Trust in God's Word, Not Worldly Wisdom
In this segment, Patrick Hudson shares an experience of how the contemporary wisdom of our world can allure us into a life of sin, while by maintaining a relationship with God’s Word we can find sustenance, truth and victory. (from Podcast Episode #450 - |Victory| Saturating Your Mind with God's Word)
The other morning, as I was getting ready for work, I stumbled upon a podcast where a therapist was giving advice to atheist parents. She was saying that even if they don't believe in God personally, they should still take their kids to church. She was explaining that studies have shown that taking kids to a religious service, no matter what the religion is, at least once a week, can alleviate depression and anxiety. She said that it will help develop healthy moral behavior such as gratitude and being nice to others. She made sure to say it doesn't matter if atheist parents actually believe or not, because she said that often we only tell our kids half-truths anyway. She compared believing in God and going to church as having an imaginary friend that can help you cope with the things in life that are too hard to understand.
As I was getting ready and reflecting on her words, I thought to myself, it sounds like this woman is describing kids who would grow up and end up coming to the Pure Life Residential Program. So many guys that come to us grew up in church, they learned all about the good morals of Christianity and they enjoyed the comfort of believing in a loving God. I was one of them. Yet all that it did for us was teach us to follow good outward rules, but it didn't stop us from hurting others, from squandering our money, from cheating on our spouses and destroying our families. But even after saying all that, I knew that as I was listening to her that there was something else going on inside me. As I thought about it, to put it bluntly, that kind of worldly wisdom she was giving was putting off a seductive feeling that was almost as alluring to me as sexual lust. There was something about the calm, sophisticated and intellectual presentation she was giving, with all the research and cultural observation she had.
Her words appealed to my sinful flesh. So, I thought about why I don't believe her, and I have to say that it's because of my relationship with the Word of God. Since coming to Pure Life, I've been saturated in God's word. I’ve listened to sermons and teachings; I'm reading Christian books and I’m going to Bible studies. But as great as that is, even all of that is like a dessert at the end of a meal. And to me the great meal is my quiet time. It’s my time in the Word every morning. That time in the Word every morning, more than anything else, is helping to prepare me for the daily onslaught of temptation, of lust, worry and worldly wisdom. In fact, when I was reflecting on her talk, I remembered what I had been studying that morning in Romans chapter eight. “For those who live according to the flesh, set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:5-6).
<pull-quote>That time in the Word every morning, more than anything else, is helping to prepare me for the daily onslaught of temptation, of lust, worry and worldly wisdom.<pull-quote><tweet-link>Tweet This<tweet-link>
As part of my time in God’s Word, I was reading a commentary by Martin Lloyd Jones. He was explaining how the world’s good and moral people are no less in the flesh than people who are falling into drunkenness. They have no more of the Spirit than an outright sinner. That got me thinking about what Jesus said in Matthew 23, “Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence” (Verse 25). When I read that chapter, I saw that he kept saying things like that: You appear outwardly beautiful, but within you're filled with dead men's bones and all uncleanness. Outwardly, you appear righteous to others, but within you’re full of hypocrisy and lawlessness (Verse 27-28). As all of this was coming to mind, it was like the Spirit was challenging me through God's word, saying, “Who are you going to believe Patrick, my word, or your own thinking?”
If you look at it in one sense, this woman's argument isn't entirely wrong. The kids might be better off growing up attending church. But the Word is telling me that in God's eyes, that outward goodness of a person doesn't mean anything compared to the truth of the inner life. So, I'm left with making the decision, what am I going to do? I can go with what seems right to my feelings, my thinking and my flesh, or I can trust the Word of God. 1 Corinthians 1:25 comes to mind. “For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” The context of the verse is talking about man seeing Christ’s crucifixion as foolishness, and I feel like that's the same challenge for me in that moment. Am I going to crucify my own thinking and trust the wisdom of God, even though it feels foolish to my flesh? Then Romans 1:21 and 22 came to mind. “For although they knew God, they didn't honor Him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools.” Trusting in my own thinking is going to lead me to do whatever is right in my own eyes.
That's exactly what brought me to the Pure Life Residential Program, and Satan knows this. He knows that if he can get me to go back to trusting in my own thinking, then he can bring me to the end of the path that Romans 1 is talking about, where I'm filled with all unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice and so on. And even knowing all these consequences, I know that without God's Word as my defense in times like these, my mind is going to fall victim to the Enemy's lies. But with God's light for my path, with His sword at my side, I have sure victory, and I can see God strengthening my faith through every trial and temptation.