I’m in a series of blogs entitled “Better!” In the last blog, I shared how I believe that better is, well, better. So often in our enthusiasm for the new year, we over-commit and over-extend ourselves, setting impossible goals and sabotaging ourselves along the way. Let’s make it our goal to do and be just a little bit better this coming year.
Today, I want to look at how we can have a better walk with God. Probably the most quoted and most memorized verse in the Bible is Proverbs 3:5-6. It goes like this: “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.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
This past weekend, I had the privilege of preaching from this passage at our New Hope Church in Bend, Oregon. This is an adaptation of my sermon. You can watch the full message entitled Relying on the Lord online. So, here are three ways to have a better walk with God in the coming year.
1. Trust God more
This passage begins with the call for each of us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart…” (Proverbs 3:5a). The Hebrew word for trust means to “lay helplessly, to be face down.” It implies a total, complete dependence–without reservations, conditions, or stipulations.
It goes on to quantify that trust. We are to trust him with all our heart!Heart, here, is more than our emotion. It represents our entire person –our mind, body, and soul.
The challenge for me is that I have a hard time doing that. I know that when I’m worrying or doubting, I’m not trusting the Lord. In my devotional notes, I have entered two phrases. I need to trust more and let go. I need to believe more and expect God for great things.
Every challenge is a time to trust God more
The psalmist calls each one of us to do better trusting God. “People, trust God all the time. Tell him all your problems, because God is our protection” (Psalm 62:8).
2. Trust yourself less
The verse goes on to tell us to “…lean not on your own understanding” (Prov. 3:5b). What does that mean exactly? Does it mean that God wants us to kiss our brains good-bye and never think for ourselves? Of course not! He created our brain; He wants us to use them. But here’s the problem with our own understanding: our understanding is always tainted and biased and incomplete.
All of our understanding is flawed.
Psychologists call this bias blind spots! We all have them. We can’t help but see things the way we see things. It’s is so bad that research finds that people will accept and admit that biases exist in others, but deny that they themselves are biased. I think this is why Jesus commands us to take the plank out of our own eye before we try to take the sliver out of our brother’s eye (Matthew 7:1ff).
The word lean means to “support yourself, to rely on.” We have a choice every day to trust in the Lord or rely on ourselves. Don’t let yourself be fooled. We will always do better when we remember that “Trusting oneself is foolish, but those who walk in wisdom are safe.” Proverbs 28:26 (NLT)
3. Acknowledge God in everything.
The next phrase says: “….in all your ways acknowledge him” (Prov. 3:6a). The word acknowledge in this context means “to admit and express the truth about God!” This means we bring God into every part of our lives and every minute of our day. Everything is sacred and God-centered.
Acknowledging God is never an add-on in my life, He is my life.
As we start the New Year, there is a temptation to add our walk with God to our long list of goals, however, things will only be better as He is the front and center of every goal we have. The Apostle Paul said, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” 1 Corinthians 10:31 (NIV)
BEFORE YOU GO…
These verses end with a promise! “And he will make your paths straight” (Prov. 3:6b). God is not saying we will be wealthy and everything in life will be perfect. He is, however, assuring us of a better life. He promises to give our lives clear direction, purpose, focus, and fulfillment. “…I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.” Isaiah 48:17 (NIV)