Biblical problem solving revolves around our relationship with God. The bigger your view of God, the smaller your problems become. Problems are produced not in what happens to us, but in on our unmet human expectations.
Biblical Problem Solving: Problems Are Different than Sins
Biblically, problems are different than sins. Problems are things like mistakes, issues, annoyances, or external complications needing to be solved. Sins are offenses against God and people by breaking commands found in the Bible.
Our interpretation of our outer circumstances is what will define something as a problem or not. To the house painter, the rain is a problem. To the farmer, the rain is a blessing. Reality is reality. We can’t change how the cookie crumbles in our lives. But our perspective and interpretation of reality is where problems are truly produced.
Problems arise in our life when circumstances make us feel we do not have the ability to accomplish what we want. When your car breaks down, it is a problem because you need to drive the kids to school, go to work, and pickup groceries on the way home. When your boss overlooks you for a promotion, it is a problem because you feel unappreciated and disrespected when you want to feel the opposite. These types of things are not sin in our life, per-say. How we respond to these problems, however, is what can lead to sin.
Biblical Problem Solving: How You View God Will Shape How You View Your Life
The more you try to be your own God, the quicker you will sin when dealing with even the smallest of problems. Humans were not designed to handle the stress of being the ultimate authority on anything. Therefore, when we try to be Lord of all, we grow fearful, and the fear manifests as sinful anger. The source of our fear is rooted in the fact that we are trying to accomplish a job we know we are not fit to accomplish. When we know we are soon to fail at solving a problem, frustration leading to sin is always the result.
James 4:1-2 explains, “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.” In other words, our unmet expectations cause us to respond in sinful ways. We want what we want because we want to be God. Perhaps this is why in just a few verses later James adds, “‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4: 6-7).
The only biblical solution to the stress we cause ourselves by trying to be God is to give God his rightful place in our lives, humbly submitting to him as the supreme authority to do whatever he thinks is best. To know, believe, and live as though God is in complete and utter control of everything, including our largest and minutest problems, is to give yourself the peace to handle the worst things that can ever happen on planet earth. James goes as far to say that we should have no expectations for the things outside of our human control:
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” (James 1:13-17)
Biblical Problem Solving: Peace Begins with Believing in God’s Sovereignty
Earthly problems grow smaller the more heavenly minded we are. Some would argue that we can become too heavenly minded and lose our earthly effectiveness. It’s true that we must always be aware of becoming so lost in thought we lose focus of the practical needs of people set before us every day. But to lose focus of God while being consumed with “doing good” is to be crushed by the all endless needs of this world. Because the world’s condition is so beyond our ability, the only way to be useful and not crushed is to be servants to the God of the universe, not servants to the universe’s needs.
When the Master of all is truly our master and we know we are but servants sent to do only a part of the work which he is wholly responsible for, only then will we be free from the paralysis that happens to limited creatures when confronted with limitless problems. Like a computer that’s given too many tasks at once without the power to support the requests, we will be frozen and useless if we try to do more than we were designed for.
Perfectionism and pride, manifesting in the belief that we must solve every problem ourselves, produces a paralysis where we do nothing because we know we cannot do everything. When we know we are unfit to be God, we give up even trying to be a useful human because we are so overwhelmed at what we know we can’t do rather than focusing on the smaller things we can do.
Biblical Problem Solving: An Eternal Perspective Trumps Our Personal Problems
If we hope to be effective on earth, we must be transfixed with the higher things of God. We can go on proclaiming what matters for eternity despite our temporal problems only when we see God for the GOD he is. He reigns forever – before, during, and after every earthly problem.
Earthly problems are put in their proper place when our hearts are set on heaven, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:1-3).
Only a big view of God and his awesome power will give us the peace and self-control we desire when confronted with earthly problems. Biblical problem solving starts with an accurate view of God’s sovereignty. A small perspective of God produces big problems.