I was afraid.
Of a painful death. Of dying in my sins. Of failing to teach my children to fear God and give glory to Him. Of voices and sounds in the dark. No security was tight enough to satisfy me. No defense impregnable enough. No hill high enough to permit me to prepare enough in advance. No response plan sufficient enough to permit me to relax. My world was rife with traitors, thieves, and murderers without souls, and nothing kept me from feeling truly exposed, unprotected, and worst of all, powerless to save those I love.
The truth is that I can prepare for possibilities all I like, but I am not Superman. I can lay down my life to save my family. I can insure my life so that they will not unduly suffer should I flee this coil before they do. But there is no security like that which God offers those who hear and obey His voice.
This security is within the Scriptures. While some of its verses truly speak for themselves, we still must discern and obey the Living Word to hear it resonate within our hearts.
One problem I have seen is that we use too many of them flippantly in song and misrepresented verse without truly thinking on the meaning of what we are reading; without truly absorbing the nutrients in it that are meant to strengthen our discipleship. I have certainly done this more times than I can count.
One oft-repeated verse in particular speaks clearly on how to be free from all semblance of insecurity.
"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.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the LORD and depart from evil.
It will be health to your flesh,
And strength to your bones." -Proverbs 3:5-8
"In all your ways acknowledge Him."
ac·knowl·edge verb \ik-ˈnä-lij, ak-\
transitive verb (for it to be transitive, the verb "acknowledge" must have a direct object in order to be correctly used in grammar, so to illustrate I will insert the object of the verb as it applies to this discussion.)
1: to recognize the rights, authority, or status of HIM
2: to disclose knowledge of or agreement with HIM
3a; to express gratitude or obligation for HIM
3b: to take notice of HIM
3c: to make known the receipt of HIM
4: to recognize HIM as genuine or valid
Unfortunately, no human being with the wheel of their life firmly in their own grip, driving its course where they see fit, will submit to this. No person living, the majority leading what I call "La Vida Invictus"--soul unconquered, bloody but unbowed, defiant of both the narrow gate and the final judgment in the name of holding captaincy of ship and mastery of soul--will do this and receive the certain gift God offers. We *want* that security, that surety, without paying the price necessary for it. We would prefer to continue to operate under the illusion that *we* are in control, that we live free and unconquered when we are all in truth slaves. Yes, slaves. We live as bond-servants to one of two conditions; to either our sin which sires death and separates us from God, or the One who ransoms us from it--there are no other states of being. We serve ourselves in the iron chains of our sin, or we serve the Savior who frees us from the wages of sin and tells us that to follow Him is to suffer now for His sake and receive eternal life. We prefer the postmodern convenience of no suffering, no knowable truth, no difficult choices to obey, coming to God as though He were not Sovereign; as though He were not the Almighty Creator of Heaven and Earth and all the things therein, but a faerie tale genie, where we perform a few painless rituals and expect results in accordance with our wishes; where *we* are called "master" and are required to submit or change nothing of ourselves.
We want it *our* way, steeped in our hubris, but this is not *The* Way. So while we can want it to conform to our image of fairness and acceptability all we like; the Absolute Truth is unchanging. Jesus is The Only Way. *He* is the one called Master, and obedience to Him elevates us to adopted children of the same Father He has. Everlasting life is not something we all reach in our own way, but *only* through acceptance of and obedience to Him in full.
"In *all* your ways acknowledge Him."
This is explicit. It does not say "some of your ways", or even "most of your ways", with some reserved for yourself;
on your iPod...
on your computer's harddrive...
on your phone's text messages...
in your predispositions which the world labels acceptable and which God calls sin...
in a destructive habit that you do because you think it hurts no one but yourself...
in a "guilty pleasure", the guilt of which is apparently insufficient by itself to induce any change...
in your mind, and how you think...
in your heart and how you feel...
Do you desire true assurance, not only for the brief amount of time which spans the dates which will be marked on your headstone, but for the eternal existence for which this is the beginning? Do you want your path directed by the Sovereign God?
ACKNOWLEDGE HIM IN EVERYTHING AND RESERVE NOTHING.
Yield to Him your pride, because He has authority over it.
Yield to Him your habits, because He has the rights to them.
Yield to Him your pain, because it shows you have taken proper notice of Him.
Yield to Him your anger, because it is your obligation to Him.
Yield to Him your lusts, because you owe them to Him.
YIELD to the Father ALL that you are, because it shows that you have received Him. Recognize that you are not your own, that the LORD alone has valid claim over the sum total of your parts.
The NKJV notes on this proverb of King Solomon clarifies this way;
"The words *trust in the LORD* echo the command of Deuteronomy 6:5 to love God with all our being. The verb *trust* is complimented by the verb "lean". Trusting in God is a conscious dependence on God, much like leaning on a tree for support. The idea is reinforced by the command to *acknowledge Him*, which means to observe Him and get to know Him in the process of living. In doing so, a person finds time and again that God smooths out paths."
We may hear this and ask, "When I'm done with all this 'yielding' of myself, what is left that is mine? What's left for me?"
Nothing. And EVERYTHING!
Yes, this is completely unpopular. Yes, the world will hate you for it, because it first hated the Master for it, and by the sheer magnitude of its pride can not begin to even comprehend it; receiving the grace to relinquish claim of our own lives. It can not be done partially, either. This can not be half-stepped.
If I choose to stick my chin out in a fit of pride and take the wheel for myself, only to get upset when I end up lost in the wrong part of life, I have disobeyed God and require repentance for my failure to trust Him.
If you see an oncoming trial in the road of your life which you must *obey* Him through, and opt instead to grab the wheel because as much as you would *like* to trust God, you trust *yourself* more, you can't get angry with Him when you end up in a ditch.
This is the requirement for reasonably safe travel through life; to have your path directed by God, acknowledge Him in all your ways. It involves COST of all the *temporary* stuff that is labeled good or acceptable by popular opinion, stuff which we routinely claim as our right to possess or our right to be, and is ultimately worthless, and receive instead the gifts of all that is *eternal*, and is good in *truth*, regardless of *any* opinion; undeserved gifts in place of the judgment and death our sin has already earned us.
"Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?"" Luke 9:23-25
I *must* accept and cling to the grace to trust and truly acknowledge the Father in *all* my ways, if I want my paths directed by Him. If I want to truly live forever, I must deny my humanity, with all its delusions of supremacy, and *submit* them to Him in full, even if it means my life. So must we all, because there is only one God, and we are not Him.
"Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth--to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people--saying with a loud voice, "Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who has made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water."" Revelation 14:6-7
The pain and loneliness of separation from what the world calls acceptable is nothing to the agony and despair of being under the everlasting wrath of God.
So be it.