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. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
It would be easy to view this verse in a merely sentimental fashion. After all, it is one of the most famous verses in Scripture. However, what does it really mean to trust the Lord?
We are told here that it means we are not trust our “own understanding.” We are to be distrustful of ourselves! This doesn’t come easy; we are taught by our schools, and by the disappointments of life, to trust only ourselves. Our paths are not naturally straight—they are naturally crooked. But they are our paths, and so they don’t seem crooked to us.
When I read this verse I think about a famous episode of “Seinfeld.” In the episode, George decides that all his decisions have led him nowhere. So he decides to do the opposite of what he would naturally do. So when he asks a woman out for a date, he admits to her his many flaws (including the fact that he still lives with his parents); when he applies for a job with the New York Yankees, he insults George Steinbrenner to his face. But it works: he gets the girl, he gets the job. All by doing the opposite.
Proverbs 3 offers some examples of what it means for us to do “the opposite,” to trust God's word rather than our natural tendencies. The first is to delay gratification rather than trying to speed it up through disobedience to God’s commands:
Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. (3:7-8)
The next is to give away money rather than hoarding it:
Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce;
then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. (3:9-10)
The third is to accept hardship, to view it as the work of a loving heavenly Father rather than a malicious and angry God:
My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline or be weary of his reproof,
for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights. (3:11-12)
In 2006, do the opposite. Our gut reactions and bright ideas are much improved upon by God’s word.