We want to learn how to really know the Lord. We want to know how to discern His presence and to move into His world. Lately, I have been praying a lot about what we should be doing. The Lord has been dealing with our hearts and teaching us, not only what Open Heavens Ministries should be doing, but what should the Church as a whole be doing? If the responsibility of the church is to gain large memberships, I suppose it is doing a fair job, although there are far more people not going to church than those who do. But if the responsibility of the church is to create disciples of Christ, it is not doing very well. Very few Christians are spiritually mature, even among the clergy.
For the most part, the Church is missing their calling. Our job here is to teach Christians how to function as members of the Body of Christ. That is also the responsibility of every church. However, what usually happens is that the people go to the church, sing a few hymns, listen to the sermon, and go home. For the most part, the congregation is made up of spectators. Most Christians never learn how to really function in the Body of Christ. They believe that by attending a weekly church service they have done their duty, and now they can live like they want to the rest of the week. However, the Bible doesn’t support that at all.
On one particular occasion a man came up to Jesus and asked Him, “What is the first commandment? He wanted to know which commandment was the most important. Jesus said, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. Mark 12:29-30.
If you can to learn to love the Lord more than anything else, you will find a life that you never knew existed - a life beyond the realm of man, a life of joy and rejoicing, a life of glory and blessing, but how many really want that? Our greatest opposition is self. Human nature is a fallen nature. It does not want to worship God, does not want to know God, and does not want to walk with Him or have a relationship with Him. That is the reason that most people don’t. I have a most important scripture from Proverbs that is very familiar to all of us.
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
People read that and what do they do? Some will drop their kids off at Sunday School, some will take them and stay, but nevertheless they expect the Sunday School to train up that child in the way that he should go. Then when he gets older he won’t ever depart from it. But what really happens? They usually depart from it. “But they always come back, don’t they?” No, they don’t always come back. Some do, and some never do.
We need to understand the way the Lord speaks and what He is really saying here, because God is relating to us spiritual principles and truths through human language. God very plainly says, “I don’t think the way you think. Your thoughts are not My thoughts. My thoughts are not your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8). That means we need to learn how God talks, how He thinks. That’s not real easy because our fallen nature doesn’t have that ability. Let’s take another look at this verse in Proverbs.
Train up a child in the way that he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Look at it this way: Train up a child until he is mature, and then he will not depart from it. We have a lot of adults walking around who aren’t mature yet, but you train up a child and teach him until he is spiritually mature. Then because of his maturity in the things of the Lord, he will not depart from it. Whose responsibility is this anyway? It is the parents’! We shouldn’t take the kids to Sunday School expecting them to bring them into spiritual maturity. It is the parents’ responsibility. But think about it – most parents aren’t spiritual enough to do that. We wonder, “Why do our kids wander off? Why do they get involved in drugs or this and that? Where is their head?” Somebody once said, “Youth is wasted on children who don’t know what to do with it.” That is basically true, but you can’t expect a person with the adamic fallen nature to be able to find the way on his own. The children have to be trained; they must be taught. Bring them into maturity! First of all, it is the responsibility of the parents to do this. Then how do the parents learn? Now that is a problem of the Church. It is the church’s responsibility to teach, too.
Let’s look at another scripture in Proverbs 3 – a most precious scripture. It is another familiar one we tend to read and forget. Lord, help us to read and remember.
Proverbs 3:5-7 Trust in the Lord with all your heart…
Have you ever tried that? How many times have you failed at that one? You trust your bank account, your education, your career, you trust a lot of things, but you need to learn how to trust the Lord. What else does it say?
Proverbs 3:5-7 …and lean not unto your own understanding.
What does that mean? It means your own understanding, your own reasoning, the natural thinking of your own mind will lead you away from the Lord. It does not lead you into God. Paul says in Romans 8:7: The carnal mind is enmity against God. In II Corinthians 3:6 Paul says: The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. If you read these Scriptures leaning only upon your natural ability to understand them, you will not come up with the right interpretation. Lean not upon your own understanding but learn how to lean upon the Holy Spirit. Learn how to be taught by the Holy Spirit. Those old Pharisees couldn’t accept Jesus Christ or anything He did. They got so mad with Him they wanted to kill Him and Jesus said to them, (You) search the Scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me. And you will not come to Me, that you might have life. … For had your believed Moses, you would have believed Me: for he wrote of Me. John 5:39-40, 46. Those old Pharisees are thinking, “I didn’t read anything in the Pentateuch about Moses saying anything about you. The name of Jesus doesn’t appear in there anywhere.” But Jesus said, “What Moses wrote, he was writing of Me.” Everything in this Bible has been a ministry or a word concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, and people miss it. This is why: Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. I understand this is difficult, but you have to learn how to be taught by the Holy Spirit and not lean upon your own understanding.
Proverbs 3:6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
If you acknowledge Him, what will happen? He shall direct your paths. I tell you, if you let the Lord direct your paths you will never fail. “Well, I see a lot of Christians failing.” Yes, there are a lot of Christians who aren’t being directed by the Lord. They are still thinking like people, still using the carnal mind.
Proverbs 3:7 Be not wise in your own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.
It is so difficult to teach anybody anything when they think they already know. You can’t do it! “Well, I already know that,” and they have walls up shutting out what you say because they feel they already know. That is what it is saying here: Don’t be wise in your own eyes. Fear the Lord and depart from evil. “Okay, well I’ve been trying not to do any evil things.” No, the evil things are leaning upon your own understanding, the evil things of being wise in your own eyes. Learn how to trust the Lord. Learn how to let Him lead you and guide you by His Spirit. Learn how. You can do it.
Copyright © 2008 by Henry DuBose