Favor: Straight Paths

Favor: Straight Paths

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart . . .”

The human heart has been masterfully oriented by God to function in a particular way. The heart’s irreproducible makeup only finds serenity and satisfaction in Jesus. The heart is not a simple matter—it is as deep as well. Just as a well is only good if it has water, the heart is only good if it has Jesus. Jesus has saved the soul from not only the penalty and guilt of sin but also the misery of life that would have resulted from its consequences.

If there’s one thing in life Christians desire to do, it is to entrust all their heart to Jesus. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” Privately, we often hear the whisper of this command impel us with a tinge of regret, for we know how fickle we are. The truth of having a deceptive heart (Jer. 17:9) is that it’s neither wise to trust nor easy to entrust it. We may wrongly assume God has superiority when in fact an idol has taken control. Flipping to the other side, the sanctifying reality is that a regenerated heart has the Spirit of Christ to constantly impress on it the need to trust God. The beautiful paradox: A sinful heart always keeps us relying on a merciful God.

“. . . and do not lean on your own understanding.”

How are we to trust God with all our heart without our understanding? Understanding comes from the heart. Faith is comprised of three parts: knowledge (understanding), assent, and trust. The answer is found in what God originally intended before the Fall and the redemption provided by Christ.

Our hearts were made to worship, glorify, serve, love, and exalt Jesus. God created us to glorify Him. Because we rebelled and violated God by breaking His universal law, the heart is now prone to lust after idols. Instead of life being a journey that pursues God, it has become a means to test the heart’s allegiance. Sadly, we’re all traitors.

However, when a Christian is made anew by the Holy Spirit, they then have the ability to rely on God with all their heart. The believer is now following a path that is directed by God Himself. Although the sinner has a new heart to understand God’s Word, sin also resides, encouraging the justified sinner to deviate from God’s path of righteousness to a path of selfish pleasure. Therefore it’s important for us not to rely on what we assume is proper and good but on what God has prescribed is proper and good. This prescription is found in the Bible.

“. . . and do not lean on your own understanding.” 

Not leaning on our own understanding means that we should take God at His Word and trust in who He is. The perfection of God demands that imperfect people rely on Him in all of life, believing God’s way is the best possible route in a life of uncertainty.

“In all your ways acknowledge him . . .”

To “quell” something is to overwhelm it in order to shut it down. God’s faithfulness to His people should quell our self-trust so that in everything we do we seek to know His guiding wisdom and directing love. Since God knows all things, we can safely entrust our hearts in order that He direct our paths according to His infinite knowledge. The comforting aspect in God’s guiding wisdom is to know that everything He does is accomplished in love. “In all your ways acknowledge him . . .”

Acknowledging God in all our ways means that we are a people who constantly has God in front of us. Throughout life, whether important or insignificant to us, we are aware that Jesus is the most important person to consider in all our decision making. Jesus encompasses every path we take to the extent that our life is only dear to us insofar as we bring glory and honor to Him.

“. . . and he will make straight your paths.”

The implication in this verse is that our paths will be crooked. But the promise of favor is that God will make our paths straight. This promise of God’s grace is especially important when we realize two things. First, although our paths are crooked because of our own sin and the enemy’s relentless pursuit to ruin us, we have a victorious Christ who took our punishment and who has defeated our foes. Jesus embodies a loving God who constantly cares for His people. Second, because we believe in this Jesus, we are assured that all of God’s promises are yes and amen in Christ (2 Cor. 1:20). God promising to make our paths straight in a crooked world is a massive incentive to entrust all our heart to the Lord. Of all the things in this life that are false, deceptive, and evil, a heart fully trusting in Jesus will prove God true, sure, and good.

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