From the Pastor’s Heart

It’s not only possible, but vital, to guide our lives by Scripture.

When I was 17 years old, I spent some time visiting my grandfather. I’m not sure he realized how much our time together impacted me. Observing his trust in biblical principles created a turning point in my life. That’s because I realized it’s not only possible, but vital, to guide our lives by Scripture.

At the start of this new year, I’d like to share with you some lessons I’ve learned, from my grandfather as well as from my own experience in a lifetime of walking with Christ.

In case you’re wondering why knowing and living by biblical principles is so important, let me tell you what’s at stake.

If your mind isn’t grounded in these truths, you’ll be more influenced by your environment than by the Holy Spirit. At times you may feel like a pingpong ball being bounced from one circumstance to another, never recognizing what God is doing in your life. You’ll react to the pressures of the moment and make decisions based on fluctuating emotions.

That’s not how the Lord intends for His children to live.

He knows we need help responding to situations wisely, so He’s given us His Word filled with teachings to guide us through every circumstance of life. And I’m so grateful that over the years He’s patiently, but persistently, worked His truths into my heart and mind.

The first principle I want to share is this one my grandfather taught me—obey God and leave all the consequences to Him.

In order to obey God, you must know what He wants you to do. That means time in prayer and His Word should be the priority of your life. Next, you must trust Him to handle whatever happens as a result. One of the biggest obstacles to obeying God is fear of the outcome. We want to know what’s being set in motion so we can decide whether we want to proceed. But that’s not how the Lord works.

God alone knows the future, and He calls us to trust Him and walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7).

It takes courage to obey when you don’t know the outcome, and that is exactly what God wants to build in our lives. Our responsibility is to step out in faith and obedience, knowing that the Lord holds us and the future in His omnipotent hand. He’s responsible for the outcome and will use it for His purpose and glory, even if it’s not at all what we had hoped for or expected.

There have been times in my life when I truly believed I did exactly what the Lord wanted, and it seemed to bring about disaster. I faced one spiritual attack after another, and the trials and difficulties multiplied. Yet these experiences drove me to my knees in complete dependence on my heavenly Father. He’d always been faithful to me in the past, and that made it easier to trust Him again, no matter what happened.

The next principle I want to share is that God is in absolute control of every circumstance of life.

This is foundational to our success with the first principle. If we don’t trust that the Lord is sovereign over the results of our obedience, we have a good reason not to do what He says. But Romans 8:28 says, “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

If you belong to Christ, nothing can happen to you outside His will.

If He allows difficulty and hardship, He has a good purpose for it. But we don’t always know what that is. We want everything to work out for good right now, but the Lord’s priorities are eternal. And He promises that the momentary sufferings we experience are not worthy to be compared with the glories that await us in heaven (2 Cor. 4:17).

We live under the canopy of divine omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence. If we didn’t believe this, we’d have to conclude we’re victims at the mercy of the world. But since the Lord is sovereign over every circumstance in our lives, we’re not victims. He takes the bad situations and uses them to “perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish” us (1 Pet. 5:10).

The last principle I have for you today is to trust the Lord for every need in your life. 

If we’re going to live contented lives in every circumstance, we need to know God is trustworthy—and He is (1 Thess. 5:23-24). We can rest in the absolute confidence that if He makes a promise, He’ll keep it. If we don’t trust Him, we’ll be anxious, worried, and fearful, when all the while, He has deep peace just waiting for us.

I pray that you’ll apply these principles to your mind and heart and live in the fullness God intends for each of us. As you depend on the Holy Spirit, He’ll make scriptural truths a reality so you can live wisely—thus glorifying and honoring the Lord.

Prayerfully yours,

Charles F. Stanley

P.S. This month begins the 45th year of In Touch Ministries! I’m so grateful for everything God has taught me over the years, and we’re excited to celebrate with you all the Lord has made possible. To Him be the glory for the past 45 years, and for the continuing ministry of In Touch.