“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.” – Proverbs 3:5-6
There are famous quotes from classic novels that are remembered perhaps more than the story or novel itself. The quote is so well phrased and of such importance that it stands all on its own. Yet, it is still written within the context of a story and is defined or given power by the context of the storyline.
Take for example Gone With the Wind: Scarlett famously says, “Tara! Home. I’ll go home. And I’ll think of some way to get him back. After all…tomorrow is another day.” Or, Brett: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” from the start of A Tale of Two Cities, or “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest I go to than I have ever known.”
The well-known Christian author J.R.R. Tolkien, “It is a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door.” The Fellowship of the Ring. “There is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.” The Two Towers. “Not all those who wander are lost.” The Fellowship of the Ring.
Or, the well-known Russian author, Dostoyevsky, in his The Brothers Karamozov, “Above all, don’t lie to yourself.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 is set in the context of the 3rd chapter of Proverbs or within the entirety of the book of Proverbs. Do you really want to know what it means to “trust in the Lord with all your heart?” Then read the entire 3rd chapter; indeed, read the whole book. Meditate on it. These two verses are very quotable and some of the most memorable in Scripture.
Proverbs 3 is packed with wisdom, as is all of Proverbs. In one chapter is a lifetime of instruction. Pursuing its truths consumes a life. But the blessing of doing so lasts forever.
There are numerous ways in which to truly trust in the Lord, and we see some of them specified in this 3rd chapter. The first is not forgetting or simply paying no attention to the Lord’s instruction to those who really desire to trust Him. The Psalmist says in Psalm 1 the one who trusts in the Lord with a whole heart is one who delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on His words day and night. Not merely a weekly Bible reading or even a daily one, but he or she engages His words with heart and mind in the day and in the night. Less TV watching and much more Bible reading and thinking about what you read.
“Write them on the tablet of your heart.” Just how do you do that? How do you engrave His words on your “love center,” your heart? Where your emotions and feelings reside? Where whatever drives you to do what you do and think and say finds its root, its anchor, its inspiration? It is delighting in His words, hanging on them, that you do not ever want them to escape you! Never to be put out of your mind or lost to other thoughts or inclinations. Nothing as worthy can ever be a substitute.
Is this possible? Yes, but it requires discipline. It requires perseverance. But mostly it requires true love. Love for Him who gave everything for you, even His life.
“Be not wise in your own eyes!” Make a life’s habit of acquiring and practicing true humility in your soul.
“Honor the Lord with your substance!” Allow Him use of all of your resources. Give generously to Him and to your neighbor. Remember the rich young ruler who went away sad because the Lord asked him to give away his many assets and come and follow Him. He would not trust the Lord because he proved his earthly wealth was his god.
“My son (or daughter), do not despise the Lord’s discipline or grow weary of His reproof!” Do not forget, not ever, He disciplines those He truly loves. He treats you as His very own son or daughter, because you are a genuine member of His own family. When discipline comes in your life receive it graciously as from the Lord’s hand whatever it is. Because it is from his heart and hand.
This is exactly how you trust the Lord with your whole heart. Don’t glibly quote these famous verses. But meditate on them, read them in their context to fully grasp what is being said (Proverbs 3), and apply their lessons to your self-analyzed motivations in life. I guess the best way to put this is “eat these words” and digest them within you, so their truths become who you are.
“Be still, my soul: the Lord is on your side; bear patiently the cross of grief or pain; leave to your God to order and provide; in ev’ry change he faithful will remain. Be still, my soul: your best, your heav’nly Friend through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.”
(1st verse of Kathrina von Schlegel’s hymn, “Be Still My Soul,” 1855)