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Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; Proverbs 3.5

Last time I showed you the verse above and asked you a bunch of questions to think about. I thought about them too. Here’s my answers… I may not always live them perfectly, but at least having a plan gets you headed in the right direction. Considering Proverbs 3:5, I asked these qeustions about it:

When do we trust in the Lord and not lean on our own understanding?

All the time obviously, but epsecially when we THINK we have it all figured out. In fact, I would say that the most dangerous circumstance is when we are SURE our own understanding is doing JUST FINE. You know, the “pride goes before the fall” type of thing?

When things are bad? Really bad? Tragically bad?

Of course leaning on God when times are bad is just plain smart. It helps us to have an objective way to make decision, fend off fear and battle confusion. The worse the situation, the greater the need to lean on God, not yourself. However, I don’t want that statement to leave you with the impression it’s LESS important when things aren’t bad. It’s just harder for us sometimes to see through the fog of hard times, put our own understanding aside and trust in God.

When we’ve tried everything else? When our first reactions and instincts proved ineffective?

We often don’t turn to God until we’ve exhausted all our own efforts. How exhausting. We have to train ourselves and condition ourselves to immediately, instinctively and proactively turn to God FIRST rather than using Hiim as a last resort.

As we grow in maturity and discernment, we actually learn to use our understanding, reactions and instincts totally in line with trusting God with all our heart. Our own understanding becomes a TOOL of God’s will and guidance… so it is not a DISMISSAL of our God-given understanding, but a conditioning of it to cooperate with and be subordinate to God’s direction and correction.

When we’ve exhausted the opinions of friends and family?

Hopefully we learn quickly that the advice of friends and family is only as good as their walk with God. Sometimes we seek their advice because what we really want is some empathy and compassion. Learn to know the difference.

When we are reminded? When others think we are making the wrong choices? When we are sure?

There’s nothing wrong with having to be reminded. Ideally we immediately turn to God but if not, a good reminder is handy. Of course this is only useful if we have the type of spirit and humility that will LISTEN to a reminder. Often our pride causes us to be offended or defensive rather than receptive. Are you the type of person who can accept a reminder to jump off your own wagon and get on to God’s cart?

As part of our own understanding? A little part? Just a little?

Do we trust God just enough to make up for where we fall short? Obviously not… that’s a recipe for frustration. We should fully trust God subordination our understanding completely to God’s will and direction.

None of our understanding? None at all? Or when ours isn’t good enough, strong enough, sure enough, cool enough, politically correct enough, popular enough or enough of enough? Do we employ our ability to understand at all?

This is important… God created us with understanding and the ability to think. So we are not to switch our brains off and ignore “our own understanding”. It’s not a question of NOT using your understanding, it’s a question of what has highest priority and authority in your life? Do we “trust” ourselves and our own reasoning, or trust God to direct and shape our understanding?

So what’s my point? First, that we really stop and think about what our first reaction is: lean on our own understanding? Or trust in the Lord? Second, are we doing anything to actively teach and train ourselves to routinely trust the Lord in all things, disciplining our understanding to be cooperative with and subordinate to God’s wisdom?

Lord God, help us to figure out what it means to ‘lean not on our own understanding’. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)
  1. What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
  2. What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
  3. What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?