Points to Ponder: Who Upholds Your Life?
Points to Ponder
Who Upholds Your Life?
"Behold God is my helper; The Lord is with those who uphold my life." (Psalm 54:4 NKJV)
We learn from David the psalmist that in every situation of life the one who loves God can trust in God. David was a man after God's own heart (I Samuel 13:14; Psalm 89:20; Acts 7:46; 13:22). Those who don't love God can't trust in God because they will tend to trust more in themselves. To one degree or another, we all do that, even the most faithful of God's people; however, the one who seeks the heart of God - a deep abiding relationship - will find a level of trust on which he/she can stake their very lives without flinching. For "God is my helper," David says. To say that is to know you are never forsaken or alone no matter how dire your circumstances.
The second part of that verse drew my attention even more:
"The Lord is with those who uphold my life." (v. 46)
It makes me think of the many and various leaders and mentors I have had throughout my life. My faith journey and calling into ministry were largely influenced by those who came into my life along the way. They upheld my life; in prayer, in friendship, in concern for my well being. Some of these people were supervisors, elder pastors and bishops; others were/are friends and colleagues.
I thought particularly about the mighty ones, those in authority who have a level of power in the church or in the community. And I compared how they differ from those who have deeper authority in my life.
Have you noticed that you will go to certain persons for certain types of concern? You may have eight or 10 leaders in your life whom you respect. Some have authority according to their position in the organization, church, or whatever. Others may be "outside the loop," but their input and influence is almost as vital to you as food and water. Scripture instructs us regarding our leaders.
"Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the Word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." (Hebrews 13:7-8)
God through Christ is consistent across time and generations, and through the leaders He has sent to lead us, He upholds our lives.
"Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you." (Hebrews 13:17)
Of course, not all leaders are perfect. Some forget that they are accountable. There's never a perfect situation in this regard. But I noticed in my pondering of these things a key difference that separates some of my leaders from the others. They are all wise in their own way and worthy of respect; however, I find myself on one level with some and on a different level with others. And so it must be; for to seek spiritual counsel on a matter will render differing kinds of advice. The directions given by one may not line up with the directions given by another. When you really think about it, you wouldn't even ask certain ones for their input because...well, because why? For me, it's because I can see plainly the well from which they are drawing their wisdom. Some seem more deeply connected to the place spiritually where I want to be.
For example, when I've wrestled with an issue I've gone to a bishop or an older pastor and have found reasoned responses that come from a heart of true concern. When I have gone with those same issues to some of my mentors, I have heard Biblical responses. My one pastor, my father in the faith for some 14 years, always responds with one or more scriptures as a launching point from which he then will proceed to take on the matter I have raised. Reading Psalm 54:4 is what made me think of this subtle yet critical difference in the leadership of those who influence my life.
As I have pondered over the years whether to remain a pastor under the leadership of a mainline denomination, I could feel the conflicting pull upon my heart. I believe in submitting to my elders in authority; but then I have to consider whether they are submitting to the ultimate Authority whose Lordship I am committed to serve.
"The Lord is with those who uphold my life." I have respected and learned from a wide variety of leaders and mentors; even those with whom I have strongly disagreed. (Hey, we are each a work in progress.) So we each must discern where we are in that process, and to whom we will turn to uphold our lives.
So draw closer to those who have drawn closer to the Lord. Wisdom for life can come from a multitude of counselors (Proverb 11:14); however, the direction of your soul and the perspective of your spiritual insight must come from those whose primary authority is God's Word. It is the surest sign that the Lord is with that one who is upholding your life in prayer and with Godly counsel.
"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night." (Psalm 1:1-2).
Pastor Dennis is now (and has been since July 1, 2007) the Senior Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship located at 9508 National Pike, Big Pool, MD.