Read Proverbs 3:5-6
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own insight.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths. (NRSV)
This text is one of those all-time favourites. It speaks of the need to depend on God and not merely oneself. The key to right living is dependence on God rather than reckoning we can figure things out unaided.
Which was the sin of those first human beings. Adam and Eve thought they could best live independently of God. They did not acknowledge God and so their paths were far from straight. They did not rely on the Lord but trusted in their own insight. The fruit looked good so they ate it.
When we ‘acknowledge’ God we do more than just assert his existence. We do more than just state a belief in him. We recognise not only that he is supreme, but in being supreme he has a right to rule our lives. We don’t just call him ‘Lord’; we submit to his lordship. We don’t just give a polite nod in his direction; we place our lives in his hands.
None of this is to say that we don’t use our minds, that we lie in bed each morning not getting up till we get our specific marching orders. Acknowledging God does not mean passivity. We commit our days to him and trust that he will guide and shape our thinking. We do have insight: we don’t empty our minds and assume God will somehow seep in and fill them. But our insight is shaped and reshaped by the work of the Spirit of God.
So we are neither independent, self-sufficient agents nor passive vacuums. We wholeheartedly embrace life, make decisions, take courses of action. But we do so as those who have given the Lord the right to shape and guide us. Our paths might take unexpected directions, but in the deepest sense of the word, they will be straight.
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