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. - Proverbs 3: 5-6 (NIV)
As we continue in our series on the most searched Bible verses as per biblegateway.com; we come to the seventh and the sixth most searched verses. Instead of doing them separately, it makes more sense to exposit them together. Even in this chapter of Proverbs the verses are grouped by two, so these two verses are meant to be taken together. Renowned baseball catcher Yogi Berra once famously quipped that when you come to a fork in the road, you should take it. If it only it were that easy! If only there were clear signs directing us which way to go every time we face a decision in our life. The good news is that there are clear signs, every time, but we have to be willing to listen.
Our first mistake is in believing that the forks in the road are an occasional thing. We trump up the major life decisions to the forks while the reality is that we face forks in the road of life every single day. Every decision we face is a chance to draw nearer to God or pull further away from Him. What we choose to watch on television for example is a fork in our road. Will it be something that will reinforce who God is or something that will assault our senses? Who we choose to be friends with and spend time with. Are they people who edify our walk or are they people who will mock the things of God while we laugh innocently and turn our heads? I realize that alone, these little forks may not seem like such a big deal but collectively they can start to erode our faith and turn our paths away from God. I remember when I was first saved and I was seeking advice from an elder statesman of the faith and he advised me that I needed new friends. I needed friends who shared my new found faith. It is not that my old friends were bad influences as the world rates such things but they simply did not believe what I believed and as such they were unintentionally drawing me away from God.
Don't team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? - 2Corinthians 6: 14 (NLT)
This verse is often correctly used when it comes to relationships and marriage but it also applies to all of our relationships. The advice I received was correct. Over time, whether my old friends intended it or not the only result is I would have been pulled further and further away from God. Sometimes as Christians we think God is only the God of emergencies. We wait until our lives are in disarray and then we run pleading to the Father to fix the mess we placed ourselves in by taking the wrong path at the fork we had to consider. Here is today's deep theology; God wants to be the God of our decisions not just our consequences. The key verses today are the recipe God has given us for how to accomplish this in our lives. Will we be perfect? Never. But it is something we should be striving for.
There are four parts to this recipe. The first part is to trust the Lord with all of your heart. That may sound easy enough but the truth is that we probably fail at this more than we care to admit. We like to think that we trust the Lord but in the day to day grind we often end up trusting the world. The medical report is bad and we believe it over the report of the Lord. We date someone who doesn't share our faith even though the Bible says not to. We say we trust God to provide but we play the lottery more religiously than we go to church. Trust in God must transcend our little sound bytes and pious Christianisms. Note also that the command is to trust God with all of our heart. There is a reason why God instructs us as such:
"The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? - Jeremiah 17: 9 (NLT)
Beloved the world system we live in is opposite to the faith we profess. The logic the world uses is anathema to the things of God. The world tells us we need to trust our heart. Just follow your heart! The Bible teaches us that our heart is the MOST deceitful thing and desperately wicked. Following our heart often leads us away from God and directly into tribulation. Following the heart of God however - that is where our spiritual GPS needs to be programmed to. That GPS is not found on our dashboard but rather, in our Bible.