Devotional Reading– The Happiness of Those Who Trust in God is available as a podcast on Spotify.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
Self-reliance among post-modern Christians has escalated to an all-time high. The reality is that we are affected by the world’s environment. Satan uses the baby steps of subtle distractions to chip away at our faith and trust in God. He chooses the gateway of least resistance: avenues that produce self-trust from self-accomplishments. Our talents and careers are the paths that give us happiness. The artistic gifts that develop into a self-employment business or jobs that provide prestige and empowerment give us financial stability and usually boost our confidence and trust in ourselves.
Money is Satan’s most valuable weapon because he is an expert on human behavior. Human behavior is quite predictable when the opportunity arises for us to increase wealth. But the question remains, Who is the giver of the gift? God blesses the righteous with abundance to help their brothers and sisters in need. The great deceiver gives to those he knows will accumulate, and keep all for themselves as they watch their assets grow. How will we see the difference?
“Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers and sisters. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” (James 1:17)
God’s blessings do not require the compromise of our morals and Christian values. Nor does He pour out blessings on those who refuse to help others. Perform a self-check to determine if you continuously bless others. Your answer will reveal who the giver is.
This is not an attack on money which remains a necessity of life. Still, Jesus says that we cannot serve two masters, either we are loyal to God or money [Matthew 6:24]. Truthfully, we feel confident, relaxed, and happy when our financial portfolio shows abundance. It is then that the Domino Effect occurs. Self-confidence produces self-reliance which produces trust in our abilities!
Satan’s goal: We feel on top of the world because all is well. We pray less, skip Bible studies, and our conversations reveal less praise for the goodness of God.
If you doubt that you trust yourself above God, perform an honest self-evaluation by reflecting on your recent thoughts and lifestyle changes. Are you focusing on yourself and future accomplishments? Are all of your activities directed toward self-gratification? Has serving God become a burden? Do you have head knowledge of the Scriptures but your once faithful dedication to Christ has slipped away?
God is aware of every temptation we face because spiritual warfare must be approved by Jesus before Satan attacks us. Remember that God placed restrictions on Satan regarding Job–“you cannot touch his life.” God knows that some of us will fail when we receive monetary blessings. Even so, as our Heavenly Father, in His infinite love and mercy, He unleashes the plan to save our souls even if it requires Him to take our blessing back.
The story was told by a faithful church member in women’s ministries whom God allowed to start her business. Within a month, her attendance at important church planning meetings declined and she began to ask other members to take her program dates because she was overwhelmed with the responsibilities of an entrepreneur. When reflecting, she confessed that it was not too much for her to operate the business, but as her bank account grew, she lost her desire to put God first.
God’s Divine Intervention: Within six months, her successful business was no more. She also lost her home and luxury vehicle. Her testimony revealed much regret. God had given her warnings through sermons and the Scriptures of misusing her blessings. No, God did not abandon her–she returned to her previous employer, participated in ride-share, and had just enough money in the bank to acquire an apartment. God used corrective action to safely guide her back to Him. She confessed that her feelings changed from humility and trust in God to pride in her accomplishments during her short bout of success.
Once we are sidetracked, sadly, we usually have to endure loss before we agree to return to God and fully trust in Him. Yet we only have to acknowledge, confess, and repent of our waywardness. In His mercy, we are completely forgiven, and our Father continues to love and diligently care for us.
The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their cry. The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears And delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart And saves such as have a contrite spirit. (Psalm 34:15, 16, and 18)
“The Lord will work for all who put their trust in Him. Precious victories will be gained by the faithful. Precious lessons will be learned. Precious experiences will be realized.” E.G. White
We need God to give us wisdom and discernment against the spiritual warfare of self-gratification that we constantly endure. Intentional trust in God is a covenant decision that requires daily renewal. Consistent worship, praying, and studying the Bible are the spiritual weapons that shield us from losing our relationship with Christ and our protection against humanity’s greatest enemy.
“Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil.” –Proverbs 3:7. But what do we do when we are our own enemy?
The human effort of praying and surrendering our will every day to God reveals our desire to place our complete trust and obedience in God. Humbly, ask God to search your heart. It is then that God pours out His Divine Intervention [through the Holy Spirit] to reveal the character traits of self that we need to change.
Bible Study: Psalm 34 and Proverbs 3
Prayer: God, we confess that we have lost our way by trusting in our abilities. And for this sin, we ask for forgiveness. Please search our hearts and reveal the things that we need to change. We surrender ourselves to You from this day forward. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.