Are you overwhelmed with life or at a dead end? Loving your family and doing housework and leading yourself spiritually seems impossible. Pressures bearing down? Demands never let up? Are you needled with decisions you have to make wherever you turn? What’s the best way to educate your kids? Should you hire a new employee? How should you invest your money?
Maybe you struggle with the same old sin. No matter what you do you make no progress. You are at the end of yourself, out of hope.
We live in a fallen world. We reach points and seasons of confusion. The future looks bleak. We feel paralyzed by endless tasks in front of us, not knowing where to start. We feel like we’re drowning in decisions and duties where the path isn’t clear. Issues that the Bible doesn’t speak directly to, fill our lives.
In uncertain times, focus on the fundamentals of the Christian life. Read, listen, pray, obey. It is amazing how obeying the simple commands brings light to our darkness and joy into hardness.
God has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). We don’t have all the resources to live the life we want. God promises we have all we need to live a life that honors Him, which should be our primary desire.
When you come “to the end of yourself,” be thankful for a fresh reminder; God is all powerful and wise and you are not. Come back to utter dependence on Him. Repent of your self-sufficiency.
God loves to crush pride. He able to do it, regardless of our circumstances. Charles Spurgeon said “The painful discovery of your own insufficiency ought to be the means of leading you to the Lord, and so of girding you with new strength.” The hardships in life are meant to break our sinful independence, driving us deeper in our clinging to Christ for all we need in life.
When life stops us cold we feel the need to come up with new plans to deliver ourselves from the pain and confusion. We can never save ourselves. We should go back to Christianity 101.
When in doubt read your Bible. Devour it. Read slowly, deeply and broadly. Meditate. Read and focus on the gospel, the nature of God and His character more His commands. Sinclair Ferguson shows that the first 11 chapters of Romans contain only a few commands while they contain hundreds of statements about who God is, what He has done, what He does and what He will do. We should emphasize obedience in the Christian life, but always in the context of lavish grace that God initiates with. Before formulating a game plan to move forward in life, go back to the foundation of a loving Father.
Psalm 103:13-17 shows that we do not primarily relate to God as a judge or task master but rather as a compassionate Father! If our relationship with Him was primarily based on what we did or did not do, we would all be goners. It would be right to be paralyzed with fear and uncertainty if our actions were the final determiner of results in our lives. Praise God they aren’t!
He relates as a perfect parent to His child. God knows how weak, needy, scared and fragile we are. He is merciful to us in our sin. We do not live in a tit for tat relationship with Him, where each sin gets a spanking and each act of obedience gets a blessing. He is a trillion time more generous than that! We relate to Him based on a covenant He made with us and signed with the blood of His Son.
As you soak in grace also look for commands and principles to obey. Psalm 119:105 promises God will show the way through His word. His word is not a GPS system. It will not tell you exactly step by step what to do (as we sometimes wish it would). The principles of Scripture will shed enough light on our path to take the next step. Often to figure out step two I must take step one first in faith that God will continue to guide and provide.
Many Proverbs exhort us to seek advice from godly counselors (15:22 etc…). When you have a decision to make and the Bible does not give clear wisdom the next best thing is a constellation of counselors that agree. Be humble and ask for help. If 2-3 wise, godly advisors that give you the same advice, it is probably true. Trust God to work through His people to guide you.
How often we skip this or minimize prayer. I’ve asked many Christians in hard times “Have you prayed?” and heard “No.” I have fallen into sin and later wondered why I didn’t pray when tempted. We are prone to forget.
James 1:5 is remarkable. Anytime we admit we lack wisdom, ask God to provide and trust Him, He promises to give it. I have literally “proven” this verse hundreds of times. I’ve felt stuck but quoted this verse to God in prayer and soon a verse or an idea comes to mind, helping me see the way.
Matthew 6:25-34 says seek God’s kingdom above all. What’s that look like? Obey the great commandments. Worship Him corporately and alone. Love Him by obeying His commands. Love all people as your yourself. Love people God puts in your path; family, friends, employees or strangers. Start with those closest to you.
Don’t be paralyzed. Meditate on God’s character. Listen to advice. Ask for wisdom. Trust Him to provide, whether through a command, a friend or circumstances. By His grace, seek to follow His will. When you don’t know what to do, do what you know. God is not playing games with you. He is a good Father. Trust Him. Read, listen, pray, obey.