You could always tell when she got in trouble.
A friend in high school would unintentionally broadcast when she got caught for missing her curfew: she’d become the most pious Christian girl you’d ever meet. Between carrying her Bible to Christian music, clothing to speech, she’d transform between Friday and Monday and we knew…she’d been caught.
My friend actually gives us an illustration helping us in the third installment to answer the question “How do we trust God?”; because there’s a little bit of that attitude in all of us.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV
See that word “submit”? In other translations of this verse (6), the Hebrew word (the original language of the Old Testament) is rendered as “acknowledge”. The word means “know”.
Why the difference? Welcome to the wonderful world of translating! If you speak another language besides your native one, you know sometimes a single word cannot be translated into another language by a single word.
The idea of this word translated as “submit” is accepting someone to be what is claimed they are. In this case, we are accepting the claim of the Lord’s sovereignty and authority. We are to know the Lord by experience. This underscores how important our relationship is with our Heavenly Father!
Looking at that third phrase we read (again), “in all your ways submit to him”. Referring to the extent we’re to go in trusting Him, the text is clear: all the way.
God is not just god over the spiritual aspects of our lives. God is god over all aspects of our lives.
Now hold on to your seat. I believe most of our problems with trusting the Lord is we isolate Him to limited areas of our lives and then when the “poop hits the fan”, we want Him involved. But we don’t practice this trust most of the time. It’s like a muscle we don’t exercise and then expect to work suddenly and without warning.
Abraham Kuyper said, “In the total expanse of human life there is not a single square inch of which the Christ, who alone is sovereign, does not declare, ‘That is mine!’ ”.
The issue is not the Lord; the issue is us.
How do we start to know Him better? Glad you asked! I’m going to give you my favorite answer (and it has filled these digital pages before): take your S.I.P.S.
- Sing – Worship him with music. It has a great way of bypassing our intellectual “safeguards” and engages our hearts. Take the songs from your church service on Sunday, put on your favorite Christian radio station, crank up iTunes, or pop in a CD. Just sing to Him. You can thank me later.
- Investigate – “When we know the Word of God better, we will know the God of the Word.” I don’t know who (first) said this, but they’re right on. Read the Bible. Get into it. Let it carry you away. We read so much “stuff” through a given day. Turn your attention to something that will help.
- Pray – Talk to Him. And don’t take that for granted! The Creator of the Universe who is the object of Creation’s worship will “stop the press” to hear you. Why wouldn’t you?!? Praise Him in prayer, thank Him for blessings, repent of sins, and ask Him for help.
- Stay – Don’t miss this step—it’s possibly the key to the whole thing working. Stay, saturate, marinade, sit in the moment, soak…it doesn’t matter what you call it. I’ve learned a strange thing about the Lord: He doesn’t often shout above our endless to-do lists, calendar appointments, text tones, calendar reminders, emails, and voicemails. He’s a King; hear His whispers.
We shouldn’t just turn to the Lord when we’re in trouble. It’s pretty late at that point. Instead, stay close to Him. Take your S.I.P.S. Learn Who He is by experience with Him. Start learning to truly trust Him.
Interested in more like this? Consider my book: 31 Days of Spiritual Wisdom: A Month in the Proverbs. Moving through a selection of verses from a chapter of Proverbs for every day of the month, I walk readers through a journey of spiritual formation applicable to everyday life. The goal? Knowing how to apply the wisdom of Scripture so we grow in our faith, become wiser, and show the world the life-changing power of Jesus.