Acknowledge Him

Proverbs 3:6: "In all thy ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct thy paths."

In order to understand the message of this Scripture passage, let us consider some simple facts.
In the consciousness of man there is a dual sense of possibility and limitation.
Every person is conscious of what he is able to do.
Every person is aware of his limitation in that ability.

At some point in our lives, we come to realize this.
During our young years, this dual consciousness caused a perpetual delight.
The limitation is opportunity.
The possibility is equipment.

In old age, when the life has been wasted, this dual consciousness abides, but it is that of despair.
The limitation becomes everything, and the possibilities are gone.
Old-age can be dreadful.

There is an old age of the youthful heart, in which expectation is still busy painting pictures of coming victories.
When life has been well, and truly lived this dual consciousness abides;
but the proportion is very different.
The limitation is growing less with every passing hour, and the possibility is growing more and more.

I would that every one present may burn more brightly when the long days journey is done,
and when the sun is going down in the western sky.
I would hope that new light may break upon you, and therefore I bring you the message of my text.

It is a Divine arrangement that the young should see visions, and that they should build their castles in the air;
and that they should strive for success.
Let no embittered and disappointed person discourage the enthusiasm of youth for two reasons.

Even though you may be embittered and disappointed, I question whether you have any right to be so.
I feel as I would like to stay and preach to the older man for a moment.
Maybe on looking back, you have dreamed your dreams, and built your castles in the air,
and have failed.
How do you know you have failed?

If according to your light, and the measure of the opportunity which has come to you,
and you have been true to God, and just beyond the limit with the infinite sky kisses the finite earth,
you will discover that the commonplaces of your life are transfigured into part of God's great whole
of perfect work.
I would encourage you, rather than that you should discourage others.

It is within the Divine intention that you should dream dreams and build castles and see visions
and be ambitious to succeed.
We should never dishearten or attempt to kill the enthusiasm of youth.

"How beautiful is youth! How bright it gleams,
With its allusions, aspirations, dreams!
Book of beginnings, story without end,
Each maid a heroine, and each man a friend!

Aladdin's lamp, and Fortunatus' purse,
That holds the treasures of the universe!
No danger daunts it, and no foe withstands;

In its sublime audacity of faith,
"Be thou removed," it to the mountain saith,
And with ambitious feet, secure and proud,
Ascends the ladder, leaning on the cloud."

Youth is always looking to the distant.
The vision is always on things ahead.
The young man who stands by his mother, and tells her what he is going to be, is the symbol
of all of that which we are speaking.

Sometimes the height is never reached, and successes never achieved.
The glory that is seen in the distance pasts, and there is nothing but darkness and disappointment.
The reason is that while the glory was true in possibility, the true path to the mountain heights
has not been discovered.
There is in the distance the mountain height, but we do not know the way.
We do not know if the end will be in the valley, in the place of disaster, or in the place of defeat.

"In all thy ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct thy paths

That which is within us that causes us to desire victory, and the passion for perfection,
the determination to achieve, is all of God.
And if we can discover His way, His plan, His thought, and follow His direction, then we shall come
to fulfillment even though it may take a battle and strife and conflict and tears,
and through apparent disaster and defeat.

I appeal today to those who have the goal in sight, and it declares the abiding condition upon which the pathways
which lead to the goal may be discovered.
"In all thy ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct thy paths."

This text is for conditions in the present, and conditions that moves from progress to consummation.

Let's look at this passage of Scripture in two parts.

First, the injunction, "In all thy ways acknowledge him."
Second, the promise, "And He shall direct thy paths."

"In all thy ways acknowledge Him," are comprehensive words.
They point us away from atheism.
Atheism is an insidious peril which threatens us everyday and everywhere.
There is a very practical and widespread atheism which many would very much resent that term.
There are many atheists who would be angry if we call them that.

What is an atheist?
An atheist is one who is without God.
Atheism is not merely intellectual.
There is a volitional atheism, which may recite the creed and imagine they believe it,
while through all the busy days it violates and denies it.

The apostle Paul connects atheism with the death of that principle which is the supreme charm
and value of youth.
"Atheist and without hope."
These two things are forever closely associated.

The portion which a person is without God is the proportion in which light is fading from the sky,
shadows are settling up on his way, and darkness is overtaking him.

Godlessness is initially more than intellectual anxiety, questioning, and unbelief.
Godlessness is life without reference to God.
That is the peril against which this text warns us.
That is the danger from which it seeks to deliver us.

The first idea of the word "acknowledge" is that of vision.
It is though the Preacher had said, "In all thy ways see God."
It calls us to a recognition of the fact of the presence of God at every point of our lives.
It reminds us that in all our ways -- God is.

It denies the heresy that God is in the sanctuary, and not in the everyday affairs of our lives.
It denies the heresy that God isn't interested in the central spiritual fact of human life,
and has no relationship with the mental and the physical.
We can see God everywhere.

The word calls us to a recognition of His existence, which must produce fear, but not slavish fear,
but the solemn awe of the soul which holds life in balance and proportion.
That awe which this age lacks disastrously.
It is largely absent from the life of today.

Man is standing altogether too erect in the presence of God, challenging the wisdom of God,
or laughing at the ancient conceptions of His majesty; and abandoning the figures of speech
by which the prophets, seers, and psalmists of bygone generations attempted to bring men into subjection,
and with the abandonment of the figures and , forgetting the facts.

Recognition of His existence will result in an acceptance of His claim, and produce obedience.
Such obedience will strengthen belief in His interest, and will result in prayer.

I think there is another meaning in this word "acknowledge."
And to acknowledge Him, is to use His gifts in the spirit of His will, recognizing that they are His gifts,
and that we are responsible to Him for them.

There are some words of Jesus which I think we often interpreted too narrowly,
if not with absolute inaccuracy.
In the Sermon on the Mount, that great manifesto of the King, Christ said to His disciples,
"Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
But if God doth so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven,
shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith

And again, He said, "Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap,
nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them.
Are not ye of much more value than they

Our Lord did not mean that as the lilies are clothed, without toiling and without spinning,
and we are not to expect to be clothed without toiling.
Neither did He mean, that if He provides for the birds of the air without thought,
that we are to neglect our thought.
Rather, he meant that if the lilies of the field in the birds of the air, unable to plan and arrange,
are cared for, and how much more will God provide for those to whom He has given reason,
and ability to plan.

Let no one think that he can come to the fulfillment of his life only by prayer.
Let him understand in this respect also that "faith without works is dead."
Christ gives another illustration of mountains being removed by faith.
Today, we say that mountains are never removed by faith.

Yet is this true?
In different parts of the world, mountains are being removed and cast into the seas.
We might say that that is a great engineering triumph.
What lies behind the work of the engineer?
It is the faith of the engineer.

No mountain has ever been leveled or tunneled, and no highway has ever been created by humanity,
except by works preceded by faith.
There is first the vision of the possibility, and then, the action which realizes the vision.

"In all thy ways acknowledge Him," does not merely mean we see Him, believe Him,
pray to Him, or fear Him.
It also means to take all the forces which He has placed in our personality and use them
under His control.
Do not expect that He will ever bring you to the mountain height unless you climb.
Do not imagine that you will ever come to a fulfillment of your own life unless you work for it.
Do not think for a moment that a knowledge of God means that if you are a member of the Christian Church
that He will make your life full and beautiful and rich even if you are lazy in your daily work.

I want to deliver young people in this age from the ideal that godliness consists totally in singing hymns
and going to prayer-meetings.

What is the capacity within you?
Is it mechanical?
Then you are not merely to pray you are to work out to perfection the forces which God has placed within you.
You are not to neglect any single side of your nature which He has created.
When you have discovered what your calling in life is to be, you are to remember that you can only come
into fulfillment by consecrated toil under the government of God.

"In all thy ways acknowledge Him."

Let's take an illustration for our home life of this principle.
In your home life.
In the home in which for a while you journey, the home of your childhood which as yet it may be,
you have not left.
"In all thy ways acknowledge Him."

Recognize His goodness, recognize the authority over you as representing His authority.
Jesus was subject unto his parents.
He had first said, "I must be about My Father's business."

Young people in thinking about the home less which one day you will make for yourselves,
and the whole sacred and wonderful manner of the birth of love within your nature, acknowledge Him.
Sacred, high, holy, and beautiful, is all such love when heaven born; but it tends to fail
when it is not tested in the light of the love of God.

I have seen dedicated, Christian young ladies who were beautiful and full of promise give themselves
to young man who lacked recognition of God.
I have seen promising young men, who lived an enthusiastic life for Christ attach himself to young ladies
who have no such vision.

"In all thy ways acknowledge Him."
Remember, unless you can test your love by the light of heaven's pure love,
it is going to be the most unutterable curse that ever came into your life.

Then, consider your business.
What are you going to be?
In this respect every Christian should seek the divine guidance of God.
Pray about it, but do not end with just prayer.

Remember that in every human life there is some power which God needs, not merely for the supply
of all that is necessary to the life possessing it, but for the world around him or her.
It is for every person to discover in God's presence, and in fellowship with Him, what that power is.
Then take that power and hold it and develop it, and use it in the will of God.

I would say to all of you who have already discovered the place of your life in this world
that you must master it in every detail.
I would say to you that you should be restless until you're able to do the thing you have set out to do,
so that when you have done that you can hold it up to God, and say, "Here is the work that you have for me."

Remember that Jesus was a carpenter.
He made yokes in which the oxen plowed the ground for its master.
As a carpenter Jesus constructed those single-share ploughs that the farmer used to drive the furrow
through his field.
I can say without any hesitation, that when Jesus Christ made a yoke,
it was one that heaven itself would have accepted.
When Jesus had finished the plough, it was true to the measurement of eternity.

Then the time came when he left the carpenter shop and started his preaching.
In His preaching, he borrowed the things of His toil to illustrate His preaching.
For instance, He said: "My yoke is easy."

Jesus knew what He was talking about.
He had made yokes, and made them so that they never scraped the neck of the oxen that wore them.

He said, "No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom."
Notice the Master' s assumption.
He did not suggest that the furrrow could be corrected because the plow was wrong.
It is the man who must be wrong, when Jesus has made the plow.

Put your Christian life into your business.
May all your Christianity be seen in the letter you have to write, and the work that you have to do.
"In all thy ways acknowledge Him."

This must also be true in our recreation.
What does that mean?
It means that we should have no recreation that dulls our perception of God.

However harmless it may be to you, it to someone else it raises a mist through which you cannot see clearly
the face of your Father, then you must have none of it.
However harmless it may be to you, if you, seeking recreation in the same way, lose your desire
to live for the Lord completely and totally, then you should have no such recreation.
That is the test.

Some would say that the question of amusements is a very difficult one.
But it is a very simple one.
That is its test.
"In all thy ways acknowledge him."

If you say, I'm very doubtful about ____________________. (Add your word here.)
That settles it forever.
If you are doubtful, then you dare not continue in it.
"Whatsoever is not of faith is sin."
"In all thy ways acknowledge Him."

God is not only God of your life, but of your brother's life, and you cannot seek recreation in that
which ministers harm to other people.
I leave it to you to apply that principle.
Is it pleasing to God?

Any recreation, though it may not be harmful to me, but may harm the person who provides it,
I cannot if I acknowledge God, indulge in it.

Listen again closely to the text: "In all thy ways acknowledge Him."
Three hundred and sixty-five days a year we are to acknowledge God.
Not only the ways that are public to the gaze of others, but also to the inner sacred ways
of which others know nothing about us.
Acknowledge Him, see Him, in the dark as well as in the light; and the shop as well as in the sanctuary;
and in the valley as well as on the mountain height; at play as well as at work.
"In all thy ways acknowledge Him."

Now hear the concluding word of the promise.
"He shall direct thy paths."

That promise calls for the exercise of faith.
Our one responsibility is that of obedience to the condition of which I have been speaking.
Let me also say that the truth of the promise is discoverable in all retrospection.

That may be the most difficult thing for youth.
It is so difficult to look back.
There is so little to look back at.
So listen to the testimony of those who look back after long journeys and trying days.
Their testimony is that they have acknowledge Him in all their ways, and He has directed their paths.

God has many ways of directing.
He directs not obstacles placed across the path which I cannot overcome, and which drove me into a new way.
He directs by clearing obstacles which I thought could not be moved.

He directs by delay by keeping me waiting long after I have heard His call to service.
He directs by the immediate, flinging me out into a new position, wherein I must seek His guidance.
He directs by opposition – the Spirit hindered Paul.

He directs by encouragement – He whispers in the soul that which encourages us to go on
when others would stop us.
He directs by disappointing.
He directs by enabling us to realize our dreams.

I can say without any hesitation that any Christian who has committed his or her life to God,
and desired to be led of God, and determined to follow God, that God has led him or her – He has directed.

Look at the personality suggested by the pronoun in the text: "He shall direct thy paths."
Remember that the "He" of the ancient preacher is the God of the Bible.
Because that is true, the "He" trembles with the tenderness of the Father's love.

No evil can baffle us if He directs our path.
No enemy can prevent the final realization of His purpose.
No obstacles can hinder if He is leading.
No opposition can overcome if He directs.
No exigencies can overwhelm the wisdom of God.
No surprises can prevent Him.

All the wonderful assurance and safety of being in the will of God.
"He shall direct thy paths."

The paths are not always pleasant or easy, but they are the right paths.
They are not always those I would have chosen, but they nave always led to success.
There may be a vast difference between success and fame.

"He shall direct thy paths."
The past that He directs lead always, through mist and mystery, through battle and through bruising,
through the fulfillment of the meaning of life.

How much that is called success is only a disastrous failure.
I believe that these conditions may put limitations upon material success.
It may be that you could make a far larger fortune if you forgot God.
That is a very material thing to say.
For I have used the word, fortune, in its debased sense.
I have used it is though it only to be applied to those material things which you can grasp and state in numbers.
The person who would lay up treasure for eternity cannot forget God.

The final test of life is on the things of time and sense.
It will be a test of fire; only that which cannot be destroyed will remain.
In the light of that final test, if we would make our lives successful, we must begin right.

The first step is surrender.
What is the plan of life, and the pathway to the end?
It is obedience.

God is confronting everyone of us in this moment as God in Christ is asking for your life.
I pray for you that you may realize your ambitions, and fulfill your dreams.
And when the eternal morning flushes the eastern sky that you may come to fulfillment.

"In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths."

To celebrate a man's seventy-fifth birthday, an aviation enthusiast offered to take him for a plane ride
over the little West Virginia town where he spent all his life.
The old man accepted the offer.
Back on the ground, after circling over the town for twenty minutes, his friend asked,
"Were you scared, Uncle Dudley?"
"No-o-o," was the hesitant answer. "But I never did put my full weight down."

Many of us live our Christian lives never fully resting upon Jesus, resting in His wonderful
and comforting arms.
Trust the Lord and to trust Him you must know Him.
Spend time getting to know the Lord and you will find out that you will be able to trust Him!

"When we walk with the Lord
In the light of His word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will,
He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Not a burden we bear,
Not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss,
Not a frown or a cross,
But is blest if we trust and obey.

But we never can prove
The delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows,
For the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet
We will sit at His feet,
Or we'll walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do,
Where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there's no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey. "

Sermon adapted from several sources by Dr. Harold L. White