5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)
As we begin to lean upon God in both good times and bad, we learn to trust Him. We all have good days and bad days in how well we follow Him or treat others. But God promises that, if we acknowledge Him in our words and actions, He shall direct our path towards a blessing.
Often, we find ourselves confronted by some form of turmoil, confusion, or anxiety. We then begin to wonder how we will get through the stress, heartache, or pain of the situation. Eventually, we get around to taking it before the Lord for His help.
There are many different types of difficult situations. Our loved ones may be going through episodes of illness or hardship, or there may some cause of division or strife in a personal relationship.. There may be some form of economic pressure creating anxiety, such as unpaid bills or an expensive repair that needs attention when the money is running low, or a job that is just not going well. We may also be under some form of spiritual attack from the enemy, or experiencing some combination of the above.
In all these situations, we desperately need God’s help for healing, protection, and direction. “Lord, tell us what do we need to do next.”
Solomon’s verse tells us to trust the Lord in prayer, then to acknowledge Him with our words and actions. If we do this, God “shall” direct our paths through any valley of darkness.
When God says that He “shall” direct our paths, it means that He has obligated Himself to do so. I remember years ago when I started a new job, I was required to read and pass a comprehensive test on the safety manual as a condition of employment. And I remember to this day that when the manual said I “shall” do a task a certain way using a certain procedure, that meant that I would be fired from my job if I failed to do it that exact way. It was non-negotiable. Similarly, when God says that He “shall” do something for us, He means that He shall do it completely, as well.
Solomon also instructs us to trust God even when we do not understand what is going on around us. While we may not see it, God is at work under the surface of the chaos to build a strong and stable foundation for our future. He is bringing about an unchanging faith and a solid spiritual growth that will lead us to joyful harvests of divine benefit.
Whenever we are filled with uncertainty, if action is required, we pray first, then take the step of faith that acknowledges His name and honors His kingdom. This may only seem like a small step of faithful action, but God sees it as a willingness to follow Him, and He will respond with a great blessing.
When we begin to acknowledge Him in all our ways, His name and glory are spread to those around us. As people see what God is doing in our lives, they are encouraged to approach Him with a faith of their own, especially when confronted by life’s challenges.
By acknowledging Him, we fulfill what was written by Paul in Romans 10:
14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? Romans 10:14 (NKJV)
When believers testify to what God is doing in their lives, others can begin to have their eyes opened to His presence and goodness. They find a hope and faith of their own as they realize that God loves them, too.
The gospel of Luke talks about a thief whose heart was opened to Jesus at the very end of his life, as they were both being crucified together, hanging on crosses. Another crucified thief was there too, but he was mocking Jesus, just as the misled crowd around them had been doing.
39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.”
40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”
43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 23:39-43 (NKJV)
The thief on the cross acknowledged Jesus’ Lordship as both were dying on the cross, speaking out in faith. There was not much time left, but by so doing, his path was redirected to an eternal Paradise.
In speaking out, this thief confessed His faith not only to Jesus, but to the other thief as well. This presented a window of opportunity for the other to repent of his ignorant comment and of his sinful life, and to seek mercy from the Lord. Whether he did so or not, we do not know, but one day we might see him in heaven if he did.
Paul summed up the importance of acknowledging God in another passage from Romans 10:
9 …if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:9-10 (NKJV)
When we acknowledge Christ with our words and actions, amazing and powerful things shall happen for us as heavenly doors are opened to produce a harvest for His kingdom.
How can I better acknowledge God to those who live and work around me? This is not easy. But if, with the help of the Holy Spirit, I am willing to credit Him, people around me may begin to recognize Him in their own lives. I may even be used as a spark to help someone start out on their own faith journey.
When God opens a divine window of opportunity to speak out the name of Jesus to a fertile heart, it will take a bold willingness on our part to do it. But if we can muster the faith to follow through with it, a divine seed of eternal significance will be planted. God will then water and grow the seed in His timing.
The Lord opens these opportunity windows for us, but only briefly. They may be opened one minute and closed the next. We must be quick to act to speak the Name if we see a divine opening in someone’s heart.
Lord, help me to recognize the windows of opportunity that You open before me, and to acknowledge You and Your name in the process. Grant me the strength and courage to act and to enter through the opportunity. I know that as I acknowledge You, You shall direct my paths to experience a joyful and fruitful life in Your kingdom. We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.