We like answers. I know that as a dad, and granddad, when my children ask me a question, I want to reassure them that I can help them find the answer or a perspective that will ease their trouble. Most of us who are parents desire to be a source of comfort and truth to our kids, but what if we don’t know the answer? The reality is, we don’t have to be a parent to have unanswered questions come up, or for the truth to be challenged in our lives.
As we begin a new year, it’s wise to take stock of the habits and rhythms in our lives. The place to which we consistently go in order to answer questions and find comfort is indeed an important habit to consider. Now, it’s easy to say that God is where we should go, and I agree that God is where we should go, but is He where we go for things like societal unrest, political agendas, parenting, and social media trends?
What is your go-to source for answers in times of doubt or trouble, or when truth is questioned?
While we can’t just walk up to God like we can an earthly dad, to bring Him our doubts, the physical piece is the only limitation to Him being our go-to source of answers. We are, after all, His children. The fact is, He is better than any earthly father, and speaks to us in better and more ways than our dad ever could.
While we can’t just walk up to God like we can an earthly dad, to bring Him our doubts, the physical piece is the only limitation to Him being our go-to source of answers. We are, after all, His children.
God invites us to ask Him our questions, and He knows our frame so well that He gave us a fact-checking device so that we can differentiate between what feels like a good idea and what are His good ideas. Here are three places that we can go to get His answers:
#1 – GO TO PRAYER
In order to make prayer a go-to it needs to be a first response, not a last resort. Even beyond our regular rhythm of prayer that we may have at a certain time of the day, when trouble or doubt arises around us the Father is always available. Our ability to be in the presence of the Creator of the Universe (a creation that includes gurus, experts, Google, and Facebook), and to have Him share the reasons why He made so and so, or how He designed such and such to work, is an enormous gift.
There are so many voices fighting (and marketing) to be our go-to in times of doubt or strife that sometimes we don’t even recognize them as we continually scroll on Facebook, liking posts that are complaining about the government or the other side of the political aisle, instead of remembering 2 Chronicles 7:14, and then acting accordingly.
“If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
The unrest in our society is still under God’s sovereignty, even if it doesn’t feel like it. He knew it was coming, and He knows what’s coming tomorrow. Therefore, we can rest in Him, and pray to Him knowing that He will take care of us through it!
The unrest in our society is still under God’s sovereignty, even if it doesn’t feel like it. He knew it was coming, and He knows what’s coming tomorrow.
Along those same lines, Jesus warned His disciples about finding other places to go in times of doubt or trouble when He said, “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:34-36).
The beauty of prayer is that when the Holy Spirit speaks to us it will be consistent with what He has already written in the Bible. (This is why Scripture-fed, Spirit-led, worship-based prayer is so effective.) However, if what we are hearing is not consistent with the Bible, then we should question if it is God speaking to us. God is consistent in all that He does. “He is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). The great thing about this is that if our go-to of prayer is still uncertain, we can search the Scriptures for consistency in the answer.
#2 – GO TO THE WORD
There is discipline involved in making the Bible our go-to. The foundation of this discipline is believing that the Bible is true, and that foundation is solid enough to stand upon. We must base all of our particular stances on what God has revealed in His word, and not upon the whims and philosophies of social media influencers, trends, or breaking news.
God will not contradict Himself. He is the Word, and His word will not fail. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all quote Jesus when He said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Matthew 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33).
God will not contradict Himself. He is the Word, and His word will not fail.
If we believe that the Bible is true, then it will show in how we live and in the habits, rhythms, and go-tos we allow into our lives. Personally, I like my physical Bible. In order to make it even more my go-to I carry it with me in a backpack nearly everywhere I go. I have a special pocket for it that I call my sheath…after all, my sword goes in it!
We spend regular time in God’s word because, “All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). When we are continually learning who He is and how He created us to function, the questions and debates this world throws at us become easier to handle. Just like a neighbor who you know owns a ladder that you only need once a year, through a regular rhythm of time with God you’ll remember that He has exactly what you need when the time/trouble/question comes.
#3 – GO TO THOSE WHO DO 1 AND 2
We all need people in our lives who can mentor us and guide us to make wise decisions. However, carefully choosing the people we listen to is important. Just as you wouldn’t take advice on which is the best snow jacket from someone who’s never left Jamaica, listening to advice from someone who doesn’t believe in the power of prayer and the truth of God’s word is foolish.
There are many false teachers, and they don’t all carry the title of teacher. There is an extreme amount of social media, news, and politics out there that are seeking to teach us their own definition of truth. So what are we to do when would-be-mentors try to push themselves into our lives?
In the book of Jude, there are instructions on this very thing. Jude wanted to write a letter to rejoice in the commonality of Christian brotherhood, but realized that it was more important that he address the condition of “certain men” who were speaking into the lives of his audience. Jude warned his readers in Jude 16-20 not to be like these men, but to hold fast to what God had already revealed to them about the truth. See his words below, and pay attention to the “but yous”:
“These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage. But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, ‘In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.’ It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life” (Jude 16-20).
Jude instructed his readers to go to the word of God and to prayer concerning the questionable truths that were being brought before them. He is an example of a godly advisor, or mentor, who sought and taught on what God had to say when men were trying to persuade otherwise.
Remember consistency. Even the words that I say as a writer, or as a dad, are only as good as they line up with what God has already said. His word, which will never fail, is the fact-checker that we can go to and compare any advice or spiritual feelings that seem to be from God.
So what will your go-to be in 2022? Cultivating our relationships with prayer, the word, and godly influences is the best self-improvement plan we can be on as we begin this new calendar year. Unlike earthly fathers who merely want to know all the answers their kids ask, our heavenly Father does know every answer we could ask. While it may be true that we can’t physically walk up to God the Father as if He were our earthly dad, we can indeed have Him as our go-to in the year to come when we encounter questions for which we do not have the answers.
Cultivating our relationships with prayer, the word, and godly influences is the best self-improvement plan we can be on as we begin this new calendar year.
Copyright © 2022 Ricky Cassford. All rights reserved.