Tuesday, May 1, 2018


Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
 and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.

                Sometime in my youth I latched onto Proverbs 3:5-6 as my life verse. I do not remember the exact circumstances. It may have been prompted by someone telling me I needed a life verse. (I was very compliant) Whatever the reason was that I landed on this passage, it has stayed with me. I have tried all of my life to follow Christ’s lead as I have navigated my life journey.

                The NIV translates the last line as “he will make your paths straight.” I can tell you that my journey has been anything but straight. I actually first memorized these verses in the King James version of the Bible. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. I can honestly say that God has directed my path, even though, at the time, I was pretty confused about where that path would lead me. I think both translations of these verses uncover some significant truths about this life journey we are on.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
                I have read that one of the hardest things for new pilots to do is to trust their instruments. One of those instruments is called the artificial horizon. It is designed to help a pilot keep the plane flying right side up and level. Pilots can lose their orientation when they get above the clouds and cannot see the ground. Their feelings tell them that they are upside down when in fact they are right side up. They have to learn to trust the artificial horizon.

                In a similar way, there are many times in life when we lose our perspective. Circumstances cloud our vision and we panic. We want to take control, but often we mess things up. It is in those cloudy times that we need to exercise trust the most. When everything within us is telling us differently, we need to trust that God does know what is best.

 and lean not on your own understanding;
                Have you ever fought with your GPS. I have. I know where I want to go, so I put the information into the GPS and it gives me “the best” way to get there. In places where I am already familiar, I will often disagree with the GPS and ignore it. My route may not be the best or the fastest, but it is the one I am most comfortable with.

                There are situations where I have to trust the GPS completely, because I am in totally unfamiliar territory. Even when the route that the GPS picks for me doesn’t feel right, I have to follow. In the majority of cases, it works out. I have had a couple of cases where the GPS deposited in the wrong place.

                Following Christ is like following a perfect GPS. He knows the journey before me, with exacting detail. I only have a vague idea of which way I should head. I roughly know the destination, but I am unclear about all the twists and turns. If I depend on my understanding, I will get lost.

in all your ways acknowledge him,
                I think, in this context, acknowledge means submit to His authority. We all struggle with authority from time to time. Some of us are openly rebellious, while others are cooperative on the outside while rebelling on the inside. To acknowledge Jesus’ authority in our lives is more than outward conformity. It is yielding both our actions and our attitudes to Christ.

                The Apostle Paul puts this idea into a positive light in Colossians 3:17. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. This is another verse that I have added to my mental file cabinet. It wipes away the false divide between sacred and secular and makes all of life an act of worship. Every aspect of our life needs to come under Christ’s authority. This is not a burden, but a blessing. When we see how God has gifted us and how He works in us and through us, we can be filled with joy and gratitude.

and he will make your paths straight. (he shall direct thy paths)
                This last line is very important to me. Here is where the two different translations add depth and breadth to the meaning of the text. I originally thought of this line as meaning that God would clear the way for me and make life easy. Boy was I wrong!

                My journey with Christ has been anything but easy or straight, but I can say, without a doubt, that God has directed all of the way. I have come to understand that, if I trust God, He will direct my path. I have also come to realize that the straight path is not the easy path. The straight path, meaning the path Christ wants me to follow, will lead me into challenges and obstacles that need to be confronted and dealt with.  If I will trust Him, He will not only lead me into these difficult situations, but He will lead me through them to the other side. At the time, these situations will not feel pleasant or easy, but God wants to use them to refine and strengthen my faith. As Peter says, These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:7)

                When I take a trip, I like to have things planned out in advance. I like to have a clear map that shows me, in detail, how to get to where I want to go. On this journey of faith with Christ, there is no map. Instead, what we have is a guide. Instead of giving us a detailed map of the journey, Jesus simply says, “Follow me.”

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