At the beginning of 2018, I prayed that God would lead me to a verse that would be my verse for the year. Instantly, He brought Proverbs 3:5-6 to mind, but I didn’t want that verse. Please don’t take this the wrong way, but it just seemed cheesy and over-used. Everybody – believer or not – held on to that verse.
I wanted a verse that was better than that. I wanted a verse that showed just how deep my relationship with God was and I wanted a verse that showed how well I knew the Bible. You know like, oh, here is my verse for the year. Oh, you have never read this verse. Yes, God led me right to it and I knew it was just for me. I wanted that kind of verse.
Obviously, I really didn’t have my priorities straight in my year’s verse and maybe I also needed a little lesson in humility, but God – in his grace – said this is it. This is your verse.
And man, I have been thankful for that. Many nights I have fallen asleep to that verse on repeat in my head because I was too afraid of my own thoughts. And many times I have broken down that verse, phrase by phrase, thought and prayed over the meaning and then looked to see how it applied to my life.
So that is what I am going to do today. I am going to break apart this verse and share with you what it really means. Essentially, it is a verse map coming alive. I want to examine how we can live this verse.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart…
This sounds pretty straight forward right. Trust in the Lord. Christitain 101. We got it. But, do we? The verse says trust in the Lord with ALL your heart. ALL. Not some and not half way. And biblically speaking with all your heart is not just a figure of speech. It means with your entire soul and entire body. In other words, trust God with everything in your life and with every aspect of who you are. Nothing is left out.
But it’s not just about putting our trust in the Lord, it’s also about not putting our trust in other things. Sometimes without even realizing it, we are misplacing our trust. Do you put your trust in your bank account? Sure I am all good to trust the Lord until my balance drops below a certain level. Do you put your trust in other people? As long as my spouse or children are healthy, then I am good. Do we put our trust in ourselves? As long as I am in control, then I know it will work out (guilty). I also tend to put my trust in my interpretation of a situation, which is the last thing that needs to happen, but we will get to that in a minute.
As we trust in the Lord, we are relying on His wisdom and power and goodness. We recognize that He can handle it all. We also must believe that He is able and that He is doing His best. We cannot doubt God’s ways.
I won’t ever forget what Angie Smith said in her Bible study Seamless, “… either He loves me or He doesn’t. Either He is good or He is not. I decided to believe God is good, and He loves me. It wasn’t a decision based on emotion or shallow hope – it was, quite simply, the only place I found safe enough to rest my weary bones.” And that is how we should understand it. We have to believe either God is for us or He is not. There is not in-between.
And once you make the decision to believe God is for you, then we have to own it. We cannot waver. We need the sweet, childlike faith that knows our trust is put in a sure foundation, that our trust in put in the ruler of the universe who also loves us dearly.
And lean not on your own understanding;
Our own understanding… We really seem to love that, don’t we?!? I mean, we jump to conclusions, pass judgments, and make quick decisions, all based on our own understanding. I will let my own understand haunt me into the wee hours of the night.
We draw conclusions based on our limited perceptions, our tainted realities, and that is where we place our confidence. No wonder we get up hurt and disappointed. Honestly, we don’t have the power to always understand right and wrong. That is God’s job. So why do we act like we do?
Why do we trust in our limited understanding when we can trust in an unlimited God? This is when we become heartbroken. It is not God doing this. It is us. Trying to understand. Lacking faith. We have to stop putting our confidence in us – or the world – or anything but God and begin working under God and His blessings.
He wants grateful submission. He wants our trust. He wants us to have faith in Him. It never says He wants our understanding – not on our own account. If we are going to lean, we better make sure it is on God’s wisdom and not our own.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
What does that look like? Acknowledging God in everything? Always making a point to recognize Him in every situation… When we are cut off in traffic – acknowledge God. When the kid spills an entire carton of milk – acknowledge God. When the doctor calls back – acknowledge God. When the boss calls you into her office – acknowledge God.
But that is not all our ways. We need to learn to acknowledge God in everything. Brushing our teeth, washing dishes, watching television, reading Facebook – in everything. We need to always have God in view and realize He is ever present. Not just for accountability, but for wisdom and comfort and direction. From the tiny everyday tasks to the huge challenging decisions, we need to walk after the Spirit, searching for answers – not from us – but from God.
He shall direct your paths.
Now, when I thought about the phrase he shall direct your paths, I thought that would mean that I would know my path. I would know where I am headed at all times. You know, like Google Maps for my life. Maybe even some super cool angel voice is the one telling me to act here and wait there.
But that is not the case at all. Yes, God will direct our path when we choose to trust in Him. However, we may not always know our path until we turn around and see our footprints. At times God reveals His will to us, but other times He keeps it a secret. For whatever reason, it is best that we don’t know what He has planned for us. Maybe the road is too hard and He knows we will choose differently or maybe it requires a great deal of courage and He knows we would chicken out. Our all-knowing God knows that sometimes we just don’t need to see that path ahead.
Nonetheless, we can always count one thing. If God is directing our path, it will be good – as in meeting His approval.
In my ladies Bible study, one wise member made this point: All the people of the Bible are no different than us. We read their stories in awe, as if they are Biblical superheroes that we will never be, but that is not it at all. They are just like us and we are just like them. Only we see that they took this verse to heart. They trusted God with everything and He directed their paths – in awesome ways!
Our story may not ever be recorded in some timeless book, but it is no less significant. We can have those supernatural stories of the Bible if we truly live out this verse. If we focus on the truth and promises of this book, then we can transform our lives.