I am a man. This fact was announced on the day of my birth by the doctor who delivered me before placing me in my mother’s waiting arms. The fact that I am a man has been reinforced all of my life in many ways. It was decidedly set in stone though the first time I became lost while driving and someone suggested we stop and ask for directions. In that moment my manhood was secured as I defiantly said “No, I’ll find the way”.
This might be humorous, except that it is the condition of all men, and in fact (sorry ladies)…all mankind. We all think that we can find our way. From our youth we are taught that we should try to do things for ourselves. Psychologically speaking, we all trust our instincts on some level, and in a way that’s not a bad thing. If there were no trust in ourselves, our experiences, and our perceived expertise, we would likely never try anything. However, if further proof is needed that this is in fact the human condition, I submit the following…men simply won’t stop and ask for directions, no matter how lost they may be.
The Bible points out this may not be the best strategy however. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV) read as follows, Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
The first notable phrase from this scripture is “Trust in the Lord with all your heart”. What does this mean? It may seem obvious but as with most of God’s Word, it has depth far below the surface of the words themselves. When we trust in the Lord with all our heart, we are eliminating our trust in all others including ourselves as this scripture goes on to note as a necessary component. Why should we trust in God? One incredibly viable reason is His omniscience. The fact that He knows all, and we do not is reason enough. We often think we know what is best for ourselves, don’t we? We decide what will be the best course of action and then we pray and ask God to follow our prescription, and we call that trust. That however is not trusting in the Lord it is in fact simply trusting in ourselves…and in a sense asking Him to do the same by requesting that He enact our will. Something seems backward there. This very verse continues to instruct us that we might avoid that particular error. “And lean not on your own understanding”. As I stated, we often think we know what is best for us. I ask this question however, based on what? Our limited view and understanding of the situation or circumstance? As noted earlier, it is God who knows all. It is us who knows only what we can see…and we are instructed elsewhere in scripture not to walk by sight, but by faith. The word leaning here infers supporting oneself, much like you would lean on a cane or a walking stick. And the choices are a thin broken twig or a strong time-tested staff. Our choice, but only one is wise.
The second verse goes on to say, “In all your ways acknowledge Him”. The Hebrew word we translate to ‘acknowledge’ is ‘yada’ and means to know. This verse could be read then to say, In everything you do, know God and He will guide you. The first important thing to know about God is that He is God and we are not. It is His direction we need to seek, not His endorsement of our direction. Another important thing to know about God is that He is for us, trying to guide us into His best for our lives. Many times He directs or guides by allowing or not allowing certain of our plans to come to fruition. We however are often so heavily invested in leaning on our own understanding that we look at His guiding as positive if He allows us what we want, and negative if He does not. If we desire a certain outcome and God ‘says no’ we see that as a negative thing rather than simply direction. We must come to an understanding that a yes or a no from God is no different than a left or right from someone we seek to show us which way to go. Both are simply guidance, the very thing we say we desire.
God says in His Word that He has plans for us, plans that are for our blessing, not our harm. They are His plans for us, not ours. He is God, we are not. He is the guide, we are the ones needing direction. Our part is to know Him…trust Him…then follow Him.
So now, trusting Him, go be awesome