Proverbs 3:5-6 has been my very favorite passage for many years. I memorized this text early in my childhood, it became my compass throughout high school and college, and it continues to keep my course today.
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.
What a precious promise from God! He will make our paths straight. But what does that mean? It doesn't mean that God will just travel whatever path we choose to follow. It means He will correct our path and set a new and better course for our lives. That's why the first three phrases of the passage cannot be skipped.
Trust God With My Heart (I do)
Lean Not On My Own Understanding (There's so much I don't understand anyway)
In All My Ways Acknowledge Him (Probably the most challenging part of the formula)
He Will Make My Paths Straight (My path doesn't just stay straight on it's own, we do have a sinful nature that leads us astray)
This week as I was reading the first chapter of Romans, the word 'acknowledge' in verse 28 really stood out to me. The word acknowledge indicates an intimate knowledge. The same word is used in the Bible for physically intimate relationships. (Adam knew Eve, Abraham knew Sarah). This intimate knowledge required one to accept responsibility for the other and for the other to surrender.
The Holy Spirit immediately drew me back to Proverbs 3:5-6. If I acknowledge God in all my ways then I have a spiritually intimate relationship with Him in every area of my life. I hold nothing back. I surrender to Him and He takes responsibility for me. It really is a beautiful thought. What if I refuse to acknowledge God in my life though? The wonderful promise of Proverbs 3:5-6 then gives way to the stern warning in Romans 1:28-32
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to dowhat ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. Romans 1:28-32