Summary: God changes our attitude when we submit to His counsel.
Lanier Christian Church
April 10, 2016 David Simpson
“Guide Me With Your Counsel” SLIDE #1
Faith surprised me a few years ago with a visit to the Fox Theatre to see David Copperfield, the magician. It was a fascinating show, with his slight of hand and illusions of various types. His concluding act was to have a dozen or so in the audience come up on the stage, sit on a platform, and then a curtain drops and “poof” they disappear!
Well, as you know with any magician, he makes you think one thing is happening when something else is actually taking place. In other words, what appears to be is not what is.
And, sure enough, after the performance, as we were leaving, we walked by the side exit door to see some of those people that had disappeared walking out the door!
What appears to be is not always what is. We approach God in the same way. We view our circumstances through the eyes of our pain, or jealousy, or envy, or hurt, or loss, or regret, or sin and we often do not get a true picture. What appears to be is not always what is.
I went to a minister’s seminar on one occasion and heard an area counselor speak about how to help people caught up in various difficult situations in life.
At one point he said a lot of people have misconceptions about what is really going on. There is paranoia due to chemical imbalance or childhood trauma or some other factor. And he said, in many cases (outside of those requiring medication), talking out your problems, refocusing on a more hopeful and realistic view, and then completing some homework assignments would propel you forward with a better attitude and perspective. But, as a Christian counselor, he said, God must be first!
When it comes to spiritual challenges, we find that God stands ready to guide us with His counsel. Look at Psalm 73:24…”You guide me with your counsel…”
Let’s begin today by understanding that….
1. Sometimes our attitude is wrong… (v.1-15) SLIDE #2
When it comes to spiritual matters, our attitudes and perspectives are often wrong and we need a counselor, none other than God himself! Psalm 73 was written by Asaph. He was the chief of King David’s musicians. It was his duty to help with the worship in Jerusalem each week. He is credited with writing at least twelve psalms, and this one is one of his most personal of songs. It shows that even someone who leads in worship, often wrestles with his understanding of God. The psalmist Asaph started out his song with a positive, accurate portrayal of God: “Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.” (Ps. 73:1)
Then, his tone and attitude changes drastically: “But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills.” (v.2-5)
Asaph was really struggling with a bad attitude! He had almost slipped and lost his confidence in God. Most of us have been there before. Someone gets a promotion that doesn’t work as hard as we do, Someone is recognized and we are overlooked, Someone prospers and we do without, Someone indulges in one sinful behavior after another and seems happy and well all the time, while we strive to remain faithful and struggle with illness and challenges.
At times like that, it’s very easy to view God in a bad light… To see Him as less than caring. “Why try?” we often say. Asaph whined in v.13: “Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence.”
When we are envious, we have crossed the line into a very bad attitude and it sours our whole disposition. We even begin to doubt God and our allegiance to Him. But we need the reminder that Asaph started with. A foundational truth that Asaph could return to when he wavered….”God is good….” (v.1)
His struggle with envy and a bad attitude was his problem, not God’s problem. He really couldn’t blame God or anyone else.
And all the while, Satan is planting this thought in his head and ours:
“The cost of following God is not worth it.” But, that's one of his lies!
Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 SLIDE #3 - “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”