Proverbs 3:5–6, “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.” That verse probably is the one that my mother quoted most often in writing me when I was in college and graduate school. Without even writing it out, she would include Proverbs 3:5–6. And I think it is because the main aim of the verse is to walk in a straight path.
1) First, trust in the Lord with all your heart. So, bank on the promises of God step by step in your life. Make your life a moment by moment in trusting in a good, holy, kind, loving, all-providing, all-satisfying God.
2) And then, step two, he says: Don’t rely on your own understanding, which I think means a conscious choice not to be self-reliant. Just say to yourself: Self, you are inadequate. Brain, you can’t come up with enough wisdom on your own. You have to turn away from self-reliance. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you don’t think and you don’t plan. It just means that you don’t bank on it. “The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord” (Proverbs 21:31). So, even in the midst of our planning and thinking and using our minds, we are leaning on something else. We are not leaning on our own resources.
3) And then the third one is: In all your ways acknowledge him — the Hebrew says, in all your ways know him. So, at every turn, every new choice you have to make, every new conversation you are in, you are sending up a message: God, I acknowledge you here. I know you here. I am drawing you in here. You are decisive here. I need you here. And if we follow those: trust him, renounce self-reliance, bring him into every situation, he is going to make our paths straight. He is going to keep us from wasting our lives or destroying ourselves and others in the path of sin and bringing us to everlasting joy.