There’s a popular verse in the Bible that encourages one to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” What does that really mean and how does one practice this today in our modern lives? ◊
We’ve all had people tell us to “Just have faith!” or “Trust in the Lord!” or the old “Let go, let God!” In fact, you may have been the one delivering these well meaning words of encouragement to another person. These are actually Biblical affirmations put in modern words that unfortunately sound like mere platitudes to many today.
The “Trust in the Lord” phrase comes directly from Proverbs 3:5-6. Here’s the full sentence over two verses:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and He will make your paths straight.
This has always been a favorite verse of mine throughout my decades long life as a Christian. To me, the message is clear and simple: Trust God completely even when it doesn’t make sense to you; and in your full submission to Him you will somehow be guided down a good road in this life.
I do understand how this concept of trust in God (the Lord) is loaded with many assumptions and huge implications. It is the height of foolishness to the unbeliever and is a difficult leap for even many believers. Not that believers (Christ followers) don’t buy it, but they don’t fully understand how it really plays out in life day-to-day. Any one of us may want to trust and believe like that, but the practical reality is lost on us or not fully grasped.
Fair enough. I’ll break it down a bit and draw some conclusions about the very big implications it has for us in this life when we acquiesce to this ultimate level of belief.
Know, Trust, and Honor God’s Way
I would imagine that if we were personally to have seen the miracles surrounding Moses and the Hebrew people after the exodus from Egypt, or heard direct testimony from Daniel or Isaiah, or witnessed even just one bodily healing of leprosy by Jesus, or seen the multiplied fish and bread feeding of the 5,000 that afternoon, or had been one of the 500 that saw the resurrected Christ after his brutal crucifixion, or spoke or heard people speaking in a foreign tongue at that first Pentecost, we might all of us have easily become Christians or Christ-followers and pursued God in all ways and studied the Scriptures/Bible like a revealed road map for life.
Those of us who were not live witnesses though have to rely on direct oral and written testimony that has been passed down and verified and is now documented as well as any other events in human history. Many of us have heard and read that testimony and have submitted to belief in God as Creator and Jesus as God in the flesh sacrificed for the remission of man’s sins.
If one crosses over into a mode of “belief” in God, that is only a small step toward realization of what’s intended and available to each of us. To fully understand the Proverbs verse calling us to “Trust in the Lord” let us look at the full first 12 verses of Chapter 3. I’ve added a heading for each of the 3 sections and my explanatory comments following each section in parentheses.
KNOW GOD’S WAY
1 While My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, 2 for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. 3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.
(God’s teaching and ways should be etched in our hearts and minds. If we do this, then peace and blessings arise in this life. The resulting life reflecting love and faithfulness will be seen favorably by our fellow man and God Himself.)
TRUST GOD’S WAY
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and He will make your paths straight. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. 8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.
(Trust and fear God, even shun evil, and do not depend on your own wisdom or understanding of any situation. In all things submit your authority to God and let Him direct and guide you to good results.)
HONOR GOD’S WAY
9 Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; 10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. 11 My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, 12 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.
(Honor God with your firstfruits, that is your best output. You will be overwhelmed with good results. Know that God loves you as a child and so any hardships may be like discipline and rebuke from a loving parent. Never forget that He loves you.)
As stated, the implications of this practical life of knowledge development (Know God), dependence (Trust God), and obedience (Honor God) are profound. This dictates a life of proactive living, study, action, and engagement. God has plans and wants us to play a role. We need to be prepared to step in and produce appropriately in obedience. Good things come from this, even love, peace, and favor among those around us. We need to act in headlong trust and submission, even thwarting our own inclinations, checking them against a plan and will of a loving Father who leads and directs us in tangible ways when we get to know Him so well that we can actually feel and sense the right course of action daily in all things large or small. Finally, our life and our money is not our own, yet we can be blessed even more so by a Father who can also chastise and rebuke and discipline us, as any loving father does to a child.
Trust in the Lord? Yes, seen in a new light, why would we want to put our faith and trust in anything or anyone else?
Do you Trust the Lord with all your heart?
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. – Proverbs 1: 7