Proverbs 3 instructs on how to keep from being a fool. It is also full of conditional statements.
- Honoring the Lord with your wealth will result in wealth beyond material possessions.
- Welcoming discipline will allow you to encounter the love of God.
- Find wisdom and you will gain understanding.
- Keeping sound wisdom and discretion will result in security.
- Fearing the Lord and turning away from evil will heal and refresh you
But I find myself coming back to verses 5-6 time and again because I have to constantly remind myself not to lean on my own understanding.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
It’s difficult not to lean on my own understanding. I’m a mixture of 5 senses, experiences and encounters unique to my own navigation of my life. When presented with new information and challenges, my first involuntary action is to run it through my own filter for understanding.
However, when I lean on my own understanding and don’t consult the wisdom of God, I risk losing the benefits found in eternal guidance.
Trust in the Lord
What do you think about when you read or hear the word “trust”? For some, it may conjure up images of falling backward only to be caught by their co-workers at a team-building exercise. For others, maybe it is handing a child to a baby-sitter, the car keys to a teenager, or a loved one over to an addiction.
Either way, trust involves the risk of being hurt.
In an effort to play God, sometimes I will not trust in order to prevent myself from being hurt. But this is not the life God calls me to live.
Only God can prevent hurt. At times it is even allowed in the life of the Christian to move them toward a deeper, richer relationship with Him.
We are told in Proverbs 3:5 to “Trust in the Lord with all our heart.”
A half-hearted trust still seeks to be God in some measure. A full-hearted trust demonstrates to God a submission to his authority, power and promise of providing the best for me.
I know I’ve taken the half-hearted trust approach (and less) and may never know what blessings I’ve missed out on by not trusting God with a full heart.
In All Your Ways
I operate within a routine and sometimes I do not take an opportunity to consider my ways. I prefer a new routine that asks:
What are my ways in the morning? The afternoon? Night?
How do I interact with my family, friends, co-workers and strangers?
What am I responsible for and how do I handle those responsibilities?
What do I talk about, think about and long for?
Do my ways include deep, meaningful conversations with God?
A thoughtful analysis of my ways can tell me if I acknowledge God a little, a lot or not at all.
He Will Make Straight Your Paths
I’ve had to deal with jealousy at times when I’ve witnessed someone achieve something I desired. To me, it appears they took a path that seemed so straight that they just couldn’t miss. Why that jealousy? Andy Stanley says in his book Enemies of The Heart that jealousy arises out of an attitude of “God owes me”.
When my heart hasn’t been about God’s glory but instead about my own selfish gain, it’s easy to blame God for not providing the path to that selfish gain. Jealousy is the result of being foolish when it comes to our attitude toward God.
Again, Proverbs is full of information on how to not be a fool.
I need to concede that “my” path may not be God’s path for me. My attempts to make my paths straight might make them look like crop circles, instead.
Saying to God “Have your way” may not feel safe or desired. It is continuous trust at the risk of being hurt. However, it is the best insurance policy on this planet because God is the one underwriting and fulfilling it.
Have you heard the phrase that there is no safer place than in God’s will? Maybe it is better said that the most certain place is in God’s will, whether we feel safe, secure or not.
In a culture where the attempt to buy certainty with time and money is on non-stop display, the only certainty rests in a relationship with God through one’s belief that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life, was put to death on a cross and then rose again to life to conquer death and allow us an eternity in Heaven.
I can trust this today with my whole heart. I can acknowledge God in this way. I can expect Him to make my paths straight as a result.
Are you wrestling with this?
We’d love to hear from you!
21 Days of Proverbs