Editor’s Note: Below is a transcript of a message, posted to YouTube on December 16, 2021, from President of the Adventist Church, Ted N.C. Wilson. You can see past messages here
Hello, friends. Have you ever been in a situation where you just weren't sure what to do? Perhaps you had a very important decision to make, or you were facing a challenging situation at work or at home. Maybe you were experiencing a difficult interpersonal relationship, or you just needed clear direction in your life. For these situations and many more, did you know there is a key to being able to act wisely at all times? Well, there is, and today I am delighted to share that key with you! It's found in the fifth volume of Testimonies to the Church, volume 5, page 43, where we are promised:
"Those who study the Bible, counsel with God, and rely upon Christ will be enabled to act wisely at all times and under all circumstances" (5T 43).
Friends, this is such an amazing promise that I'm going to repeat it: "Those who study the Bible, counsel with God, and rely upon Christ will be enabled to act wisely at all times and under all circumstances" (5T 43).
What a wonderful promise--to be "enabled to act wisely at all times and under all circumstances! But there are conditions for this promise to be fulfilled. For the next few moments, let's take a look at each of the three conditions listed in the promise:
"Study the Bible." Notice, it doesn't say "Read the Bible" but rather we are to "study" it. Why is it so important to study the Bible? Because that's where we find "the knowledge of God," but we must search for it. God tells His children in Proverbs 2:1-6:
". . . if you receive my words,
And treasure my commands within you,
So that you incline your ear to wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding;
Yes, if you cry out for discernment,
And lift up your voice for understanding,
If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will understand the fear of the Lord,
And find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding"
So, how do we study the Bible? Prayerfully, with an open mind and heart, accepting it as the Word of God which transcends time and culture. God speaks to us today through His Word, but we must set aside time to listen. If you are not sure where or how to begin to study the Bible, why not begin with the book of Proverbs. It is a treasure chest filled with practical gems of wisdom. And there are 31 chapters in Proverbs--one for each day of the month!
For more very helpful information on how to study the Bible, I encourage you to read the Seventh-day Adventist Church's "Methods of Bible Study" document, which you will find in English and Spanish at the link below: https://adventistbiblicalresearch.org/materials/methods-of-bible-study/
The second prerequisite, or condition for being able to "act wisely at all times and under all circumstances" is to "Counsel with God." But how do we, as human beings counsel with the God of the universe?! Through the privilege of prayer!
And just as we cannot rush through studying the Bible when looking for wisdom, neither can we rush through prayer. Notice, it says to "counsel" with God. This implies not only speaking, but also listening.
In the beautiful book, Steps to Christ, we are warned to not "take counsel with our doubts and fears, or try to solve everything that we cannot see clearly. . . . But if we come to God, feeling helpless and dependent, as we really are, and in humble trusting faith make known our wants to Him whose knowledge is infinite . . . He can and will attend to our cry, and will let light shine into our hearts. Through sincere prayer we are brought into connection with the mind of the Infinite" (p. 97).
What an amazing thought--that through sincere prayer we are brought into connection with the mind of God! And Jesus is our example. In spite of His very busy schedule, we are told in Mark 1:35 "Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed."
If we want to "be enabled to act wisely at all times and under all circumstances" we must first study the Bible and take time to counsel with God through prayer.
The third condition for acting wisely is to "rely upon Christ." This involves acknowledging that of ourselves, we can do nothing. In Isaiah 53:6 we read, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one to his own way . . ." but praise God, through Christ we can be "more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded," wrote the apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans, "that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:37).
When we really grasp how much God loves us, it makes it easier to surrender our will to His all-knowing, all-wise, all-loving will for us. For to truly rely on Christ, we must stop relying on ourselves, and surrender our will to His, saying, "Lord, 'not my will, but Yours be done'" (Luke 22:42).
Once we rely completely on Christ, He will then work in marvelous ways. We are promised: "When in humble faith we rely on Christ as our sufficiency, our strength, our all and in all, then it is that the power of God rests upon our work" (The Gospel Herald, March 1, 1901, par. 9).
So here then, is the secret to success: "Those who study the Bible, counsel with God, and rely upon Christ will be enabled to act wisely at all times and under all circumstances" (5T 43). May God encourage and strengthen you as you claim this promise as your own.
Let us pray. Father in heaven, thank you for these encouraging words, helping us to understand that, when we read your holy word, when we counsel with you through prayer, when we were like completely upon Christ and his power, that you truly can give us exactly what to do in all circumstances, at all times. Thank you Lord for this wonderful promise. We place ourselves in your care right now and I ask a special blessing to all those listening or watching right now. Help them to study your word, to counsel with you in prayer and to lean on Jesus completely as we come to the very end of time and Jesus soon return. We ask all of this in the precious and powerful name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, amen.