For a few months, I have been having the feeling that I don’t know what to do. This feeling may have come primarily from having retired last year from being a prison minister.
I began praying about my confusion and opened up my heart to the Lord’s help. I knew He gave us the Bible as the manual of how He wants us to live, so I began seeking, reading and thinking. Surprisingly, a number of statements began to burn in my heart, so I thought I must be on the right track. I went to sleep that night with a flood pouring through my heart and mind.
I hardly could wait to wake up the next morning to see if I could remember what had seemed important as I went to sleep. Sitting at my computer, I fought the temptation to jump in and quieted my heart and mind, as I know the Bible says no man knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. I wanted to hear what God would tell me about what I should do. When I finished praying, I opened my eyes and felt as if I had lost control of myself as verses flooded out faster than I could write them down. Many thoughts came that I never had thought of before.
The flood stopped at 50 and answered my question. Putting it all together, I realized the answer to the question my confused heart had asked the previous day had been given and became the title of today’s reflection: “I Don’t Know What to Do.” I had learned what I was to do. The Spirit taught me there is much more I’m supposed to do than I had realized. I no longer tell the Lord that I don’t know what to do.
When I was in training, I always preferred to hear what my professors had to say directly from them and not secondhand. Perhaps you will excuse the brevity of the comments I make as I want the words of the Word to fulfill this quest by their own living quality as God answers the question of what should we do.
Abide each day in Jesus, our Vine.
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5).
Obey Jesus’ commandments.
“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in My love” (John 15:10).
Feed His sheep.
“Lord: You know that I love You. He said to him, ‘feed My sheep’” (John 21:16).
Get up each day and walk into the harvest field for a day’s work.
“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few” (Matt. 9:37).
Take up His yoke.
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me” (Matt. 11:29).
Pick up our individual crosses every day.
“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matt. 16:24).
Yield each day to the Holy Spirit for His controlling filling.
“Be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18).
Go into the world and give out the gospel.
“Go into the world and make disciples” (Matt. 28:19-20).
Love the Lord our God completely.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind” (Matt. 22:37).
Pray often during the day.
“Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17).
Always rejoice, pray and give thanks. (“This is the will of God.”)
“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything, give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:16-18).
Yield to the power, love and sound judgment He gave each of His children when He brought about their new birth.
“God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1:7).
Be a generous person.
“Whosoever has this world’s goods and sees his brother in need—and shuts up his heart from him—how does the love of God abide in him?” (1 John 3:17).
Watch for Jesus coming back.
“Until our Lord Jesus’ appearing” (1 Tim. 6:14).
Look each day at the art show in the sky.
“The heavens declare the glory of God and the expanse shows His handiwork” (Ps. 19:1).
Be loving toward our neighbors.
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Give honor and love to our wives and respect to our husbands. (This is in the context of submitting to each other and loving each other.)
“Giving honor to the wife” (1 Pet. 3:7); “Husbands, love your wives” (Col. 3:19); “Wives, submit to your husbands” (Col. 3:18); “Submitting to one another in the fear of God” (Eph. 6:21); “He that abides in love, abides in God and God in him” (1 John 4:16).
Always share God’s Word with our families.
“These words which I command you today shall be in your heart…You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house…” (Deut. 6:6-9).
“Exercise profits a little” (1 Tim 4:8).
Respect our bodies.
“Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 6:19).
Think about beautiful things.
“Any virtue and if there is any anything praise worthy, think on these things” (Phil. 4:8).
Be a faithful person. (A person cannot be faithful if he or she doesn’t have faith.)
“The just shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:17).
Live in today knowing yesterday is a memory and tomorrow is only anticipation.
“Do not worry about tomorrow” (Matt. 6:34).
Desire to be a person who bears spiritual fruit, not the lusts of the flesh.
“Walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).
“Let us go on to perfection” (Heb. 6:1).
Count our days left on Earth because life is a vapor.
“Life is like a vapor” (James 4:14); “Teach us to number our days” (Ps. 90:12).
Watch what goes into our eyes and comes out of our mouths.
“The lusts of the eyes” (1 John 2:16); “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Prov. 18:21).
Resist the devil.
“Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
Remember that God’s children are at war, and that our enemy has many schemes.
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Eph. 6: 11).
Fail to be surprised when the unsaved act poorly as it is their nature.
“Sons of disobedience” (Eph.2:2); “By nature children of wrath” (Eph. 2:3).
Pray for the peace of Israel.
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Ps. 122:6).
Don’t bully our children and grandchildren.
“Fathers, do not provoke your children” (Col. 3:21).
Don’t be afraid of healing affection in the church which is His body.
“Greet each other with a holy kiss” (2 Cor. 13:12).
Remember that the effects of the fall include all of creation.
“Thorns and thistles it shall bring you” (Gen. 3:18).
Study the manual given for putting life together.
“Rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).
Go to church.
“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together” (Heb. 10:25).
Remember that we are friends of Jesus.
“You are My friends” (John 15:14).
Open your mouth.
“Open my mouth boldly” (Eph. 6:19).
Sing and praise the Lord every day.
“We will sing and praise Your power” (Ps. 21:13).
Desire to be more like Jesus.
“He must increase, and I must decrease” (John 3:30).
Have the simple loving heart of a child.
“Whosoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 9:34).
“The devil walks about like a roaring lion” (1 Pet. 5:8).
Utter strong emotional prayers against the corruption in modern life.
“Cry over all the abominations” (Ezek. 9:4).
Take Dr. Jesus’ prescription for anxiety given through the Holy Spirit. (There are four words in the Greek for prayer in this prescription).
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer (the general term for worship) and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7).
Build up our heavenly bank accounts.
“Lay up for yourself treasures in heaven” (Matt. 6:20).
Look forward to our final retirement and our retirement home.
“Inherit the kingdom prepared for you” (Matt. 25:34).
Be content whatever the circumstances.
“I have learned to be content” (Phil. 4:11).
Keep your eyes on whom and what Jesus is no matter how frightening life’s seas get.
“Jesus went to them walking on the sea” (Matt. 14:25); “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” (Ps. 23: 1); “When he (Peter) saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and began to sink he cried out, ‘Lord, save me.’”
Remember that answered prayers bring glory to God; therefore, He wants to answer prayers.
“If you abide in me, and My words abide in you, you shall ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified” (John 15:7-8).
Remember that only a foolish person is not careful.
“Walk circumspectly not as fools” (Eph. 5:15).
I don’t know why the Spirit stopped the flood of verses at 50 points. (Try as I might, my heart doesn’t give me anymore.) Jesus is the Manna from heaven (John 6:35) that we are to eat each morning. This seems seems to fit into the essential: Abide in Christ and keep your eyes on whom and what Jesus is.). Because I felt that I was starting downhill at 50, which is when a person can join AARP, perhaps He shared a little humor with me. I don’t know. Or, perhaps He has more or less than 50 points that answer a child of God’s personal question when they don’t know what to do, but this is enough for me. I didn’t attempt to put the points in order of importance. Perhaps a more scholarly person can attempt that someday. I’m quite sure God’s children are to start and end with points one and two. (“Abide each day in Jesus, our Vine.”“Obey Jesus’ Commands.”)
However, I’ve found that reading these points repeatedly are a seminary in themselves that teach how we always are able to know what we are to do.
I come to the end of finding the Spirit-given answer of what I am to do with gratitude and find my heart is relaxed and at peace. Learning what my Lord wants me to do is a blessing. I never have expected much from my unaided self as I claimed early in my life: “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9).
Essentially, each of the 50 points are not what I’m to do, but what He can do through me if I will return to the attitude I had when I asked Jesus into my heart as a little boy: “You are saved by grace through faith, not of works less any man boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9), “But to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Rom. 4:4-5).
It is mind-blowing to come to understand He not only works in us to do, but also to want to do. “It is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phil 2:13). We now know there are at least 50 things we are to do as the divine sap of the Vine graciously flows through us, regardless of age or stage of life.
In one sense, we are to never retire.