Take your Bible and open to Proverbs 3:5. We will eventually spend most of the morning there. We are in a series of messages called Always True. We are looking at some truths about God and us that are always true regardless of what is happening in our lives.
Last week we saw that God is always with us, therefore we do not need to fear. We saw how the active presence of God in our life defends our heart and minds from unhealthy fear. We saw this in several places in the Bible one being Psalm 23:4 which says, “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me” (NLT). The better you understand the presence of God in your life, the better you are able to deal with any fears in your life.
Today we are going to examine the truth that God is always in control, therefore I will not doubt. I will not doubt God’s will and plan for my life. I will not doubt God’s power and love for my life. God is always in control.
Three Things about Doubt
Let’s talk about doubt then let’s connect our doubt to God’s power and control so that our doubt turns into faith and confidence in God. When it comes to doubt, there are three things you need to know.
Doubt causes uncertainty
First, doubt in God causes uncertainty. When you are in doubt you will find yourself trusting God one day and not the next or in this situation but not that one. Doubt causes you to be in a situation and one minute you are trusting and the next you are not trusting God. You believe God then you don’t. You are walking by faith then walking by sight.
This is what we are being told in James 1:5, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. (6) But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver [that means “without doubting”], for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do” (NLT). When you are walking in doubt your life is unsettled and unstable. Mentally and emotionally and spiritually you are blown and tossed back and forth like a wave in the ocean. You are trusting and obeying God on Monday, but not on Tuesday. You are depending on God on Wednesday night, but not Thursday morning. Because of this doubt you find yourself unstable “in everything you do.” It effects every area of your life. You find yourself unsettled and unstable at work, with your spouse, with your kids, with your parents and with your church.
That’s what doubt does, but faith and confidence in God creates the opposite. When you have confidence in God you experience a life that is settled and stable. One that can experience peace in the midst of the storm. Your life is built on the rock of God rather than the sand of your emotions and imagination.
Doubt is an opportunity to show mercy
Number two, doubt is an opportunity to show mercy. Listen to what Jude said in verse 22, “Have mercy on those who doubt” (HCSB). There are a lot of people out there saying a lot of things about God, Jesus Christ, heaven, and hell that causes confusion and doubt among many people who are not believers. The same is true for those who are already believers. There are a lot of people out there saying a lot of things about God, Jesus Christ, heaven, hell, the Holy Spirit, marriage, joy, love, and host of other things and sometimes the people contradict each other. This creates confusion for some believers. They don’t know what to believe. When you encounter someone who doesn’t believe as strongly as you do and they have doubts about the truth your response is to be one of mercy, sympathy, kindness, patience, and understanding. You still have a conversation about what is the truth but you do it with mercy. Have mercy on those who doubt.
Doubt is diminished by God’s presence
Number three, doubt is diminished by God’s presence. In Psalm 94 the writer of this Psalm is feeling attacked and pressured by some wicked and evil people. In verse 16 he writes, “Who will protect me from the wicked? Who will stand up for me against evildoers? Unless the Lord had helped me, I would soon have settled in the silence of the grave” (NLT). At this point it had gotten really bad. Unless the Lord did something he thought he would die.
But look at verse 18, “I cried out, ‘I am slipping!’” (NLT). Do you ever feel like? Do you ever feel like you are slipping away from God? From your real purpose in life? From hope? From joy? There is a solution.
Verse 18 again, “I cried out, ‘I am slipping!’ but your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me. When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer” (NLT). Have you ever had those moments where doubts fill your mind? You pray and pray but your marriage still ends in divorce. You pray and pray and your child still dies. You are doing all you know that God wants you to do and things still don’t work out the way you expected. You start having doubt if God loves you, doubt if you are even saved, doubt if God exist, and if He does you start doubting whether He cares about you or not. Like the psalmist “doubts fill your mind.”
But even in the midst of all his doubts the psalmist was able to look back and see that God’s unfailing love was supporting him and God’s comfort was working in his heart and mind to renew his hope and joy. Even when you are doubting God, God is not doubting you. He is working in you and around you. His powerful presence is at work even when you don’t see it, can’t feel it, and don’t believe it.
Your Confidence in God
Now that we have addressed doubt, let’s take a look at why we don’t need to doubt God. Let’s connect our doubt to the power and character of God. I want to do this by looking at Proverbs 3:5-6 which says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take” (NLT). Let’s examine this phrase by phrase in order to understand how and why we can have confidence in God.
Your confidence in God is based on the character of God
Number one, your confidence in God is based on the character of God. Notice verse 5 begins by saying “Trust the LORD….” It doesn’t say trust your emotions or trust your experiences. You are told to trust the “LORD.” Notice the spelling because it’s in all caps. Capital L-O-R-D. Most translations use this form of all caps to identify when the Bible is referring to God as Yahweh, an Old Testament title for God. This name LORD is referring to all that God is.
The LORD is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-present, perfectly wise, loving, merciful, gracious, good, holy, and patient. Anything He wants to do, He can do. Anything He promises to do, He will do. He knows what you need before you need it. He is the creator of the universe of all things seen and not seen, all things known and not known. There is nothing too hard for God. There is not a situation that you will ever find yourself in that will confuse Him, discourage Him, or stop His ultimate will for your life.
It is this LORD you are to place your confidence, trust, faith, belief and hope in. The more you understand how great, majestic, and big this LORD is the easier it is to place your trust in Him.
Your confidence in God includes every area of your life
Number two, your confidence in God includes every area of your life. Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust the LORD with all your heart….” Trust the LORD with your entire life… with all your heart. Trust the LORD with whatever you hold or hide in your heart trust God with it. Trust God with your future. Trust God with your job. Trust God with your marriage. Trust God with your children. Trust God with your health. Trust God will all your heart. Whatever you are worried about or afraid of trust God with it. Trust the Lord with all your heart.
Your confidence in God is not based on what you can figure out
Number three, your confidence in God is not based on what you can figure out. Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.” Let me mention two areas where you should not depend on your own understanding.
- First, do not depend on your own understanding when it comes to God’s providence. God’s providence are those times where God allows or causes things to happen that are out of your control. An example of this is when Joseph was abandon by his brothers, thrown into a well to die but then sold into slavery, ended up being falsely accused of attempted rape, thrown into prison, forgot about but eventually ended up as the second most powerful person in the world. Years later when Joseph saw his brothers he told them, “What you meant for evil, God meant for good.” Joseph is an example of someone who decided to trust in the Lord with all his heart and did not depend on his own understanding to get him through. He trusted God day by day from the well house, to the slave to house, to the prison house and all the way up to pent house.
There are some things that are going to happen in your life that you will not understand (good and bad). There are some things that God is going to do and not to do that will not make any sense to you.
- Secondly, do not depend on your own understanding when it comes to God’s instructions. There are some things in God’s Word that He will tell you to do that you are not going to want to do. For whatever reason it will make no sense to you. When God says forgive your brother or sister 7 x 70, but your emotions would rather hurt him don’t lean on your own understanding. When God says set aside money for the Lord and trust Him with it, your budget and bills will tell you to do something different… don’t lean on your own understanding. When God says love and respect your spouse when you would rather leave them don’t lean on your own understanding. When God says save yourself for when you are married regardless of how you feel or what others think… don’t lean on your own understanding.
Trusting the LORD with all your heart and not depending on your own understanding is choosing to trust His Word and do it God’s way even if it doesn’t make complete sense to you. It’s called walking by faith. It’s called obeying without having all the answers to your questions.
Your confidence in God is seen when you seek His will
Number four, your confidence in God is seen when you seek His will. Proverbs 3 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do….” You can say you trust the LORD, but you aren’t really trusting God until you are seeking His will in the matter and then doing what He says to do in the matter.
How do you seek God’s will in all you?
- Seek God’s will with God’s principles. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path” (NLT).
- Seek God’s will with God’s people. Proverbs 12:15 says, “Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others” (NLT). Proverbs 15:22 says, “Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success” (NLT). Proverbs 20:18 says, “Plans succeed through good counsel” (NLT).
- Seek God’s will with God’s peace. This deals with your conscience. In defending himself and the gospel Paul wrote to the Romans saying, “With Christ as my witness, I speak with utter truthfulness. My conscience and the Holy Spirit confirm it” (Romans 9:1, NLT). Based on what God’s word says and godly advice do you have a clear conscience regarding the decision you have made. Do you have peace about it? If not, you need to think about making a different choice.
- Seek God’s will with prayer. Talk to God about it. Prayer is talking to God and God talking to you. What are you hearing from God? Philippians 4:6 says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done” (NLT).
Now listen carefully, the Holy Spirit will take all four of these and use them to reveal God’s will in your life. The Holy Spirit will use these to help show you the decision you need to make. Are you listening? When the Holy Spirit is telling you what to do all four of these will agree. If you have a clear conscience about what you have decided, but God’s Word says do not do it then your conscience is wrong. A conscience guided by the Holy Spirit will never contradict the Word of God. If your godly advisors are telling you to do something that contradicts God’s Word then your advisors are wrong.
The time when you can enter into a decision with no doubt and confidence in God and God’s will is when you have sought His will and it all lines up.
Your confidence in God will result in the right choice
Number five, your confidence in God will result in the right choice. When you trust the LORD and honestly seek His will to do it, God will reveal to you what path and decision you need to make. This is what Proverbs 3:5 is about, ““Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take” (NLT). You may have three options in front of you, but you will know its option 2, not 1 or 3. When your boss makes you angry you will know the right way to respond. When your kids rebel against you, you will know how to handle it. When your money is running low, you will know where to cut spending and make sure the priorities remain the priorities. God will reveal which path you are take regarding all the decisions in your life. Which school to go to? Which person to marry? Which friends to have? What church to connect with? How to budget your money? How to treat your spouse? How to raise and train your children? He will show you which path to take.
When God shows you which path to take you can walk that path with confidence regardless of what happens because it is the one the LORD wanted you to go down and there is no better place to be than in the middle of God’s will, walking down the path He chose for you, doing what He wants you to do.
God is always in control. You do not need to doubt Him.