Proverbs 3:5-6 (NASB) “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 your paths straight.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 and John 3:16 are burned into my brain. These are well known verses by all Christians. They may even be well known by most people at this point. I can recite them without even thinking about it. However, it does seem these two verses do not seem to have much weight to them. In my life, thus far, the more I hear something the more it seems to lose its meaning. Hearing Proverbs 3:5-6 for years makes it seem as though it is a Confucius word of wisdom and not the Biblical Word of God, which is not okay. It’s the same feeling when I repeat a word over and over. Try this exercise with me. Use the word “bowl” and repeat it over and over again for the next 30 seconds. The more you say it the more it seems to not be a word. It seems to lose its meaning. I don’t wan to have this feeling with Proverbs 3:5-6. I want to remind everyone of how important, specifically Proverbs 3:5-6, is. I want to breathe life back into Proverbs 3:5-6. I want it to have power, to have weight to it when someone says it. I love remembering this verse but I want it to mean something when I recite it.
There are many ways to recite Proverbs 3:5-6 because of the plethora of translations we have of the Bible. Translations are good, they’re helpful. However, understanding the crux of a Bible verse, a passage, or an entire chapter can be confusing. I encourage everyone to always dig; ask questions, look up words, read commentaries, and pray to God for wisdom. Always be willing to dig deeper into the Word to gain more insight or to remember something forgotten. What I want to talk about, which I have forgotten until recently, is trusting, understanding, and acknowledging.
Trust, according to the Bible, is defined as complete confidence or belief in something or someone. The questions I ask myself, especially in the time we are living in, are these: Do I have complete confidence in God? Do I trust Him completely? Do I ever doubt Him? Understanding the answer to these questions is crucial to your relationship with God. With any healthy relationship there needs to be trust. Without it you will doubt, have anxiety, and potentially be afraid. The more you read the Bible and communicate with Him, the more you will know Him, not just know of Him. He’s the creator of the universe but he also wants to know you; know you through you talking to him not through his unlimited power.
One of my favorite things is to gain knowledge so I’ll be able to understand something. It’s a strength of mine to keep digging so I better understand but it can be hinderance for me as well. The more I lean, or trust, my own understanding of anything — the Bible, politics, people — the less I’m trusting God. The more I do without God the less I’m trusting Him. I like to do things on my own because I know I get things done. I know myself the best and I know what I’m capable of doing but I don’t know what everyone is capable or incapable of doing. Hence, why my instinct is to lean on my own understanding of how to do something, like being a youth pastor. However, God is always with me, waiting to listen and talk to me. He has the what I need to be who He wants me to be. He has the wisdom I need to lead a group as a pastor.
The word “acknowledge” is interesting to me. I know what it looks like to acknowledge someone. You make eye contact with them and give them a head nod. It’s showing that you see the person. I think this is part of acknowledging God; showing Him you see Him. You see Him in everything you do and everything you are. Whether you had a good day or bad day, acknowledging that you know He is with you is so important. However, I think this idea needs to be taken a step further. We need to know God. As I mentioned before, knowing Him makes it easier to trust Him as well as leaning on His understanding. The more we know Him, the more we communicate with Him, the stronger our relationship with Him will be.
Knowing God is key in having a relationship with Him. There are definitely pillars to getting to know Him; prayer, reading the Bible, going to church. I do believe, though, you need to find the best way to know God, to connect with God. The more we connect with Him, the more you build trust, the less you lean on our understanding, and the more we acknowledge Him in everything you do. On that note I have one more exercise for you. Think about your favorite thing in the entire world. Is it a place on the beach? Is it a chair? Is it the idea of love or understanding? Is it music? Is it a forest? Give some time to think about this. And no, your answer cannot be “God”, “Jesus”, or the “Holy Spirit”. After thinking about this question, know this: your answer is how you best connect with God. Go connect with God, get to know Him today.