These are probably two of the most memorized verses in the Bible. One of the reasons they are so well known is their message, including three commands and a promise.
The first command is to “trust in the LORD with all your heart.” If anything of eternal value and good is going to happen in our lives, we need to begin trusting God, and half-hearted faith will not cut it. The second command is to “lean not on your own understanding.” I call these two commands “mutually exclusive.” If we practice one, we will not be practicing the other – you can’t trust in the LORD and lean on your own understanding at the same time.
The third command is to “acknowledge Him in all your ways.” To experience God’s empowerment is to know (“acknowledge”) Him at work in every part of our lives. There is really no difference between the sacred and the secular. He is there, working all the time. When we can see that on a regular basis we will experience His empowerment in a special way.
The promise in response to all this obedience is to clear out a straight path ahead for us – “He will make your paths straight.” He promised! God knows where we are, He knows where we need to go, He knows the best way to get there, and He even knows what time we need to arrive!
In truth, these three commands are the Biblical basis of Steps 1-3 of The 12 Steps. Step One reminds us just how powerless we are – so we don’t need to “lean on our own understanding.” Step Two reminds us that only God can do for us what we really need – so “trust in the LORD with all your heart.” Step Three reminds us we need to make a commitment of our will and our lives to Him – “acknowledge Him in all our ways.”
I have a shortened version of these 3 commands and the first 3 Steps: I can’t, He can, so let Him. It’s honestly that simple!
One Promise at a Time,
Pastor Gary Byers
Spiritual Life Director