What is going on in our world? Where does God’s heart reside, and what are His intentions for His creation at this pinnacle point of history?
I have been desperately seeking answers to these questions over the past month. And I know I’m not alone. There are no simple solutions.
While discussing the state of the world with a dear friend and mentor, she told me that I, and many others in my generation, have a lot of passion, and she admires it. But she added that she prays our passion will not drown out the wisdom of the Lord. Her words cut deep to my soul, and it prompted me to return to study the book of Proverbs – this time with more desperation for true wisdom than ever before.
On my journey to seek more of God’s wisdom recently, I’ve held off on writing because the last thing I ever want to do is misrepresent God, and I haven’t felt equipped to comment on all that’s happening. But in my search, God reminded me of the power of His provision when we surrender not just our fears, but our passions to Him.
While Proverbs includes hundreds of examples of the benefits of God’s wisdom, one passage, in particular, has transformatively helped me process how I, as a member of the church body, can respond to current events. Proverbs 8:34-35 says, “Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway, For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the Lord.”
Notice how God instructs His followers to seek direction from Him in several specific ways before acting. We are called to listen to God, to seek answers from Him daily, and to wait for His answers before doing anything in order to “find life.”
In other words, in order for each person to live as the best versions of themselves, walking in step with the Creator’s design for us to be peacemakers, we must constantly look to Him for guidance; without Him, we fall prey to the enemy’s schemes of division.
How do we know for certain what God’s will is? Sometimes we get stumped and question whether we are truly hearing a direction from God. Other times we might rush to assume what God’s will is before we truly seek His counsel and give Him the proper time to respond.
Thankfully, Jesus gave us a core principle to hold on to as a guidepost when all else fails – an instruction that should always guide our interactions with other people.
He told His disciples just before He went to die on the cross, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35).
I think sometimes this principle is lost on us because it has almost become a cliché. But in truth, to love in all circumstances is actually a radical message for all ages. It requires us to behave opposite to almost everything in our human nature. This becomes clear when we break down what love actually means.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 tells us
Love is patient.
Love is kind.
Love does not envy.
Love does not boast
Love is not proud
Love does not dishonor others
Love is not self-seeking
Love is not easily angered
Love keeps no record of wrongs
Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth
Love always protects
Love always trusts
Love always hopes
Love always perseveres
Love never fails
The reason God asks us to embody all of the characteristics of love, is because He IS love. God made humans in His own image.
Though sin makes it impossible to completely conform to God’s image on this side of heaven, when the Holy Spirit rests in our hearts, we can align ourselves with His will, and thus become more like him. This happens when we read His word daily and spend time in His presence.
We can’t fully make sense of the evil and injustice and lack of truth in our world, but we can look up to God at any moment and ask Him for direction. If all of God’s people adopted these habits, it could catalyze true change, healing and unity in the church body and our world. I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a lot more work to do. But I put my hope in the Lord. With Him, all things are possible.
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2).