When making decisions, choosing God’s way leads us on the path of wisdom. We need God for everything including His wisdom and power to make wise choices.
Trusting in God
In the biblical book of Proverbs, chapter 3, verses 5 and 6 are popular in the Christian faith. When things are tough, people often quote them as a way of trusting God. Those verses are a source of comfort when Christians are going through a situation they don’t understand. The wisdom in Proverbs 3:5-6 is necessary for every situation you face in life.
Solomon, the wisest man in the Bible, advised his son to live a life of trust in Yahweh. Solomon had found that God was worthy to be trusted. It is our nature to put our trust in something or someone, even if it is ourselves. Solomon told us to consciously put our trust in the LORD, the covenant God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
In the immediate context of Proverb 3:5-6 there is Solomon (the author) writing about peace being the benefit of wise living. As Solomon wraps up this section, he appeals to seek wisdom and a plea to “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” This is how we can live at peace when we do what God says is best rather than what we think is best.
We are to trust God with all our hearts and not depend on what we know. At all times, we should include God in everything we do. This way, we give God a chance to keep us on the right track. You may not always know what lies ahead.
The Hebrew word translated as “trust” in Proverbs 3:5 means “to lie helpless, facedown.” It pictures a servant waiting for the master’s command in readiness to obey, or a defeated soldier yielding himself to the conquering general.1
To better understand the meaning of Proverbs 3:5-6 and what it means for us today break these two verses into four sections.
- The meaning of Trust In The Lord With All Your Heart
- The meaning of Lean Not On Your Own Understanding
- The meaning of In All Your Ways Submit To Him
- The meaning of He Will Make Your Paths Straight
Trust In The Lord
The word “trust” here implies both the decision to trust God and also a commitment to creating a habit of trusting. Simply put, trusting in God isn’t just a decision we make in our heads. That’s the first step. But we have to follow it up with action.
When you first follow Christ, you are deciding to trust God. Following that decision comes a commitment to follow through. This means that throughout our daily lives, we are actively placing our trust in God.
But placing our trust in God is something that we have to learn. In each situation that comes our way, we have to learn to take it and place it in God’s hands.
The word “heart” describes the extent to which we are to trust in God. This word indicates the center of our being. In other words, we are to trust God with everything we are and everything we have. No exceptions.
Christians trusting in the Lord with all their hearts means that they have placed their hopes in Christ alone. Nothing else. No one else.
We need God for everything including His wisdom and power to make wise choices.
Trusting God in all things is a foundational precept. Faith in the Word of God is His will for each of our lives. Trusting God unreservedly is the Centre and circumference of all wisdom because He is the beginning and the end of all knowledge. It is the wellspring of light, life, love, and hope. Having faith in God is the fountainhead of all that is good – and it pleases our heavenly Father. Without faith, it is impossible to please Him.
Trusting the Lord with all of our heart is a positive and beneficial duty.
- It negates the elements of fear and doubt,
- holds us firm in life’s storms and stresses,
- and it replaces self-confidence with a trusting “God-confidence.”
Trusting the Lord with all our heart is to set aside our own desires and imaginings to do His will. It replaces and strengthens:
- and self-centeredness.
Trusting the Lord is to believe His Word and to live by the knowledge that His Word is true and altogether perfect.
is Word (The Holy Bible). God expects an intelligent response to the promises He has given us. He expects us to display a whole-hearted, conscious dependence upon all He has said – without doubt or distrust, without fear or misgivings.
How To Trust In The Lord
To meaningfully apply Proverbs 3:5-6, give your worries to God. In 1 Peter 5:7, Peter tells us to “cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” This incredible promise is a great way to actively trust in God.
Whenever something worrisome comes up, give it to God. Big, small, or somewhere in between, you can cast it upon God. You can trust in the Lord by giving him all your anxieties
Seven daily steps to trust in the Lord with all your heart:
- Don’t Depend on You. We live in a world where trust must be earned and seems to be in short supply.
- Cry out to God.
- Run from Evil.
- Put God First in Your Life.
- Check Yourself by God’s Word.
- Listen to the Holy Spirit.
- Rest in God’s Love.
Trust With All Your Heart
The world has taught us that we are very capable of handling anything that comes our way. Many of those methods don’t include the power of God. As a child of God, Christians put their trust in Him instead of the many ways of the world.
When you trust in God with all your heart, you leave no room for doubt. You believe what He says because you know He is always right and will never deceive you. God sees the bigger picture and therefore knows what lies ahead of you and what you don’t see. Trust in God in every situation and relationship in your life.
Trusting God comes naturally when you know Him and how He works. It’s hard to trust someone you don’t know and can’t rely on. God is trustworthy and faithful and has proven Himself throughout the Bible. When you spend time reading the scriptures, you will discern God and His ways and be familiar with His will.
God expects that you will trust Him with all your heart, not just a part of it. When we don’t trust Him wholeheartedly, we question His abilities and tuck in a Plan B, just in case He doesn’t come through. Put your complete trust in God knowing He won’t let you down.
Even those who do not trust God at all, don’t do things alone. They stand with one foot on a rock and another foot on quicksand. They might sink and perish as certainly as they stand with both feet on quicksand.
Connect With God Regularly
Trust is built over time. It’s built by taking steps of faith unsure if God will come through. And with each step that trust is built. To build that trust you need to connect with God regularly (not just one hour, once a week). There is no other way to grow your trust in God other than spending time with him.
Follow God’s Wisdom
The world around us is constantly bombarding us with its wisdom and telling us what to think and do. And many Christians listen more to the world’s wisdom than to God’s. Followers of Jesus should trust that, even when it doesn’t make sense, God’s wisdom is best. His way is the only way to the life He promised us.
Be patient, there’s purpose in the process. The waiting seasons are never wasted seasons. God is doing something. Even when we can’t see it, God is working. Trusting in God means that we wait patiently on him.
With All Your Heart
Trusting God with all our hearts is troublesome for those that fear there is some part of their heart that is not truly trusting God. We may sympathize with this concern, knowing that as imperfect people it is impossible for us to trust in the LORD perfectly. In principle, most gather that Proverbs 3:5-6 does not describe an objectively perfect trust in God, but a heart and life that does not consciously reject or defy God with unbelief. We as imperfect people might sympathize with the imperfect trust in God.
But what Solomon intended to describe is a trust with all your heart. It is a childlike, unwavering confidence in our Father’s well-proved wisdom, faithfulness, and love.
If trust in God is to be true, it must be complete. To put half our trust in God and half our trust in self or something else is actually a failure to trust the LORD at all. We should endeavor to give God all our conscious trust.
Trust and Lean
The wisest man who ever lived (Solomon) advised his sons to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding,” and his prudent advice is something we should all seek to consciously follow, today, as a matter of will.
Trusting God with all our heart means deciding to put away our own understanding and instead choosing to trust God and His understanding, especially as declared in His word.
The concept of “trusting” and “leaning” have similar meanings, but differ. To trust means to put yourself fully at the mercy of another. To lean is not simply reclining against, but relying on something for support to stay upright.
u are commanded to depend on GOD, not on yourself.
Self-sufficiency and self-dependence have been the ruin of mankind ever since the fall of Adam. The greatest sin of the human race is their continuous endeavor to live independently of God.
Lean Not On Your Own Understanding
Not leaning on your own understanding, or not leaning on a broken crutch, means that God knows the way and we don’t. At times Christians can’t figure things out on their own and have no answers. Then we must acknowledge Jesus as Lord of all the accidents and incidents of life.
Even after placing our trust in God, we will be tempted to resort back to our old way of living: leaning on our own understanding.
Many Christians still lean on their own wisdom even though they’ve declared they trust in God. The problem is you can’t do both. You can’t say you trust in God if you haven’t let go of everything. After all, we aren’t called to trust God with SOME or MOST, but rather with ALL our heart.
Many times, we try to figure things out in a situation and yet we don’t always have all the information. The second part of verse 5 tells us not to depend on our understanding of things because we could be wrong. You may have misinterpreted someone’s words or underestimated a certain danger or threat.
We love being in control and tend to stay away from anything that makes us lose our grasp of any situation. That is why Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still,” meaning that we should stop striving to do things in our own strength.
Let go of your ideas or inventions, and allow the wisdom of God to prevail. Your opinion should not rank higher than what our God says because you don’t always know the whole truth about something. You have to let go of what you think you know so that God can show you the truth. You may have biased opinions based on false beliefs. God has given us the Spirit of truth – the Holy Spirit – to show us the truth in every situation we face.
In all your ways acknowledge Him: Trusting God with all our heart means honoring and acknowledging Him in all that we do. It is the choice to “invite” God into our everyday life and conduct. It is to practice the presence of God in the regular and sometimes mundane things that happen every day.
In ALL your ways, not some, but ALL your ways, submit to him.
In Proverbs 3:6 Solomon chooses the word “submit” or “acknowledge” rather than trust. This word means to be in fellowship with God and not just a causal relationship. This means that we obey God’s direction and rules for our life.
Proverbs 3:6 urges us to involve God in all our ways and this way, we give Him a chance to direct our steps in the right direction. The Christian life is one that you live in surrender to the Lord.
He shall direct your paths
This is the great principle of God’s response toward those who trust Him in the way described above. When we acknowledge Him in our ways, He will direct our paths in the fulfillment of His will, into what is right before Him and pleasing to us.
He Will Make Your Paths Straight
Verses 5-6 ends with a promise. If we trust in God. If we lean not our own understanding. If we submit to God. THEN he will make our paths straight.
The reality is when we trust in ourselves and lean on our own wisdom, it doesn’t work out so well for us. It never leads to the life we hoped it would. Lasting joy can only be found in God.
Be careful. Prosperity-Gospel teachers have taken this to mean that those who trust God will have a good life by the world’s standards. We need only to look at Jesus’ life and what He went through to know that’s not the case.
Proverbs 3:5-6 meaning isn’t that everything will always work out in our favor if we trust God. Sometimes we will face difficulties and go down dark and difficult paths as part of following Jesus.
Our limited understanding can make it seem like the trials of this life mean God isn’t in control or good. But what Proverbs 3:5-6 is communicating is that what appears to be right at the moment, isn’t always the case. And what appears to be doom and gloom at the moment can be used for good if we trust God
Remember, “all things work together for the good of those who trust God (Romans 8:28).” The Bible doesn’t promise us an easy life. Rather it promises us that God is with us and one day we will be able to see the full picture. Our paths might not appear straight in our finite view of things. But for those who trust in the Lord, He is guiding us and one day we will see the fullness of what He has done.
Consider Verses 5 and 6 Together
To better understand, and explain, Proverbs 3:5-6 we have to consider the two verses together. This gives the context of the message they convey to the reader. Though simple, these two Bible verses are power-packed and deliver a hard-hitting message. That if you trust in the Lord instead of your human wisdom, God will show you the right path to take.
Rather than looking for wisdom within ourselves or this world, followers of Jesus need only look to God.
The general application of these verses is that in any given situation, trust Our Lord because He knows what to do. You don’t always know what to do, and relying on your wisdom or intelligence will mislead you. When you involve God in every action step you take to rectify a situation, you will arrive at the right solution.
This passage is familiar to many and is one of the most quoted verses in the Bible.
One of the most frequently asked questions among believers is, “How can I know the will of God?” In principle, Solomon gave a wonderful answer in Proverbs 3:5-6. When we:
- Decide to put our trust in the LORD.
- Decide to not trust in our own understanding, but give attention and priority to God’s revealed word.
- Decide to acknowledge and honor God in all that we do.
When we do those things, we can trust that God will direct our paths.
If you trust in the Lord instead of your human wisdom, God will show you the right path to take. We can go forward in peace, believing that through His word, through the leading of the Holy Spirit, through the counsel of others, through godly common sense, and through life circumstances, God will direct our paths. We will walk our way of life and come to see that we have been on the path God intended all along.
Rather than looking for wisdom within ourselves, or this world, followers of Jesus need only look to God. In any given situation, trust Our Lord because He knows what to do. You don’t always know what to do, and relying on your wisdom or intelligence will mislead you. When you involve God in every action step you take to rectify a situation, you will arrive at the right solution.
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In conclusion, consider what the Daily Bread email message sent on 3/25/2023 says,
Proverbs 3:5, 6 – 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. (NASB)
When God blocks an opportunity, He has a reason that may be beyond your understanding. Christians in a period of watchful waiting should view such a situation as a chance to seek not only God’s purpose but also His guidance. This is the time to ask the Lord why He has barred the way forward — perhaps the timing is wrong, perhaps we need to deal with unconfessed sin, or perhaps He has a better idea.
Whatever the reason, we must be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading. We want to be ready for the door that will open. He is providing love and protection, even in the disappointment. The Lord is also keeping His promise to work everything for your good (Romans 8:28). When one door has closed, a greater one is about to open; be wise and watch for it.
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- Wirsebe, Be Skillful: God’s Guide to Wise Thinking, The Wiersbe Bible Study Series: Proverbs (Colorado Springs, CO: David C Cook, 1/1/2009), pg. 8.