I became a Christian at the wise age of twelve. That's right, twelve. I remember telling myself to "never discount the wisdom" I had at that age. Well, now I'm 37 years old and if there's one thing I know, it's that I wasn't wise at the age of twelve.
Since then, I have learned a few things. Here's one: believing in something, does not make it real. At one point, I believed that professional wrestling was real. Ric Flair, the Undertaker, Sting, Macho Man Randy Savage... they were relentless fighters in the ring and they were always coming back for more. I started asking myself questions when the matches would end with the wrestlers barely able to walk, only to be running up to the ring three nights later. Then, I ignored those questions... or more so the answers, because it was too entertaining! As hard as I justified the hiccups in the ring (and overall ridiculous storyline) my justification did not make it real - it made me a sucker.
Life has made a sucker of me more than once. I think the same could be said of most. I'm only now understanding how little I know, whereas when I was in my twenties, I would only be giving that thought lip service to mimic humility to my peers! Whether it was believing in middle-aged wrestlers or making big life-altering decisions, I put my trust in what seemed best for me, at the given time. Oh, so wise.
"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 straight your paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6)
I've had the pleasure of praying with a lot of people over the years. Something that always comes up in my prayers is that the Lord would "make their paths straight" and I pray that because it is so difficult to know what decision is best and what is the right or the wise things to do. The writer of this proverb is King Solomon, considered the wisest person of the Israel at one point. Look at what he jots down that must happen before your paths will be made straight: "In all your ways acknowledge Him..."
Our wisdom, our 'truth', our decisions that rest on our logic alone will lead to us being suckered by our own selfishness and the comforts of our flesh.
But let's not stop there and settle on the direction of acknowledging the Lord. Let's look just a bit further into King Solomon's wise words. If we want to truly acknowledge the Lord, we can't just say "We're Christians!" and run around with WWJD bracelets, listening to Chris Tomlin and showing up to church services for 60 minutes on a Sunday... those things are good things, but if we're not careful, will allow ourselves to trust in the things we do rather than in the One we do them for.
Our trust is to be in the Lord. Our devotion is to be to the Lord. God calls us to "humble ourselves and pray" and "turn from our wicked ways" even when we think our ways are better, more enjoyable, more beneficial, more logical, exciting, pleasing... who do you trust?
Over the past 25 years, I've relied more on myself than on the Lord. I've made more decisions that seemed right to me, than seeking direction from God. But wisdom is often preceded by failure. I've failed plenty and I now realize, I'm not wise at all. Which is probably the wisest thing I've ever said.
Trust the Lord.
Let Him straighten your paths.