whole heart!”- vs 2; “When I LEARN Your righteous judgments.” – vs 7; “With my WHOLE heart have I sought You.” – vs 10; “Your Word have I HIDDEN in my heart that I might not sin against You.” – vs 11; “I will MEDITATE on Your precepts…CONTEMPLATE Your ways…DELIGHT myself in Your statutes; I will NOT FORGET Your word.” – vs 15-16
What do all those verses have in common? It’s US DOING something! In all of life, we must put forth effort to get what we want — kids avail themselves to schoolwork in order to graduate; college students to gain a career; jobs to earn a living; labor to deliver a child; working through arguments to better our marriages, etc.
So then, the first step in navigating life and avoiding being foolish is to LEARN from God! Give your WHOLE heart to seeking Him! HIDE His Word in your heart so you don’t sin against Him! MEDITATE/CONTEMPLATE His ways! And, keep coming back so you DO NOT FORGET His word!
What’s the second part then to avoiding foolishness/being wise?
“Blessed are the blameless in the way, who WALK in the law of the Lord!” – vs 1; “Blessed are those who KEEP His testimonies” – vs 2; “They also DO NO INIQUITY; They WALK in His ways.” – vs 3; “Oh that my ways were directed to KEEP Your statutes!” – vs 5; “How can a young man cleanse his way? By TAKING HEED according to Your word” – vs 9; “I shall OBSERVE it with my WHOLE heart” – vs 34; “I thought about my ways and TURNED my feet to Your testimonies.” – vs 59; “I MADE HASTE, and did NOT DELAY to KEEP Your commandments.” – vs 60.
I love this verse — “I UNDERSTAND more than the ancients, BECAUSE I KEEP Your precepts. I have RESTRAINED my feet from every evil way, that I may KEEP Your word.” vs 100.
The second part to navigating life and avoiding being foolish is to WALK in the ways of the Lord! KEEP His Word. AVOID sin. TAKING HEED of His words. OBSERVING His ways with our WHOLE HEART. TURNING to His ways, with HASTE/WITHOUT DELAY. In short…it’s OBEDIENCE!!!
Here’s a quote Clint used to say all the time:
KNOWLEDGE WITHOUT APPLICATION IS FOOLISHNESS!
KNOWLEDGE WITH APPLICATION IS WISDOM!
We must first take in knowledge. And, God’s knowledge is the only way that will lead to wisdom. Man’s knowledge is futile! Then we MUST, ABSOLUTELY MUST, apply it!
Look at what Psalm 119 says happens when we do:
“BLESSED are those who keep His testimonies.” – vs 2; “Oh, that my ways were directed to keep Your statutes! Then I would NOT BE ASHAMED…!” – vs 6; “You shall ENLARGE my HEART!” – vs 32; “Your word has given me LIFE!” – vs 50; “You (Lord) have DEALT WELL with your servant…” – vs 65; “Those who fear You will be GLAD when they see me, BECAUSE I have hoped in Your Word.” – vs 74; “Hold me up, and I shall be SAFE…” – vs 117.
I want to live a life that is BLESSED! I want to live a life of NOT being ASHAMED! I want my HEART to be ENLARGED! I want LIFE…ABUNDANTLY!!! I want God to DEAL WELL with me! I want others to be GLAD when they see my life and then, as a result, SEE JESUS!!! And, I want to be SAFE!! And, I KNOW that safety is right in the center of Jesus!
Here is my prayer:
“Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!” – vs 10; “Incline my heart to Your testimonies.” – vs 36; “Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things and revive me in Your way!” – vs 37; “Revive me in Your righteousness.” – vs 40; “Teach me good judgment and knowledge.” – vs 66; Help me Lord to remember this: “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes…and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.” – vs 71 & 75; “Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments.” vs – 73; Thank You, Lord, that by Your precepts, “You have given me life! I am Yours, save me!” – vs 93; Thank You, Lord, that “You are my hiding place and my shield..Hold me up, and I SHALL be safe!” — vs 114 & 117.
“Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever, for they are the rejoicing of my heart!” Psalm 119:111
This is my prayer for all of you too! Oh, that we would seek His ways and KNOW the joy in surrendering to Him and this would cause others to be drawn to Jesus who lives in us! And, that we would seek TRUTH AND APPLY it, KNOWING that brings true WISDOM!