Submitting As We Serve

He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; And no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, “What have You done?” (Daniel 4:35). Those are the words of a powerful king—the richest, most powerful man in the world at the time—and he is describing God’s sovereignty soon after his encounter with humility.

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Divine Perspective

Since our generation so admires human ingenuity and worldly wisdom, we tend to give people praise that only God deserves. A battle is won—and we hang medals on veterans. A degree is earned—and we applaud the graduates. A sum of money is donated—and we engrave contributors’ names on a plaque. An organization stays in the black through hard times—and we grant the CEO a bonus.

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Rewards along the Way

Having thought about procrastination, motivation, diligence, and consequences, Solomon and other wise men wrote the following lines of encouragement: The hope of the righteous is gladness, But the expectation of the wicked perishes. (10:28) Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But desire realized is a tree of life. (13:12) Desire realized is sweet to the soul, But it is an abomination to fools to turn away from evil. (13:19)

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Examine Your Heart

Two rival foes contend for control of our hearts: Sluggard and Diligence. Locked in a bitter, all-or-nothing struggle for dominance, each uses its most effective weapons to entice us to join sides against the other. Sluggard craves, but he accomplishes nothing. He doesn’t follow through. He postpones: “Maybe someday.” He tries to convince us that the consequences of inaction are negligible and manageable.

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Bad Intentions

Pro•cras•ti•nate: To put off intentionally and habitually . . . to put off the doing of something that should be done. — Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition. Most of us know the meaning of this word all too well, but a concise definition helps clarify the issue. The procrastinator usually has logical reasons, valid excuses, and plausible explanations for inaction.

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Waiting with Patience

As David concludes his song about the grinding pain of unjust treatment and his chosen responses, he then commits to patience. Resolved: I will patiently stand and wait for relief. Do not take my soul away along with sinners, Nor my life with men of bloodshed, In whose hands is a wicked scheme, And whose right hand is full of bribes. But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity;

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The Shepherd Restores

As a former shepherd keeping watch over flocks in the wilderness, the composer of Psalm 23 understood the nature of sheep, including their bad habit of wandering. When one is attracted to a clump of grass away from the flock, off it goes, and sometimes it’s followed by several other woolly wanderers. Soon, night falls. Lurking in the darkness are hungry wolves, four-legged savages, looking for a supper of mutton!

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Keep It between the Lines

Having convinced us of the importance of guarding our hearts, Solomon urged three specific actions to make this practical. We’ve considered the first: we are to ignore false directions (v. 24). As we said earlier, if someone you have regular contact with habitually gives you information that contradicts your road map or GPS, drop him off at the next truck stop and don’t look back!

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Good Directions

By now, I trust that Solomon has sufficiently motivated you to guard your heart from invasive, detrimental influences and to cultivate a hunger for knowledge of God. Hopefully, we possess adequate discernment to distinguish between helpful and harmful input. If not, deeper knowledge of God is readily available through His Word. If you are reading these pages, you are most likely reading the Scriptures.

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The Straight Way

God has established a paradigm to help us escape the trap of worry. This cause-and-effect principle is as much a part of creation as the law of gravity. He directs three commands to the child of God. They are our responsibility: “Trust . . . do not lean . . . acknowledge. . . .” The fourth verb—make straight—is part of a simple declaration of God’s promise, His part of the covenant.

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