High performance coach and bestselling author Brendon Burchard grew up in Montana, with a healthy respect for the mountains and the woods. He now says that “In Montana, we have this saying, ‘The time to have the map is before you enter the woods.’”
I think that is where Proverbs comes in for believers who want some wisdom to help guide them on their path. Proverbs has a lot to say about pathfinding. Why do we need help with this? For the simple reason that we all have options, choices, opportunities, decisions—it’s all out there. God wants to help us as we head down the pathway of life.
Consider how The Message gives us a few gems from Proverbs along this line:
- “Moral character makes for smooth traveling; an evil life is a hard life” (11:5).
- “It’s a school of hard knocks for those who leave God’s path, a dead-end street for those who hate God’s rules” (15:10).
Wisdom for how to live full and how to live well pours out throughout Proverbs.
One of my favorite passages in Proverbs that helps us with finding our way is Proverbs 3:1-12. Looking over these 12 verses, you will find six couplets that teach and pack a punch. I will focus on verses 5-8:
“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. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.”
What is this saying to us? Trust in God. Don’t fight God. Don’t trust in yourself. Don’t rely on your own wisdom. Wisely walking down the pathway of life means taking instructions like this to heart.
As we daily meditate on God’s word and put his wisdom into practice in a community of faith, we will be anchored and grounded. I have this hanging up in my church office, featuring Prov. 3:5-6, so I can be reminded reguarly to reflect on and be nourished by these words.
We learn to trust God even more when we acknowledge God in everything. We should consider God when choosing a career, when choosing our friends, when choosing whom to date and marry…in fact, we should not leave God out of any aspect of our lives. Seek his will and recognize him as the one you will trust as you make your way through life, and you will be blessed for having looked to God for direction.
This passage also says God will direct our paths, making them straight. If we are willing to learn from and trust God, we can avoid many pitfalls of life. Fearing the Lord (loving and obeying the God we revere and respect) and turning away from evil will only bring us healing and health. In other words, while some complain that they think God’s ways only lead to restriction and missing out, the person who chooses God’s ways actually finds how refreshing and life-giving it is to let God lead the way.
How wise it is to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart!”