By Joe Slater
Whoever said life is a breeze was wrong! At home, work, school, and yes, even at church, we struggle with complicated issues. Sometimes we wonder which way to turn. How can we resolve life’s thorny problems?
Pop psychology says to look within yourself for the answers. Follow your heart! Do whatever you think is right, and it will all work out.
Major problem: God’s word says exactly the opposite! “O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). So, according to God’s inspired prophet, we are looking in the wrong place when we look within ourselves for direction. Why is that?
God, through Jeremiah, gives us the answer in 17:9 – “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” Ouch! It hurts me to admit that I am sinful. The world erroneously insists that people are fundamentally good, so we can find the right course by looking inside ourselves. God Himself says our hearts are deceitful and wicked; it is not in us to direct our own steps.
That’s not to say that there is nothing good about us, or that we can never be correct about the direction we should go. A heart that has been cleansed by the blood of Jesus and trained in God’s word might very well recommend the right path frequently. But that’s just the point: bottom line, the right way is determined by God’s word, not by whatever might be in my heart. Even the heart converted to Christ may be deceived by Satan’s lies through the weakness of the flesh.
King Solomon wisely wrote: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:6).
When the world calls you to look within yourself to find the truth, resist that appeal with all your might. Let God direct your paths; then you may be confident that you will arrive safely at your eternal destination!
- Joe Slater serves as minister of the Church of Christ in Justin, TX. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://justinchurchofchrist.com