Satan would have us believe that we must do something in order to obtain the Lord’s blessing. If he cannot deceive us into believing that we must earn our eternal salvation, then he will attempt to make us believe we must earn God’s daily favor. And while no one is truly saved unless he trusts alone in Christ’s finished work on the cross, many real saints miss the daily blessing of salvation because they try to earn it. Grace is not a reward for our good behavior; it is a gift of Christ’s perfect one. There is only one legitimate motive for doing good works: love. If we do something because we love the Lord or love our brethren in the Lord, we are blessed. If we do it for any other reason—such as, because we know we should, or because we wish to avoid feelings of guilt, or because we know others are watching—the deed may be recognized, but we will forfeit the blessing. Paul leaves no doubt about this truth: “If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing” (I Cor. 13:2, 3). Ability to understand the Word, even giving our possessions or self, are nothing if Christ’s love is not motivating us.
How do we obtain this wonderful gift, if it cannot be earned or purchased? Proverbs 3 gives us the answer: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (vv. 5, 6). Oh-oh. As we read the word trust, immediately our natural minds ask: “Well, how do I do that? How do I work myself into more belief? How can I make myself have more faith than I already have?”
C. I. Scofield’s note on Psalm 2 answers that question. We do not and cannot work ourselves or exercise ourselves in to greater trust. For trust is not an adding to but a casting off of works. As Scofield remarks, trust means “to take refuge, to lean on, to roll on, to stay upon.” Do you have a problem that requires solving or a need that demands filling, and do you want the Lord’s provision for it? Then refuse to do anything about it. Yes, refuse! Trust in the Lord. In other words, take refuge in Him. Do not try to figure it out or work it out yourself. Lean on Him. Proverbs says that we should “not lean” on our own understanding. If we do something ourselves, if we lean on our own strength, the arm of flesh will fail us. Next, roll the problem onto the Lord. Do not try to solve it in the flesh: just give it to the Lord. Then stay upon Him; that is, leave the problem there. Do not try to take it back. Do not try to undo the Lord’s work with your own, for you will succeed only in frustrating yourself and in losing the blessing He would give.
Finally, “in all your ways acknowledge Him.” “But don’t we have to do something to acknowledge Him?” you ask. No, we do not. That “acknowledge” means primarily “to know.” Simply recognize the Lord’s hand and His work. When trials come, when needs arise, do not fret, do not work them out in the flesh. Nod your head so as to say, “I see Your hand at work here, Lord, and I will not be disturbed.” Acknowledging the Lord is much like endorsing a check. When we endorse a check, we sign it, hand it over to the bank teller, and receive something of value in return. To acknowledge the Lord is to recognize who He is, to sign away our lives (along with the problems) to the Lord, and to receive something of value—His peace, comfort, strength, sustenance, and support—in return.
Let me add one point. There is a time and place for doing something, but that follows trusting in and waiting on the Lord. For as we trust in Him and await Him, He gives us His perfect direction, His perfect will, His perfect leading. Then, we know beyond doubt what we are to do and how we are to do it. And we have the assurance that both the means and the end will be right. We will love the Lord when we realize that He directs us and will bring about a fruitful end. And that love—the love of I Corinthians 13, without which nothing is worthwhile—becomes the proper and only motivating force behind what we do.
Have you endorsed the check? If not, small wonder you have not received the provision.
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