Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord and shun evil.
This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones.
We all struggle and all of us in Jesus are in what amounts to a life and death struggle in terms of spiritual (not physical, as some misunderstand it, when I use this language) warfare. The entities which we fight are spiritual, not physical, not humans, but emissaries of Satan himself, the opposer of God. And so at times we’ll be more than up against it, perhaps flat on our backs, but with the help and strength of the Lord, getting back up on our feet to face the spiritual enemy with no less than the mighty power of the Lord, and with the full armory of God.
And what we want to hold on to, whatever that might be, and it probably can be all kinds of things, with seemingly a good reason and motivation behind them (as well as not) can all but bind and blind us. That is a sure telltale sign that what we’re holding on to is not from God at all, and something we need to let go. One of the many indications from scripture that this is so, are our Lord’s words in John’s gospel account:
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
The freedom here is large and expansive (John 10:7-10), unlike what the world would have us think, and even often what the wrong kind of religion will impose on its followers. It is the freedom to live in the love and Presence of God, and not under condemnation of any sort, since Jesus took care of that for us in his death on the cross (Romans 8).
We must learn not to lean on our own understanding, but rather trust in the Lord fully, along with fearing the Lord and shunning evil. And then we can experience on an ongoing basis the peace of God which transcends all understanding in guarding our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:4-9).
We are God’s children in and through Christ. We need to learn to live well in God’s grace and peace in Jesus. And not to let ourselves be bound by what binds and blinds us. But rather through the Lord to let that go. May God help us to learn to live in that.