Life Verse

Posted by on Apr 29, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

IMG_1979For as long as I’ve been a Christian I’ve heard other people refer to their “life verse.” I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you had one come to mind as you read that first sentence. After years of time reading Scripture, I imagine most people would collect a number of such verses that God used to bring about substantial growth and change during different seasons of life.

A pair of verses that have repeatedly challenged and guided me throughout most of my walk with Christ are found in the book of Proverbs. This collection of wise words, primarily from King Solomon, is all about cultivating skill in everyday living. So finding “life verses” in Proverbs is like shooting fish in a barrel.

The phrase I want to explore with you is found in chapter three. It’s nestled in the first nine chapters, a segment of instructions Solomon first recorded for the benefit of his son. It’s the kind of guidance every child needs from his/her father, guidance God has graciously preserved for all of His children.

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 straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5–6, ESV)

As frail human beings, who do not ultimately control the perilous world in which we live, nor the future in which we face, we are forced to trust. The freedom we have is choosing who or what to trust. Positively, Solomon urges us to trust in the Lord, the One who has given us life (twiceover if we have trusted in Christ). He goes on to tell us that we should do so with all our heart, essentially with all of our being. In other words, we are to recklessly abandon ourselves to the Lord, believing that He alone knows and wants what is best for us.

But you and I and Solomon know that trusting in the Lord in that way can be pretty daunting. Think about all of the ways we arrange our lives in order to eliminate our need to trust God. Rather than live in a state of dependence, we are prone to play it safe, hedge our bets, and avoid those things in our lives – even if commanded – which cause us to feel vulnerable. Basically, we do the very thing Solomon discourages … we lean on our own understanding.

At our core, isn’t it a lot easier to believe that we know what is truly best for us? And haven’t we all come across commands in the Bible that fly in the face of what we presume to know about the way the world works? Things like forgiving our enemies, denying ourselves, submitting to authorities, giving sacrificially and considering others more important than ourselves are completely counter-intuitive. And yet God tells us those things lead to life.

So who do we trust? Ourselves or God? It’s a tough pill to swallow, but on our own we’re pretty dim, even on our best days. Solomon will say later in Proverbs 14:12, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” God, on the other hand, always get its right. He is never surprised, never unsure, never out of His depth. He very literally holds everything together that is in existence. There’s no better option if you’re trying to find the next right step.

Through the prophet Isaiah, God assures us, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8–9, ESV) Elsewhere, the Apostle James reassures us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” (James 1:5–6, ESV)

To “acknowledge” God as Solomon recommends, is to relate to Him and respond to Him in every aspect of life with the above in mind. It is to consult God every step of the way, believing that He is infinitely wise and that He gladly provides wisdom to those who ask for it. It means orienting all of life around an intimate knowledge of who God is, what He has done, and what He is doing as revealed in His word.

Those who engage God in this way are promised, “He will make straight [their] paths.” This isn’t assurance of a comfortable path, an easy path, or a prosperous path. It is, however, a path that is reliable, virtuous, fulfilling, and most importantly … pleasing to God. If that’s the kind of life you’re looking for, keep leaning into the wisdom of God. Years from now, when your life is mostly a memory, you’ll be glad you did.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *