Having What It Takes
Each of us have different angles of observation and we each take in different types of facts and even understanding of what constitutes trouble. At times we need to soften our approach; at other times we must harden ourselves for what must be done. Sometimes we must yield a point and then at other times we must stand firm. This does not suggest that there aren’t proven answers that work if they are fully applied. Some will be satisfied with something that really can’t be known or at least verified. For others, the course of their lives will be determined by how hard they pursue a knowable truth and in finding it, how willing they are to adjust their lives to what they find. There are ways to go about achieving a desirable outcome for life.
Have an Expectation (Habakkuk 2:3). The book of Habakkuk was written during a time of uncertainty; but because things seem uncertain to us doesn’t mean they are. Habakkuk questioned the plan of God, but he was reassured that if he would trust God, matters would become much clearer. Jeremiah said it is good that we should hope and wait for the salvation of God (Lam. 3:26). Our expectations depend on our sources. If they are reliable, they can help us see right where we are and where we need to be.
Have a Challenge. This means that only after careful reflection and examination of our thoughts and motives do we take decisive action. This is going to require patience, courage and the willingness to learn. If what you believe has been challenged, be thankful. When such challenges occur, they cause us to think deeply about what we believe. The Roman official Festus once said to Paul that much learning had made him mad (Acts 25:24). Paul responded by saying he advocated reality (truth), sanity and self-control (soberness). Having a challenge involves asking yourself “why” you believe what you do and if it is based on something sound, sane and sober.
Have an Interpretation. To really be a good interpreter of what is taking place, you’ll have to get out of “camera lens thinking,” (out of context). No one should be able to see things in their clearest light and offer a better interpretation than the follower of Christ. Good interpreters pick up the tone and movements of what is being interpreted (I Cor. 14:11). We must supplement our observations with good analysis. That will take place if we use the language and methods of Scripture.
Have a Decision. There is a contingent among those calling themselves believers that feel that they should “shoot from the spiritual hip.” We should be thankful for those that understand, know and then act; that know what the times require (I Chron. 12:32). In its most fundamental sense, being decisive is a way of exposing reality and acting on it.
Have an Alignment. If you want to grow intellectually, emotionally and spiritually, align yourself with the right types of influences. Internally, people know what they should do, but often, aren’t emotionally stable enough to do it (Romans 7:23). Align with the interests of a truth that goes beyond individual speculation. Take an honest look at your allegiances and see if they are really helping you or hindering you.
Have a Desire to Learn. Those that are walking with Christ should be prime examples of always learning for the purpose of recognizing reality (II Tim. 3:7). If someone isn’t inclined to learn they should never be emplaced to lead. Always being open to instructional refinement is the essence of personal reassurance because it shows that we are still teachable. Learning is living; living is learning.
Make the adjustments needed and you can expect one breakthrough moment after another; moving ever closer to really understanding what God has for your life. That was God’s promise to Habakkuk. Stay with His plan and as you go along, step by step you come to a fuller understanding of what it all means and why you are here.
This column is the opinion of Dr. M. Hildon Guy, President of the University of Christian Studies and Seminary in Eagle River, Alaska (www.universityofcss.org.)