“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”Proverbs 3:5-6
This is such an encouraging Proverb. And, with good reason, probably the most frequently quoted and preached-from. There are several lessons for life contained in its 35 verses. This morning I was meditating on verses 5-6.
Trust in the LORD
King Solomon knew from personal experience that God is truly worthy to be trusted, and here, he advises his son to live a life of trust in God.
It is our nature to put our trust in something or someone. Some people have had their trust betrayed or let downs so many times that they have privately vowed to trust no one but themselves. Some self-help advocates advise us to ‘trust yourself.’ ‘Find the bigger you deep within,’ they tell you, and other such clichés.
There is no ‘bigger you’ within: The truth is, there is no bigger you within. Contrary to the popular catchphrase we are not ‘enough.’ If we were, why did Jesus need to die?
Solomon’s admonishment to his son, and ultimately to us all, is to consciously put our trust in the LORD, the covenant God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Although we in and by ourselves are weak, the very good news is that when we surrender our self-trust, and all our striving to ‘be better’ or ‘be stronger’, and we acknowledge that it’s only in Christ that our strength is found – it is quite literally his strength in us – then we become strong. A divine exchange.
With all your heart
If I’m to trust God, must be complete; wholehearted. More often than not we put half trust our in God and the other half in ourselves or something else.
The following analogy really stuck a chord with me:
With “all your heart” could sound like a tall order to some; demanding perfection. As imperfect people it is impossible for us to trust in the LORD perfectly. But really, Proverbs 3:5-6 describes a heart that is willing to trust with a childlike, unwavering confidence in our perfect Father’s well-proven trustworthiness, wisdom, mercy, faithfulness and love. It isn’t about perfection, it’s about willingness — surrender.
Lean not on your own understanding
Trusting God with our whole heart is an ongoing process. It is making the decision to put away our own understanding, however wise we might think ourselves to be in any given circumstance, and choosing instead to trust that God’s understanding is far superior.
In all your ways acknowledge Him
Trusting God with all our heart means to honour and acknowledge him in everything we do. It is the conscious choice to invite God into our everyday life and conduct. It is to practice the presence of God in the regular, sometimes mundane things that happen every day.
He will make your paths straight
One of the most commonly asked questions is, “How can I know God’s will for my life?” In principle, Solomon answers this question in Proverbs 3. The whole Proverb is a great chapter to meditate on.
God’s response towards those who choose to trust him with all our heart, not to lean on our own understanding, and to acknowledge him in all our ways, is to direct them in the fulfilment of his will, into what is right and pleasing to him.
We can be confident, not in ourselves but in him, to take the next step, then the next in the peace of God, believing that through his word, the Holy Spirit’s leading, the counsel of others, and through godly common sense, God will lead us.