If you are a Christian, you’ve probably encountered this verse at least once. I was around nine or ten when this verse was introduced to me. I even remember covering a song by Hillsong Kids based on this. Four of us young ladies practiced a lot before singing it in our local church. Back then, however, I didn’t understand the verse completely.
I was told that to trust the Lord with all your heart means to entirely give Him the steering wheel to your car, make Him the captain of your ship, and consider Him the master of your soul. It’s opposite to the famous conclusion of the poem “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley: “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.” Proverbs 3:5 could be the most challenging verse ever, but it does not mean it’s impossible to apply. In fact, any of us can put this verse into action by following two steps.
Humans are full of pride. We love receiving compliments from other people about what we’ve done, what we have, or what we’re about to do. But to trust in the Lord is to deny yourself and follow Christ. How do you deny yourself? By saying no to your earthly desires and saying yes to God. It’s being content with what you have. After all…
Denying oneself involves putting God first before anyone and anything else–your partner, family, profession, money, possessions, etc. One of its requirements is that you forget about what you want and focus on what He wants for you. Once you’ve learned the art of denying yourself, you’ll realize that you are weak, but then that’s nothing to worry about because His power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9)! After realizing you’re frail, you’ll then look to God and recognize Him as the only source of your strength.
To deny yourself is to acknowledge that He is the owner of your life.
Another step involves one’s heart. The Bible says our hearts must be guarded for everything we do flows from it (Proverbs 4:23). Whatever’s in your heart matters because the heart is the source of life. If you’re so full of yourself, your heart will be filled with selfish desires as well. And when you think you can do it, there’s an enormous chance that you’ll get used to trusting your own capabilities, strength, and talents. And that’s not good because that would mean you’re refusing to acknowledge God’s power in your life. You can’t fully trust God and surrender halfheartedly too. Trusting God with only a part of your heart is similar to bowing down to a king in side view. And what kind of average person does that?
To surrender to Him is to trust God fully; to acknowledge that you are weak and He is strong. One way to apply that is to pray before making a decision and to hear what He has to say by reading His Word. The acts of surrender could be challenging for us since we desire control over everything. Perhaps we think the future would be more predictable if we are the ones handling every situation. But that is not the case. Whether or not we have control, we still can’t tell what the future holds. Fully trusting God in times of trouble is even more difficult because we don’t know what those moments will do to us. But the beauty of fully trusting Him is that we know all things work together for good because we love Him and we are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
Surrendering to Him is admitting that He knows better, and His plans are always greater.
Proverbs 3:5 means denying one’s self, forgetting about your fears and desires, and fully surrendering yourself to God regardless of your situation. It’s knowing that He will provide all our needs even if we have absolutely nothing. It may sound difficult, but we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength (Philippians 4:13).