Ministry Resources

Finding Solutions – A Christian Approach

The Lord has filled my heart with joy; how happy I am because of what he has done! . . . how joyful I am because God has helped me! (1 Samuel 2:1 TEV)

Do these words sound like they came from a person in deep despair over life’s heavy problems? No! They sound like the testimony of someone living in joyous victory and confidence. They are the words of Hannah, a woman whose life was weighted down with problems. Her problems resulted from being one of two wives of Elkanah, and being unable to bear children. The other wife laughed at her and made her life miserable because she was barren. Hannah was overcome by a spirit of sadness and she wept many tears because of these problems. She lost her appetite. Her sadness was a problem for her husband, too, because he loved her very much.

How could a woman with such problems be the same one who spoke the words of 1 Samuel 2:1? She took her problems to God. She made a commitment that God had been waiting to hear. The commitment brought peace to her heart even before her problems were solved. “She went away, ate some food, and was no longer sad” (1 Samuel 1:18 TEV). Later, the Lord gave her the son she had so long desired. Her life began to turn around when she took her problems to the Lord.

Solve The Sin Problem First

The greatest problem any of us will have to solve is the sin problem—and there is a solution! In Lesson 1 we read several Scriptures which tell us that all have sinned, that no one is righteous, and that we are all guilty before God for our sins. We also saw that the penalty for sin is death—eternal separation from God.

Before we can approach our other problems from the right perspective, we must first solve the sin problem. Before we can help others find solutions to the problems they face, we must show them their need to solve the sin problem in their life. Jesus Christ is the only answer to that problem. We come to Him and receive forgiveness through confession and belief. We maintain our relationship to Him as our Lord and Savior through obedience.

Confession includes being willing to admit that we are sinners, being sorry for our sins, and agreeing that we will stop sinning. It is also an acknowledgment that we want Christ to be the Lord and Master of our lives. It is a willingness to entrust our lives completely into His hands.


With Christ’s death upon the cross and His resurrection from the dead, God completed His redemption plan so that man might be restored to fellowship with Him. Christ became the covering for our sin. His resurrection was an essential part of the plan. In 1 Corinthians 15:17, 21-22 we read these words:

And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile [hopeless]; you are still in your sins. . . . For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

When we acknowledge that Christ has won the victory over death and the grave, we also acknowledge that He has provided a way for us to receive forgiveness for our sins, and to gain victory over them. We believe that He has power to help us overcome temptation and to live a godly life. We also believe that He will direct our lives as we put our trust in Him, and that He will prepare us for eternal life in heaven with Him.


Once we have confessed our sins and acknowledged Jesus Christ as our risen Lord and Master, we must live a life of obedience to Him and His Word. This is the way we show our love for Him. Jesus emphasized the importance of obedience in His words to the disciples (John 14:15,21,23): “If you love me, you will obey what I command . . . Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. . . . If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching.”

Let The Bible Be Your Guide

After we become Christians, we do not look for just any solution which will get us out of a hard place. We look for solutions from God’s Word that are consistent with the Christian way of life. The ways in which a Christian believer solves his problems are very important.

First, a Christian is committed to a life of obedience to Jesus Christ. Therefore, all possible solutions must be examined in the light of Scripture, and especially the teachings of Jesus and His disciples. Many Scriptures are clear on the subject of right and honorable actions. Solutions contrary to Scripture must be rejected!

Second, the Bible is God’s operations manual for us. When a manufacturer sells a piece of complicated machinery, he provides an operations manual, a set of instructions which explain how to keep the machine in good working order. These instructions must be followed if the machine is to work properly. In a similar manner, people were made by God, and He knows what it takes to make human life successful. The Bible is the “operations manual” that He has provided. To scorn (reject) or ignore God’s stated instructions is to invite trouble and problems.

It would be impossible to list here all of the Scriptures which deal with the way we should live. As we proceed with this course and discuss specific problems, we will see what the Bible has to say about them. But some general guidelines are found in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17) and in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5–7) which we want to consider briefly.

The Ten Commandments 

There is a popular teaching that says, “Since Christ paid the penalty for our sin, we are no longer under the Law, and have complete liberty to live as we choose.” It is true that Christ has set us free from the bondage of sin, but examine His words in Matthew 5:17-18:

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

Christ did not do away with the moral Law of God, but He does give us the power to be obedient to the Law. Take time now to read Exodus 20:1-17 and Matthew chapters 5 through 7. You will see that Christ expects His followers to be careful observers of His commandments, and to go even a step further in determining to avoid those things which might lead to disobedience.

The purpose of this course is to help you find solutions to your problems. In order to have a proper foundation in approaching your problems from a Christian perspective, you need to know what the Bible says that will be of help to you. As a starting point, we will compare the Ten Commandments (the moral Law of God) with related Scriptures in the New Testament. These Scriptures deal with our behavior—what we do. Find each Scripture in your Bible and read it carefully.

God did not give us these commandments because He wants to make us His slaves. He gave them to us because He knew that obeying them would help us to avoid many problems and have happy, fulfilled lives.

The “Be” Attitudes

One day I heard a conversation about a woman who had moved several hundred miles away from her original home. One person said, “Mrs. White moved there because she was so unhappy.” “She will still be unhappy there,” replied the friend, “because she had to take herself along!”

The friend spoke an important truth. If your attitude is wrong, no outside solution to a problem will be of permanent help. But when you approach your problem with the right attitude, you can expect victory over the problem, whether the desired solution comes or not.

Jesus had much to say about attitudes. The Beatitudes, which are part of His Sermon on the Mount, have often been called the “be attitudes” because they describe what we should be.

If you studied the first course in this series, Christian Maturity by Rick Howard, you have already considered the teaching of the Beatitudes (1980, p. 152). They are recorded in Matthew 5:3- 10. These are the attitudes of heart and character which the Holy Spirit will produce in believers who allow Him to do so.

Love Is The Key

Throughout the Scriptures, love is given as the key to finding solutions for problems. Once someone asked Jesus, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” (Mark 12:28). Here is His answer (Mark 12:29-31):

“The most important one . . . is this: . . . ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Just think of all the problems that could be avoided if we would determine to show the kind of love described by Paul! That is the attitude God wants us to have, and if we have it we don’t need to worry about breaking the Law. In Romans 13:8-10 the apostle Paul expressed this:

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself” Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

We have just briefly illustrated in this section how the Bible gives us guidelines for problem solving. You will want to refer back to these references as we proceed through the course, and we will continue to look into the Scriptures to find answers for specific problems. The teachings of Jesus and the apostles are rich in practical instruction for our everyday lives, and we can gain much by reading God’s Word daily and applying the truths in it to our own situations.

Use Your Other Resources

Prayer and Holy Spirit Guidance 

In this very personal ministry to you, God Himself will help you solve your problems. You can take them to God in prayer and He will either show you the solution so that you understand what you must do, or He will work in circumstances so that the problem is solved in other ways. To have this kind of relationship with God, establish the habit of communicating often with Him!

John 16:13 promises that the Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth. You can also count on the Holy Spirit to direct your daily path. He will always direct you according to biblical principles.

Your word is a lamp to guide me and a light for my path. I will keep my solemn promise to obey your just instructions (Psalm 119:105-106 TEV).

To frequent prayer, offered with praise and thanksgiving, must be added obedience. We have talked about obedience before. Did you notice in the Psalm you just read that the Psalmist connected light for his path to the fact that he was going to keep his promise to obey God’s instructions? Answered prayer and obedience go hand in hand. Impossible problems can be solved through prayer!

Common Sense and Reason 

God has given each of us a certain capacity for considering obvious facts and making a judgment. He must expect us to use this ability. You probably use common sense and reasoning to solve many problems every day. In fact, it becomes such a familiar process that it may be overlooked.

For example, a friend of mine had a problem with children in her neighborhood. Seven of them had gotten into the habit of coming into her yard every morning to play with her two children, and often they would stay the whole day. First she considered all the facts:

1. It was good to have her own children nearby so that she knew what they were doing.

2. Her children needed to be with other children often.

3. Having so many children in her yard all day was often unpleasant, or inconvenient for her.

There are several common-sense solutions to this problem. My friend used her common sense to limit the amount of time the children could visit in her yard. She chose a simple solution to the problem.

We also experience times when God’s solution to one of our problems might indeed be quite uncommon! He might lead you in ways that would not be easy for other people to understand. Nevertheless, for most of the ordinary situations of life, common sense and our ability to reason are important problem-solving tools.

Conscience and Self-Control 

Conscience is the word we use to name that inner voice or “feeling” that tells us what is right or wrong. Sometimes your conscience can be a tool in helping you solve your problems. I must say sometimes, because if you have ignored your conscience, its messages may be unclear. This sad possibility is taught in Romans 1:18-32. The pattern is explained in verse 28: “Because those people refuse to keep in mind the true knowledge about God, he has given them over to corrupted minds . . . ” (TEV). Your conscience is misused when it sends out warnings that you continue to ignore.

If you ask the Holy Spirit to guide you, and if you are obedient to His teaching, you can depend upon your conscience to warn you about those things which are wrong. The person who is sensitive to the warnings of his conscience will feel guilt when he has done wrong, and he will want to ask God for forgiveness. Keep your conscience sensitive by paying attention to its inner warning voice! Then it can be a useful tool in helping you solve your problems. It will help you to know which solutions to reject.

There are three areas where self-control is necessary in order to avoid problems or solve existing problems which we have brought upon ourselves. They are the control of thoughts, speech, and behavior. I have linked them with conscience, because your conscience will warn you when you are weak in any of these areas.

Thoughts are the roots of spoken words and outward acts. Jesus taught that murder has its roots in angry thoughts and words; adultery begins with thinking unclean thoughts (Matthew 5:21-30). Your thoughts are in your direct control. You can refuse to dwell on thoughts that will lead to trouble. Follow the teachings of Scripture:

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).

One way to put good thoughts into your mind is to read books that will inspire and help you. There are many good Christian books that give us insight into the problems and experiences of other Christians. When I read such books and learn how God has brought guidance to others in solving their problems, I can be encouraged that He will also guide me. A Christian should be very careful in his selection of books, magazines, television or radio programs, and other forms of entertainment, so that he can control his thoughts carefully.

Control of speech is probably the most difficult task for all of us. The apostle James tells us in James 3:2, “If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check [control].” Read verses 3 through 12 in this chapter. These verses emphasize what a deadly weapon the tongue can be. Surely it can cause us a great deal of trouble if we do not control it.

Here are some results of an uncontrolled tongue:

1. Separates friends (Proverbs 16:28): “A gossip separates close friends.”

2. Causes deadly wounds (Proverbs 18:8): “The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts.”

3. Causes discord among brethren (Proverbs 6:16, 19): “There are six things the Lord hates . . . a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.”

Once you have learned to better control of your thoughts and speech, you will also be able to better control your behavior. In all of this, you need the help of the Holy Spirit, because your sinful nature would lead you to do that which is wrong. The apostle Paul recognized this. He discussed it in Romans 7:18-19, and 24-25:

I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil that I do not want to—this I keep on doing . . . What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Other People

Many of your problems can be solved by following your conscience and using common sense and reason. You can find solutions to other problems through prayer and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes a problem is so heavy and so personal that you should take it only to God, and allow Him to work out the solution in your heart. But often God uses other people as His instruments in helping you find solutions for your problems.

Friends and caring people. You might begin by seeking out a wise and godly friend (one who can be trusted to keep a confidence). Friends have the advantage of not being emotionally involved in the problem. Since they are outside the situation, they can look at the problem from a different angle. Their advice should always be according to scriptural teaching.

Christian friends can often be a blessing to one another in this way. Prayer groups, Sunday school classes, and other small groups within the church can share together and pray together. I have seen wonderful solutions to problems come as a result of united prayer by a caring church family.

On the other hand, you can be the friend that someone else needs. I hope your study of this course will help you to be more sensitive to the needs of others, and better able to help them find solutions to their problems.

Professional counselors. There are some problems so serious or complex that God’s best way of helping us is through the advice of someone with special knowledge or training. Medical or psychological problems often need this kind of specialized help. There are delicate or sensitive matters that should not be shared with friends; they may not have enough knowledge to help you find the best solutions.

In such cases, expert advice should be sought from a caring pastor, professional Christian counselors, doctors, or others who have made the area of your concern their special study. God can use their judgments just as He can use yours. Be sure to choose a Christian counselor, or one who will not oppose the Christian principles by which you live.

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