February 19, 2021
Lean Away From Yourself … Then Lean On God
The Music Man is a famous Broadway musical from the 50’s which was made into a fun movie that is one of my all-time favorites. The setting is River City, Iowa, perfect small-town USA. Into that Garden of Eden rolls Harold Hill, an infamous flim-flam con-man who fabricates “Trouble with a capital T,” that is corrupting the youth and singing his famous song, “Ya Got Trouble.” Then he cons the residents into buying a pricey solution. It’s a great movie to watch with the kids, especially if you have one with a lisp as I did as a 5-year-old Ron Howard played the little boy with a lisp.
Listen up for today’s warning: trouble is all around us in today’s society as we’ve been reminded by the realities of Hurricane Sandy, the horrific Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, ISIS, terrible murders and abuses on a daily basis in our own states and the atrocities in every nightly news broadcast. Trouble often doesn’t come from outside the home, but usually from our own heart and mind.
Temptation is just around the corner and we are either running towards trouble or away from it. In which direction are you heading? Which way are you leaning? In today’s scripture, Solomon gives us two options regarding trust: God or our own understanding. God is calling us to lean away from the conventional wisdom of self-reliance to find happiness or pain relief. He wants us to lean on (or trust) His wisdom. God wants us to acknowledge His ultimate wisdom and trust Him in every area of our lives.
What should I do about this relationship? Which job should I seek? How will I make the mortgage payment this month? How can I help my daughter? Should I confront that problem or wait? What do I do about this decision? Do I look at that cleavage? Do I eat that extra _____? No matter what challenge or circumstance you are facing, God wants to help. But you have a choice to make. Are you going to lean on your own understanding … or are you going to trust God?
Satan is always playing with our heads, wanting us to build our houses on his sandy foundation. We also wrestle with our own massive inventory of hurts, letdowns, and frustrations. We have unhealed wounds leftover from times when we did trust others only to be let down. All that scar tissue from the past interferes with our willingness to trust and be vulnerable again with others. The message society tries to drive home is, “You can only rely on and trust yourself.”
Leaning is all about trust. When you lean against a wall, you trust that the wall won’t collapse … that it will support your weight. If you are going to lean on God, you need to be ready to trust Him fully. So interview Him. Is He wise enough to help you? Is He interested in helping you? Does He understand your situation? Does He know what is really best for you and for everyone involved? Is His timing fast enough for your agenda? Does He love you? Is He willing to sacrifice for your growth?
If you are willing to study the Scriptures with an open heart and mind, you will soon discover that the answer to all these questions is a resounding and powerful “YES.” God loves you with a love so great that you can’t begin to fathom it. His wisdom knows no bounds. Lean away from self-reliance and stop trying to do it all yourself. Begin leaning on God today. If not God, then who is worthy and able to sustain you during the storms of your life? Certainly not you!
Today, compare your track record to God’s. No contest. Then, look at an area in which you struggle. Write down how you are leaning on your own understanding. Then write down God’s instruction for that issue. Make an effort today to trust and follow God’s instruction and direction and put aside your own. Whether you lean on God and stay standing upright or you lean on yourself and this world and fall on your face is your decision, so choose well.
O Almighty God, I do want to trust You so that I can truly lean on You. Help me to spend time with the Scriptures and teach me to learn how they apply to me. Help me understand how the scars from my past still interfere with my willingness to be fully vulnerable to You and Your purpose, direction, and plan for my life. I ask for the courage to live with the uncertainty and concern that I feel when I am not in control. Am I ever really in control of my life anyway? Help me to trust You and lean on Your wisdom. I pray in the name of the One I lean toward, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6