By Travis Biller
Pastor, Immanuel Baptist Church, Elizabethton
Focal Passage: Proverbs 15:33-16:11
I want to suggest that the title to our lesson is more challenging than we might think.
We are accustomed to hearing that when one believes in Jesus as their Savior, all is well. Such a person is said to be “saved.” Indeed, the call of the gospel is to believe: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved …” (Acts 16:31). However, those who believe are given the equally important command to, “Follow Me” (Matthew 4:19). When we follow the Lord, we do so on His terms.
Unfortunately, there are many people who claim belief in the gospel, but who have little desire to follow Christ. A cursory reading the Bible, however, reveals that such an idea is foreign to the mind of God.
According to the Bible, a person demonstrates their belief by following and obeying God. In this regard, Jesus said, “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46).
As we approach our text, Solomon is urging his readers to live a life pleasing to God. What must be noted is that pleasing God does not happen by accident or because we think we are good people.
Pleasing God requires an intentional lifestyle that is determined by God’s design. Solomon reveals that God’s design begins in the heart, and its purpose is to sculpt a heart that is fully dedicated to God. Solomon writes, “The preparations of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.” (Proverbs 16:1).
The heart is the seat of one’s will. Properly defined, the heart is the throne of one’s life. It is from the heart where our decisions are made and where our loyalties lie. A life dedicated to pleasing God begins with a heart dedicated to God.
Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). Therefore, the first step in pleasing God is giving Him our heart. Far from being a sentimental statement, it is a grand declaration of our loyalty to Him.
When we give our hearts to God, we recognize that He directs our steps (Proverbs 16:9). This means we understand that God seeks to lead us according to His will and by His wisdom. When in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus said, “Not my will, but Yours will be done” (Matthew 26:39). Following the will of God necessarily means placing our desires behind God’s desires. Indeed, our desires are to be shaped by God’s will.
When we give our hearts to God, we also recognize that we are to live a life of dependence upon Him. “Commit your works to the Lord,” and “Better is a little with righteousness, than vast revenues without justice,” Solomon writes (Proverbs 16:3, 8).
As we follow, we recognize that our priority is to obey Him, even if it costs us to do so. The poor man who obeys God recognizes that it is the Lord who provides for all his needs — and trusts that they will be met. Those who depend upon God do not believe it is necessary to take shortcuts, or otherwise disobey God to provide for their needs.
Finally, when we give our hearts to God, we learn to humble ourselves before Him. “Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord” (Proverbs 16:5). A humble heart, however, does not boast in itself; it boasts only in the One to whom it is dedicated to follow.
Have you truly given Him your heart?