Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.
But they delight in the law of the Lord,
meditating on it day and night.
They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither,
and they prosper in all they do. Psalm 1:1-3 NLT
Who do you trust?
It’s a valid question for this week’s study chapter. Who and what we trust matters. Those voices are given opportunity to direct our beliefs when thin dictate our choices and actions.
So, who do you trust? What have you placed your trust in?
The opening scripture for this chapter shows a contrast between trusting in others and trusting in God’s Word. Those who trust in the ways of God enough to follow them receive joy, bear fruit (see Galatians 5:22-23), thrive in every season, and prosper in all they do.
Those who follow the advice of the wicked, stand around with sinners (not to be confused with being with sinners since we are all sinful in some way), or join with mockers are not guaranteed these blessings.
Which would you prefer?
Which are you experiencing now?
When I focus too long on the ways of the world around me and the culture in which I live, I inevitably succumb to its ways of striving both in my mind and in my actions, and create more chaos in my life. When I focus on God’s Word and the ways of Jesus, allowing them to shape my actions instead, my anxiety, the worries I have and the fears I face in my life grow quieter and I am able to walk out my days with more calmness in my heart than chaos. The situations don’t change; my perceptions and reactions do.
Trust is difficult, however, isn’t it? It’s not always easy to let go of someone or something we have been trusting (even fallibly) in order to trust God at His Word. I get that. In this chapter I lay out several reasons for trusting God at His Word. Here are the highlights:
Why we have more chaos in our lives than we should:
Taking care of others to the detriment of our own health causes unneeded chaos (page 67). We were meant to have a relationship with God though salvation in Jesus Christ. That relationship is meant to sustain and guide us through all we face. When we don’t take time to meet with Him and meditate on His Word we allow much more chaos into our lives.
Trying to be in control of everything causes unneeded chaos (page 68). When we seek, in our own understanding and efforts, to make everything “fit” we create chaos. Trying to make all our to-do’s fit into one day, trying to make our children fit our mold for their lives, trying to be someone we weren’t intended to become, trying to… you fill in the blank, all without the guidance and direction of God and His word leads us into chaos.
We can receive His peace in all we face when we:
Choose to rely upon God to be in charge of our lives through believing His Word (page 69). When we meet with God every day for the purpose of receiving all we need to face what He has in store for the day He gives us His nourishment so we can thrive.
Choose to believe what His word says instead of just reading it to check of a to-do box (page 71-72). Studying, savoring, pondering, meditating and applying God’s word to our lives is how we’re nourished. Our own ways reinforce the chaos in our lives, but God’s word breaks the bondage of the lies (fear, worry and anxiety) and grants us His peace. When we try to lead our lives on our own we will create chaos. When we invite God to lead and trust He will make sure whatever needs to get one according to His plan does, we receive His peace.
There were 5 promises I highlighted (there are literally hundreds in the Bible) that help us learn to receive His peace:
#1 We CAN choose to believe that who God says we are at this moment is worthy of being loved (from Chapter 2, pages 50-51)
#2 God’s peace is available no matter what we are facing. We CAN choose to give our worries and fears to God instead of trying to fix everything ourselves. (page 72)
#3 God is in control when when life seems to be chaotic (Falling into place song). WE CAN choose to rely on God to guide us and in our submission to His plan we will receive His peace through a narrowed focus (page 73)
#4 God will guide us through the chaos. We CAN choose to believe His plans are better for us than anything we can create for ourselves. (page 73)
#5 God’s plan eliminates the unnecessary. We CAN choose to follow God’s direction and as we allow His peace to be our guide we are given discernment to decide what is beneficial and what is not.
When we choose to trust God at His Word we are able to receive His peace in any circumstance and, it actually grows stronger and deeper with each life situation we choose to allow Him to lead us through.
The question is, do you want to invite God to be in control, follow where Jesus leads, and to listen to the direction of the Holy Spirit?
Here’s this week’s assignments
Schedule Tracker Exercise: Again, color-code your current Schedule Tracker from this past week (see page 72 of Digging Deeper for instructions on this). Once you have it color coded, reflect upon what you see:
Were there any changes this week from last week? How did they affect your week?
Was there any change to your level of peace this week? What do you attribute that to? Share your answer by replying to this email.
Download another Schedule Tracker and complete it again for this week, but this week be sure to again add in at least one segment of time (at least 30 minutes) daily to read your Bible or read a devotional that focuses on scripture. Plan this in before your week gets started, making it a priority.
Which basic building block of developing trust with God (pages 77-78) do you need to start with? Why?
Which activity on pages 80 will you try out this week?
Do questions 1-5 of chapter three in Digging Deeper (pages 21-25)
Feedback Friday Question: What’s the one thing you’ll commit to trusting God with for the next 6 weeks (until the end of class)? I'll be discussing this on Friday!