Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

I remember sitting in church with my legs dangling from the pew looking at the rather wide derriere of the lady standing in front of me. Her bouncing hips keeping time as she played the tambourine. She threw her head back as she belted out, “Yes, I’m leaning on Jesus…” My mind wandered as I tried to visualize her leaning on Sunday School Jesus barefoot, sitting on a boulder with people around Him. I chuckled as I envisioned her in her starched white dress and white hat with veil in white duty shoes, standing in the sand on the beach with Jesus. It is funny how the imagination paints pictures!

Fast forward to the 21st Century and I can still hear that lady singing her heart out as the rhythmic pounding of the tambourine thunders in my ears. Now here I stand, trying to reassure myself that I’m leaning on Jesus and not my own understanding (Proverbs 3:5; 4:23). Decisions, choices, and opportunities? Which way is the Lord leading? How do I know what to do? How can I keep myself from the precipice of disaster?

I struggle with this dilemma. I become frustrated, often angry, and fearful. Sorting through emotions is challenging because I want to cut my own path. Sometimes I would rather leave Jesus in the altar, do my own thing, and pick Him up on my way back from the adventure. Invariably, I yield and look back marveling at the miraculous power of Jesus that keeps me from destroying myself.

What constrains me? What is it that sifts through the bent to sin and iniquity warring within? Sometimes I am aware of God’s hand directing me. At other times, I only recognize His help in hindsight. Here are a few principles that guide me.

  1. God’s counsel to my heart is always correct. I have to mature to hear His voice and silence my evil (condemning) conscience (Hebrews 10:22).
  2. God’s counsel can be confirmed in the mouth of two or three witnesses. Not my boo thang or girlfriend, but legitimate mature saints who know the ways of God. If I cannot bring the matter to counselors, it is probably foolishness and cannot bear the scrutiny of examination (Matthew 18:16).
  3. I am selfish and want my way ALL the time. I can easily deceive myself and convince myself that ANYTHING is the will of God (Jeremiah 17:9).
  4. I must examine my motives by a Biblical standard. I have to ask myself, “What does the Bible say about the situation?” I must search the Scripture for the answer and be willing to follow the revealed principle (Psalm 119:105).
  5. I keep telling myself, that if the offer is too good to be true, it is too good to be true.  In each instance, I have to balance that thought with the principle that every good gift comes from my Heavenly Father (James 1:17). I exercise discernment and examine the hand on the other side of the opened door of opportunity. What kind of character does the person/organization have who is extending the opportunity? Are they worthy of my trust?

Yes, I’m leaning on Jesus, Christ my Savior and like you, I struggle to yield. I was young and now I am old, but I reached the same conclusion as in my youth. Old habits die hard. Satan, the accuser of the saints tenaciously declares that he will return to his house (my life) despite having been expelled. I declare, I’m in it to win it! God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Psalm 73:26). The eternal God is [my] refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He will drive out [my] enemies before [me], saying, “Destroy them!” (Deuteronomy 33:27).

Dr. Vivian M. Jackson is the President of The Marriage Doctor, a marriage counseling ministry where she assists couples in developing strategies they are willing to implement to build strong relationships. Married for 38 years and the mother of two adult children, Vivian has practiced the craft of being married on the anvil of experience with Biblical principles as her guide. Affectionately known as Dr. Vivian, she speaks in conferences and hosts workshops around the nation. She is the First Lady of Hope Christian Church and the International Communion of Evangelical Churches headquarter in Beltsville, MD. Contacts: www.the-marriage-doctor.com; @marriagedoctor2; vivianmjacksonblog@wordpress.com; thehopeconnection.org