If you’ve even been involved in youth ministry, you’re likely familiar with some variation of the trust exercise. It usually involves closing your eyes and letting yourself fall back into a friend’s arms (hopefully!) or sit down into a chair you simply have to trust will be there.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.Proverbs 3:5
Today’s passage, perhaps the most famous in all of Proverbs, asks us to do the same thing, but to an extreme degree. Proverbs 3:5–6 instructs us, “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.” The three commands in these two verses are variations on the same theme. In the first place, Solomon tells us to trust in the Lord with “all our heart.” That is, we are to rely on God completely and totally with all our beings. Consistent with Proverbs’ use of metaphorical language, “heart” in this passage doesn’t refer to the physical muscle pumping blood through our bodies. Nor does it refer to our emotions, as it commonly does in English. Instead, “heart” is a metaphor for our mind, feelings, will, and personality. In this case, the heart is everything that makes a human a human.
Second, we must not “lean on our own understanding.” This is hard for most people because we tend to trust mostly in ourselves. Solomon assures us, though, that nothing but God is worthy of our trust, no matter how wise or intelligent we may be. Third, “in all your ways submit to him.” In all our actions, reactions, thoughts, and plans, we are to submit to the Lord. Are you seeing a theme here? The entirety of our being should be turning toward the Lord, relying on Him, and doing what He says. Solomon is giving us a whole-life, all-encompassing ethic of living in right relationship with God.
Time for a trust exercise. Consider in whom or in what you are trusting today. How can you trust God with all of the circumstances in your life? What do you need to turn over to Him?