It is important to acknowledge the Lord in all your ways. Right? Not just from a spiritual perspective but from simply a practical one. Of course, many would suggest that the spiritual perspective IS a practical one but I would suggest there is much in this world that is called ‘spiritual’ or tagged as ‘Christian’ that is not really practical, good, or right. We have to let the Word of God be our guide in this. So let’s look at two aspects of this thought from the Word. Let’s look at the Biblical source and the context of the thought.
The Biblical Source
The idea that you should acknowledge the Lord in all your ways. Comes from Proverbs 3:5-6 where it says, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Of course this is just one of many verses that support this idea but it is most likely the one most are thinking about when they suggest acknowledging God. Looking at the four verbs in these verses (trust, lean not, acknowledge, shall direct) is very instructive and helpful.
The Biblical Imperatives
Trust and acknowledge are imperative verbs; they are to be seen as injunctions or commands. In other words, they are not meant to be optional if we wish to see the connected promise come to fruition. Many of the promises in the Bible are connected to imperatives in this way. As such, the fulfillment of the promise depends very much on our willingness to obey the command or keep the injunction; on our willingness and actually doing so. This is very important. Often we can be willing and then never actually follow through. Our willingness does not ensure the promise if it is not followed by action. Understanding the nature of these two verbs, trust and acknowledge as imperatives, is super important.
The Biblical ‘Process’
Lean not and shall direct, on the other hand, are imperfect verbs. The imperfect expresses an action, process or condition which is incomplete. It differs from the perfect in being more vivid and pictorial. The perfect expresses the “fact”, the imperfect adds color and movement by suggesting the “process” preliminary to its completion.
So in the verses mentioned, the ‘leaning not’ on your own understanding is preceded by something. The “process” of choosing to trust in the Lord is first, with a denial of self-trust following along closely behind. There is a moment in our thought process where we decide, I am going to trust the Lord, rather than trust myself in this. Our first response in any situation is of course to trust our own understanding. So the will and volition to trust the Lord negates or denies this first tendency to trust ourselves.
Also, in the verses mentioned where it says the Lord shall (as in He will) direct your paths, it is assumed that He is acknowledged first. While He certainly works through circumstances to direct our steps (Prov. 16:9 & Psalm 37:23), the promise here of direction is connected directly to the act of acknowledging Him. It is the reaction that follows our action in acknowledging Him. If we are not acknowledging Him, taking knowledge of Him and observing His ways, He is not Self-obliged by the context to direct our steps in all our ways.
Trust And Obey
The children’s song, or hymn adopted as a children’s song, says, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.” We say that JOY is spelled J-O-Y and is an acronym for Jesus, Others, and Self. It is a very simple acronym to remember the order of things in acknowledging God in all our ways. But and since Jesus is eternally and always FOR Others, to be for Jesus is to assume or surrender to a paradigm of Others First. In doing so we place all self focus on the back burner (so to speak) and trust God for those things pertaining to self. Please keep in mind that I am not talking about church here; I am talking about the way in which we live in all arenas of our lives. ‘Others First’ is the easiest path to Higher Ground. This is a very succinct concept and there is much more to the journey to Higher Ground than this but, it is a principle that must be understood, learned, and applied.
Jesus said much about humbling ourselves as a little child;
our journey to Higher Ground will be best in this frame.
So as we trust the Lord with our whole heart, leaning NOT on our own understanding and certainly NOT our own desires, taking knowledge of His ways in all of our ways, He will direct our steps into paths of helping, serving, and benefiting others. This is His way. He knows the things that we need and desire and can be trusted with them. But please keep in mind, those others in your own house, must be first. If we cannot help, serve, and benefit those under our own roof in all our ways, we will never do this to others outside of the four walls of our house. We will not do so justly. We must first show piety at home, honoring others within the home. Timothy said that if we do not do it first at home then we are worse than an infidel. (1 Tim. 5:8)
I said in the beginning of this post that acknowledging the Lord in all our ways could be viewed, not just from a spiritual perspective, but from simply a practical one as well. Those that seek only to please themselves and acknowledge only their own desires, wishes, and dreams will trudge around through life fretting and worrying about whether every decision is the right decision for them. They will often find only disappointment and will certainly be disappointed with others. Trust me on this; I walked many miles in that frame of mind. Those who seek only self focused fulfillment will find their way difficult and will hit ‘barriers’ at every turn. Of course the barriers are another way that God directs the path of believers and there will be more on this in another post. But those that seek only the things of self; self-gratification, self-preservation, self-exaltation, do not have the promise of God that He will direct their steps. He will not lead beside still waters. And He will not lead in a way that goodness and mercy follow every step of the way. This my friend is the path to Higher Ground; humility is paramount in this journey that we are beginning to take. Remember from the diagram here that God’s ways are always altruistic and ours a quite often antithetical to His. We must align ourselves with Him in our climb. Does that make sense to you? Is it clear enough? I hope it is.
I am cutting this off here although there is still much that could be said about this. Perhaps there are some things that you would like to add or share. Please leave a comment. 🙂 The only way that I know you have read this and concur or disagree is if you communicate with me.
Until next time friend.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart.
Take knowledge of His ways in all of your ways.
Kind regards to you,