Spiritual Formation


by John Bishop, Director of Spiritual Formation

And now we’ve come to the end of the school year. This year, we have looked at Proverbs 30:5 from many angles. 

“Every word of God is Flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.” 

We’ve talked about the centrality of the Bible in our pursuit of knowing God and his will for our lives. We double-clicked on God Himself and looked at a few of His attributes, things like jealousy, love, goodness, and power. We’ve discussed how God is not far away, but close; close enough to whisper. We talked through the difference between presenting an image of faith and seeking to be made in the flawless image of Christ.  

Then we got into the fall and winter where we looked at God as our shield. He both serves as a defense for us against the work of the enemy and a protection to us when we need a place to hide. He is our refuge, He is our rest, He deals with our craziness by becoming an asylum. 

It's been a good year and as we come to the close, I have one final thought about Proverbs 30:5; an epilogue of sorts. Let me pose the thought in the form of a question: 

Our verse says, “every word of God is Flawless…” the question is, what is the word of God? We use the phrase ‘word of God’ to describe the Bible and certainly the Bible is the word of God, that is not in question. But the Bible doesn't give us specific instructions on most day-to-day decisions. Does that mean God doesn't care to speak to those things in our lives? I don't think so. 
I was talking with a student the other day who asked, “How do I know the will of God for my life?” As I asked some clarifying questions it became clear He was not asking for answers on an issue that is explicitly answered in the Bible. Those answers are easy, no you should not steal, murder, or lie. Yes, love God and others... 
No, he was asking one of those conundrum questions that does not have a clear right and wrong answer. These are the questions that we face day in and day out, should I stay in this job or take that opportunity? Should I sell/buy? Are these friends good for me or me for them? Is this the right time to confront that situation? 

God has left a lot of the day-to-day decisions in our hands and that’s what this student was struggling with. “Should I stay or go?” From all that I could tell, his options were equal, or seemed neutral according to the explicit commands of Scripture, or, at least had equal portions of wisdom and folly. He wanted to know what God would say, and I didn’t have a good answer. It was like God had left this student to choose. But just because God has left some decisions to us, doesn’t mean He has left us on our own to make them? 

Here is where our verse can help us, God does not force us to take refuge in Him, He just promises to be a shield to those who do. In other words, we can trust Him with our day-to-day, He just doesn't force us to.  
This may be why we often don’t think to pray about decisions we make. This may be why reading the Bible can often feel disconnected from our life experience. But what if God has insight to provide about that business transaction, or the relationships in your life? What if He has some small detail He wants to reveal to let you know He's with you? Are you listening? Am I? 

What if He wants to move you from one community to another for an assignment you have been specifically designed for? You can make decisions without Him, and He’ll never leave you or forsake you, but you can also make decisions with Him and discover that He is like a shield and a place of refuge and strength.  
I think the choice is ours. Let's enjoy our summer off from school, but let's not take a break from hearing from God. The word of God is available to us, in the pages of Scripture and through His Holy Spirit. Let's incline our ears to hear what He has to say. 

P.S. If you want to get a jump on next year, feel free to read ahead. Next year's theme will be “Wholehearted” from Psalm 86:11, “Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.” 
Westminster Christian School, located in Palmetto Bay, Florida, is a private, college-preparatory school for children from preschool through twelfth grade.