Trust in the Lord (Proverbs 3:5-6)

In our study of the book of Proverbs, we reach a set of rather well-known verses. At some point in my life, I committed these to memory and they have never faded. There are many people who would recognise these, but I wonder how many actually put them into practice?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;

    do not depend on your own understanding.

6 Seek his will in all you do,

    and he will show you which path to take.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT)

Trust

It seems obvious that Christians should trust the Lord, and if you asked them, then I guess most would say they do. Sometimes though, our actions betray that we do not really trust Him. Worry, for example, is a clear indication that we are not fully trusting in the Lord. When we worry, we are not acting in faith but rehearsing all the things that might go wrong. If we cannot trust God enough not to worry about a minor problem we have, then how can we trust Him for eternal salvation?

If we cannot #trust #God enough not to #worry about a minor problem we have, then how can we trust Him for eternal #salvation? #Bible #Wisdom #Jesus

A few days ago, some Christian friends and I were discussing persecution and even martyrdom. There are Christians in this world who face death simply for acknowledging Jesus as Lord. Yet we crumble if someone makes fun of us for our faith, or merely laughs at us.

If we really trust Him, then we must trust Him even unto death itself. That is surely the point of our faith?

All Your Heart

As we trust in God, we do not do so in a small way. We cannot partially trust Him! Instead, we must trust Him fully and completely, with all of our heart.

Our hearts must not be divided. We should not say we trust in God, but then have a backup plan.

In what ways do you find it difficult to trust God? Is it with your health, your family, your career or something else? Whatever it may be, you can rely on God. The Bible is full of promises which you can build your trust upon. Dig into that Word and strengthen your faith by storing those promises deep within your heart. Not every promise is for the here and now, but a day will come when every Word God has spoken will be fulfilled – in this life or the next.

God is not a man that He should lie, and every single thing He has said will be proved true.

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? Num 23:19 #Bible

Leave any doubts behind, and follow Him with all of your heart. You can fully rely on Him and what He has promised.

Lean Not On Your Own Understanding

Verse five tells us not just to trust God, but to lean not on our own understanding. To put it another way, we must not reason or use our own thinking to determine our path. I do want to be careful here, as clearly we have a brain and God intended us to use it. The difference is though that we are not to pursue it if it contradicts what God is telling us.

Take giving for an example. Our brains would tell us that to give is to have less. The Bible, and therefore God, tells us that if we give, it will be given back to us – a good measure, pressed down and shaken together (Luke 6:37). If we think and our understanding says, do not give, then we should dismiss it and instead follow the command of the Lord.

Our understanding will always be limited, because we are limited and sinful beings. God’s understanding is complete, because He knows the end from the beginning, and we would do well to defer to His judgement instead of our own.

Seek and Acknowledge

6 Seek his will in all you do,

    and he will show you which path to take.

Proverbs 3:6 (NLT(

Verse six, rendered here from the New Living Translation, advises us to seek God’s will. In the New International Version, it is instead telling us to acknowledge God. These two translations paint slightly different pictures, and yet both are extremely helpful and powerful advice.

Seek God’s will in your life, and not your own. Do not simply live your life in whatever way you see fit, but instead, put God in charge and follow Him. Do not merely follow Him in word only, but let your deeds show that you are directed by God, not your feelings, dreams or wants.

Acknowledging God is to consider Him in all that you do. It means when you go to work, you recognise that God goes with you. When you go shopping, you do so aware of the Lord’s presence. It is really about doing life with God. We do not simply call on Him on a Sunday morning, but live with Him throughout the week.

All You Do

Verse six says to acknowledge God, or to seek Him, in all that we do. As above, this means that whatever it is you do, do it all unto the Lord. God is not reserved for only the spiritual aspects of life, but for the entire thing. God wants to be involved in your every day, no matter if you are doing DIY, running errands or watching TV.

In fact, acknowledging God is all you do means that it will be far more difficult for you to step into sin. Imagine walking down the street with the physical Jesus by your side. If temptation came your way, it would be far easier to avoid it with Jesus stood right there. Even though the physical Jesus is not walking alongside us, the Holy Spirit is. He is every bit as real and present as a physical being, but He is easier for us to ignore. Let us not ignore Him! Let each of us constantly remind ourselves of His presence with us, and we will say no to sin when it comes our way.

The Result

Trusting in the Lord with all of our hearts, and leaning not on our understanding. Acknowledging Him in all we do, and seeking His will for our lives will result in what exactly? In God showing us which path to take!

This is no small outcome. Each and every day we face choices, and to the best of our abilities we try to make right ones. Imagine how different our lives would be if we knew for sure which road to choose. God, if we trust Him fully and completely, will guide us. That will lead to success (God’s kind, not the world’s kind).

If you want to succeed in this life and the next, then there is only one way to achieve it. Trust. Trust in the Lord this day, and forever more!

Plan Ahead

A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions.

    The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.

Proverbs 22:3 (NLT)

We take a little break from our series on Psalm 100, and turn to look at one of the proverbs today.

As a rule, I try to read a chapter of Proverbs every day. It is something I heard of a while back – that there are enough chapters of Proverbs to reach one each day of the month, namely 31. You read chapter one on the first of the month, chapter two on the second, and so on. It is the 22nd May today, and this particular verse nudged me.

Proverbs is frequently comparing the actions of the wise with the actions of the foolish. A wise person does one thing, while the fool does something quite the opposite. The same is true here.

A prudent (or wise) person sees danger coming, and makes preparation to either avoid or suppress it. The foolish person however, charges straight into its path.

On a practical level, there is much we can apply to our own lives. It is wise to save for a rainy day, or to address the blinking red engine light on your car’s dashboard before you see smoke in the rear view. When we see a sign that says, “Icy road ahead,” it is a good idea to slow down or find an alternative route.

There are many examples we could look at here. What might be on your horizon that you need to prepare for? If you already know it is coming, then don’t put off getting ready. Act today to make sure when that “thing” comes, whatever it may be, you are well prepared to deal with it.

In the same chapter of Proverbs, we read:

The lazy person claims, “There’s a lion out there!

    If I go outside, I might be killed!”

Proverbs 22:13 (NLT)

This is quite the imagery, and not immediately obvious perhaps. It is astonishing at times, the excuses you hear from people who are just trying to get out of something. I have seen individuals spend enormous amounts of energy trying to avoid something, far more energy than it would have taken to just do the thing in the first place. Here, we see someone who doesn’t want to go outside, and perhaps does not wish to leave their warm bed. Instead of crying wolf, they cry “lion!”

It is all too easy to put off preparing for the future. When we are in our twenties, saving for a pension may not seem all that important, but of course we hear many stories of those who left it too late. When we see danger ahead of us, we must take necessary action.

But what about when we do not see it coming? What if all seems well and we do not know what is around the next corner?

What if you had a friend who could somehow warn you of what is ahead? That would be truly wonderful!

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

John 16:13 (NKJV)

Here we read that the Holy Spirit will tell you of the things that are to come. We can draw on this revelation knowledge and be pre-warned of things that we need to prepare for. These may be dangers of course, but they may also be opportunities.

I want to be so close to God the Spirit that I hear Him directing me. I want to be in the exact place He wants me to be. If there is a chance for me to serve Him in some way, then I want to be prepared to do that.

Join with me in praying that the Spirit of Christ will guide us:

Holy Spirit, we thank You that You are our Advocate, Helper and Friend. May You guide us in all things, showing us the things that are to come so that we might be ready. If there is danger up ahead, we pray that You would help us avoid it, if it be Your will. If there are opportunities to minister Your grace, please give us the words we need to share Your truth. Above all, help us to draw ever closer to You in worship and prayer, and that through Your guidance, You may be truly glorified in our lives. In the Name of Jesus, Amen!

Thanks so much for reading today.

Praying in the Moment

We sometimes think of prayer as an activity – a spiritual discipline if you like – which we may do for a certain length of time. Yet, the Apostle Paul encourages us to:

pray without ceasing,

1 Thessalonians 5:17 (ESV)

So how do we do that? Are we to quit our jobs and just spend our entire lives praying? I do not think so. In fact, I think Paul was instructing us to pray in the moment, while doing whatever other activities we needed to do.

Nehemiah did this.

In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence. 2 And the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of the heart.” Then I was very much afraid. 3 I said to the king, “Let the king live forever! Why should not my face be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ graves, lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” 4 Then the king said to me, “What are you requesting?” So I prayed to the God of heaven. 5 And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ graves, that I may rebuild it.”

Nehemiah 2:1-5 (ESV)

There is much going on here, so I will try to explain. These events occur after the nation of Israel has been led into captivity. Nehemiah is essentially asking to return and begin to rebuild the city of Jerusalem.

He appears before the king to serve him yet clearly the king recognises that Nehemiah is sad. Nehemiah is afraid because you dare not appear before the king with a downcast face. You could lose your head for such a thing!

The king questions Nehemiah, and he shares the reason for his sadness. In verse 4, the king asks what he wants. What does Nehemiah do? He does not blurt out his request, but instead it tells us he prays first. Clearly he did not stand there and hold a prayer evening before making the request. He has only a split second before answering the king. His prayer cannot have been more than a simple “Help me!”

There are definitely times when we need to dedicate a set amount of time to God in prayer. But there are also times when we need to pray in the moment, and simply ask for help.

How much trouble could be avoid if we do this? Imagine the time and energy we could save, or the pain we could avoid, if we just took a moment to pray before opening our mouths. Think of the bullets we could dodge by just asking God what He thinks before we commit and make a decision.

I’ll tell you a silly story, but hope it illustrates the point.

Many years ago, I bought a CD… That alone should tell you how long ago it was! I hope no one reading this does not know what a CD is…!

Anyway, as I was waiting in line to pay for the CD, I got a sense that I shouldn’t buy it. Not that it was sinful but just a gentle nudge inside. I ignored it. And do you know, I never once enjoyed listening to that CD? I recognise now that God was trying to tell me that in advance. if only I had followed Nehemiah’s example and just checked in with God first. I could have saved the money and not wasted the time.

What decisions do you make without praying about them first? Now you have a brain and God wants us to use it. No need to pray about whether you should get and go to work, as that’s a given. But we make a mistake thinking we know it all and can run our lives better than God can.

Pray in the moment. If you are in a conversation which is in danger of becoming an argument, take a moment to pray before you say the next thing which may inflame things.

Pray without ceasing. That does not mean pray instead of doing other things, but while doing other things. The Holy Spirit lives inside of us and wants to be our Guide throughout life. He won’t shout or raise His voice over the din of our everyday lives, so we need to take moments to check in with Him and listen.

What traps or trouble might you avoid today by doing this? Ask the Holy Spirit to remind you continually to pray, and offer up prayers in the moments of your day.