BA1803-Lean not on your own understanding
This is the third of 9 Bible studies showing what it means to be a Christian and how God has shown in His word exactly what a person must do to walk worthy of Him. These studies are taken from Proverbs 3 v 5-8.
LEAN NOT ON YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING
It is a wonderful thing when a person does trust in the Lord with all their heart, but that is only the first of the steps that will lead to a totally God directed life. The realization that God must be trusted in every sphere and activity of one’s life brings a person to the point where they must accept that they are not able to decide on anything. God is supreme; He knows all and His way is always perfect.
Just as the first command, to trust the Lord completely, was an act of the will, even so must the next command be. The second command we must obey says, “lean not on your own understanding.” This world has been, and is being, run by people who make great decisions by leaning upon their own understanding. They think that they know best and try to persuade, or force, other people to do things their way. The result is that we have a world that is in such a state that there seems to be no place on earth that is safe from hatred, persecution and strife. The world has never been in in such a terrible state!
Step two of God’s way
The answer to all the problems of the world start at the individual level. Whatever problems, fears or unknowns you have in your life God’s answer starts by commanding you to trust Him with all of your being and continues with this next command which is: lean not on your own understanding. You may feel you have a million problems and you do not know which way to turn next. When you go to God, having determined to trust Him with all your heart, He does not let you begin to explain your problems but says first you must, “Lean not on your own understanding.” There is no point going to God with all your problems and needs unless you go this way, and only this way. First get your position with God right and then you will find that God begins to put your situation right. God will address the problems and needs that you have. Always remember God does not solve problems for you. What He does is to lead you in His way where you can solve your own problems with Him. Along that wonderful way you will find that God keeps His promise when he says in Philippians 4 v 19 that He ‘shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus’.
The word ‘lean’ means ‘support or rest on yourself ‘. It conveys the condition where a person relies on their own knowledge and understanding to the exclusion of all others. That is the way most people live most of their lives, and it is this condition that God condemns as bad and evil. God says in Proverbs 15 v 32 - He who disdains instruction despises his own soul, but he who heeds rebuke gets understanding. The instruction God is talking about is His instruction and the person who disdains it does not care about his own soul. The tragedy is that most of the people in the world despise their own souls because they do not consider where they will spend eternity. However, God tells us that if we listen intelligently, and obey His correction, we shall get understanding. It is only by listening to God that we get understanding and that understanding is vital to us.
On your own understanding
Wisdom is a quality many people seek for and few find, but it is vital for any Christian who wants to follow this pathway, the pathway of God. The reason it is vital is explained in the following scriptures. It says in Proverbs 4 v 4-5 - Keep my commands, and live. Get wisdom! Get understanding! and in Proverbs 16 v 22 it says - Understanding is a wellspring of life to him who has it. We get understanding and wisdom by obeying His commands and understanding is a wellspring of life to you and me. The word ‘wellspring’ means a spring that is dug and thereafter flows with water. You must dig the well by your obedience to God’s commands and God will make the well flow with life for you. This is God’s description of understanding. This is not just eternal life in glory it is talking about but the life you are living now. Is your life a well of eternal life flowing up through you and out to the dying world around you?
So you see that if you want understanding about living, then you must first gain understanding about God. If anyone thinks he has understanding outside of God then listen to what the Bible says in Proverbs 21 v 30: There is no wisdom or understanding or counsel against the LORD. The word ‘against’ means ‘in front of or apart from’.
Clearly to have real understanding means to have God and to recognise God as truly the awesome and wonderful God and Father that He is. You cannot walk or work or live as a Christian without understanding so it is vital to each one of us.
Finally, in this section, where do we get God’s understanding from? The answer is in Psalms 119 v 169 where is says - Let my cry come before You, O LORD; Give me understanding according to Your word. All the understanding we need is found in the Bible but it will stay there unless you read it, and read all of it. If you read it with prayer and a deep sense of gratitude and awe that God wants to speak to you, the understanding you need will flow from the Holy Spirit into you mind and heart and you will please your God. Above all, lean not on your own understanding, because to do so is to trust in foolishness and folly.
Keep it simple
It is very important to keep your thinking simple. God is a great and awesome God and a wonderful loving Father. He does not call all His children to be geniuses, but little children. He expects us to come to Him in simple faith, trusting Him completely and leaving all our own understanding outside. Let Him take control of your mind and your feelings and let Him work out His wonderful miraculous way in your life. There are more steps to follow but you must get these two right first before you can progress to the others.