- Rick LoPresti
Some people are very independent. Sometimes this is part of their personality, and sometimes they have had bad experiences that have taught them to not trust people. They learn to depend on themselves. Sometimes it is a combination of both. While it is good to not be overly dependent on others, there must be a balance. People like to say things like, "You can do anything you set your mind to", or "Listen to your own heart, and don't let other people tell you different". These are humanistic, unrealistic, and unbiblical statements. It is good to have dreams and goals, and to commit to pursuing them; but we are not limitless. Only God is. People can overcome adversity to achieve things, but we should not think that we can do anything we want, because that is just not true, especially for Christians. Christians should rather say, "I can do anything God wants me to do." One of the most misquoted verses in the Bible is Philippians 4:13 which says, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." In the context of verses 11-12, the rest of the book of Philippians, the life of Paul, and the Bible, this does not mean we can achieve whatever we want. Paul wanted many things he could not have. Before he was saved, he wanted the church to be destroyed (Acts 7-9, Acts 22:4, Acts 26:11, 1Cor 15:9, Gal 1:13 & 23). God stopped his plans. Paul wanted to be healed of his infirmity, but God said no (2Cor 12:7-10). He wanted to go places he could not (Acts 9:26, Acts 16:6, Acts 22:17-21, Rom 1:13, Rom 15:24 & 28). He wanted to minister to his fellow Jews, but was sent to the Gentiles (Rom 9:1-5, Rom 10:1). What Paul was saying is he learned to accept things that came his way whether good or bad. We should not trust in our own heart, for it "is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it (Jer 17:9-10)?"
People tend to unfairly project their experiences with their fellow man onto God, especially their experiences with their earthly fathers. We blame God for the failures of others, and even our own. God is trustworthy, and never fails. "God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good (Num 23:19)?" God is infinitely more trustworthy than ourselves, yet we usually place more trust in ourselves than Him."Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil (Prov 3:5-7)." He is the innocent One. He has never been unfair, unfaithful, or unjust. Even Pontius Pilate came to realize this after spending just a short time one morning with Jesus (Mt 27:24-28, Lk 23:4). Historians tells us this meeting haunted him the rest of his life.
We need to humble ourselves and admit our need of the counsel of God. He only wants what is best for us. We can either believe it or not, but it is the truth. Jesus humbled Himself and came into this world for this very purpose. "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace (Is 9:6)." It is important to note that the Hebrew word Counsellor in this verse is yaats. This word is the Hebrew synonym for the Greek word parakletos, which is translated comforter to describe the Holy Ghost (Jn 14:16 & 26, Jn 15:26, and Jn 16:7). It is also translated advocate in 1John 2:1. This word means advocate or counselor. Parakletos not only means God wants to comfort us in our earthly circumstances. It means He wants to be our advisor and our attorney. It literally means defense attorney. Does one person of God advocate to another? The man Christ Jesus is our one and only mediator (1Tim 2:5, Heb 8:6, Heb 9:15, Heb 10:24). 2Cor 1:3-4 states the Father is the parakletos. In Is 9:6 Jesus is the Son, the Counselor, and the everlasting Father all in one verse. There is only one divine Counselor, His name is Jesus Christ, and He is available to us.
The earth is approximately 240,000 miles from the moon. Yet that is nothing. The sun is 93 million miles away. Yet that is nothing. The sun is a star. The next closest star is 4 light years away. That means we would have to travel at the speed of light - 186,000 miles per second - for 4 years to get there. Yet that is nothing. Astronomers estimate there are 100 billion stars in our galaxy. Yet that is nothing. They also estimate that there are 100 billion galaxies in the universe. God made all of the stars out of nothing in less than 12 hours just by speaking. It is summed up in just 5 words in Genesis 1:16, "he made the stars also." There is scientific debate about how starlight gets to the earth, but the spiritual question is why it does. Why did God want us to see the stars in the first place? They remind us of Him (Rom 1:20). They remind us of His omnipotence (He has all power). They remind us of His omnipresence (He is everywhere). They remind us of His omniscience (He knows everything). They remind us of His perspective. He, the eternal One, the Creator, the Lord of all, sits in heaven, and we on the earth. Why would we not want such a One as our Counselor, especially since He loves us and He knows and wants what is best for us; not only in this life, but in eternity?
Another problem we have is we sometimes try to be God's counselor. He does not have or need one (Is 40:13, Rom 11:34). We like to give God advice in our prayers. We think we can bring things to His attention that perhaps He had missed, or give Him an angle on a situation He had not considered. How silly we must appear to Him when we do this! God does want us to pray and make our requests known to Him, but He also wants us to leave the answer in His capable hands. He knows how to bring His will to pass (Num 11:23. Is 55:10-11). We cannot possibly comprehend the vastness of God's thoughts (Ps 40:5, Is 55:8-9). We can only receive a little portion thereof as we are able to when He chooses to reveal it to us (Job 4:12, Job 26:14).
We develop plans and expectations in our minds, and get disappointed when they do not come to pass. It can be as simple as a piece of food in the refrigerator we are looking forward to eating, only to discover someone beat us to it, or as big as the overall plan for our life. We must remember we are only seeing a tiny piece of the big overarching view God has of everything in eternity. He does not live in space and time like we do. He created them both, and they are subject to Him. He is not in a hurry or frustrated by limitations like we are. His biggest frustration is when we interfere with the operation of His grace in our lives. Why was Paul such a man of great influence? He said, "I do not frustrate the grace of God (Gal 2:21)." God's thoughts toward us are many and good, and He will give us good expectations, and a good ending, if we trust Him (Ps 62:5, Jer 29:11).
We also need to learn to surround ourselves with good human advisers who can help us find and do the will of God (Prov 11:14, Prov 15:22, Prov 24:6). Perhaps the reason that we do not seek counsel from other people is because in the past we have gotten advise from the wrong people which turned out to be bad advise, so we threw the baby out with the bath water. God wants us to have sound spiritual advisers to help us to see what we in our limited and sometimes clouded view do not. People in authority at work are called supervisors. That word means they are seeing things from a higher viewpoint. They are not just looking at one limited aspect or viewpoint - ours. They are looking at the biggger picture of how things impact the whole team, and the whole company. As a supervisor, I am continually reminded of this when employees regularly come with an issue and expect the whole world to stop immediately so their issue can be addressed the way they want it to be. Sometimes they get offended when right now and their way may not be the response they get. The same is true of God and others. Our advisers may not tell us what we want to hear, but if it is what we need to hear, then we should be very careful about dismissing it, or imputing bad character to them or their advise. The Jews sought the advice of the prophet Jeremiah, but when he did not tell them what they wanted to hear, they hated him and rejected his advise (Jer 41-44). They came under false pretense of sincerity, and had already determined what they were going to do. It was a disaster. They rejected good advice and destroyed themselves. There is nothing more frustrating to God and His men than ignored good counsel. God wants to spare us the grief of errors, and lead us to greater blessing than we plan for ourselves, but we must submit to His counsel.