Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5&6

We have here two things we are to do—trust and submit to Him—one thing we are not to do—lean on our way of thinking—and one thing God will do for us—make our paths straight. If we will follow the three specific instructions we are given, God will do something broad, comprehensive and inclusive for us.

There is a significant and profound association between self-distrust with trust in the Lord. The two are inseparable. In order to learn to trust in God with all of our hearts we have to unlearn our patterns of self-trust.

1. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart" – I will trust in the Lord will all my heart.

I want to trust in, depend on, rely on, obey, rest in, feel secure in, relax in and remain confident in the Lord; not just in the parts of my life that I select, but unconditionally and in every aspect, phase, stage and segment of my life, completely, entirely, without reserve or hesitation.

If, or when I worry, it is because I am not trusting; worry shows or warns me I am not trusting. Trust is its own reward. When we trust we are free from worry. We can worry about what we cannot do or trust in what God can and will do. The choice is ours.

Compare trusting the Lord with a similar instruction in the Bible: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." (Mark 12:30) To love, wish well toward, take pleasure in, long for; denotes esteem.

Trust is to rest in, be confident in and sure about.  Love takes pleasure in something but trust is confident in something.

With all my heart: What is the heart?  It is the feelings, the will, the intellect, centre of who we are in our thoughts and affections. When we obey these instructions, we love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and trust Him with all our heart. He is lovable and He is trustworthy. Love for Him and trust in Him are not the same, yet partners. We can love something that is not dependable or we can trust something we do not necessarily love, but when love and trust do happen to go together, they help each other. It could be an insult to say that I love God, but am unwilling to trust Him.

If I know God, I will trust Him because I will know that He is trustworthy and dependable.

2. "lean not on your own understanding" – I will not lean on my own understanding.

I do not want to lean or rely on what I think; I do not trust myself. My experience shows me that I do not always know what is best; only God does and He truly does. I may think something is wise or right, but I have decided to not pursue or do it unless I am convinced that it is what God wants. I want to bring my thinking into line with His thinking—His will. I want to have the mind of Christ (I Corinthians 2:16)—to think the way I should and that is not like leaning on my own understanding.

I do have an understanding; that is part of the problem. I subconsciously and unconsciously assume I am correct. It may not even occur to me that it is incorrect, or if I am adventurous or imaginative enough to dare to think or imagine it may be incorrect, I still do not believe it is incorrect. We think we are right. That is the problem. The idea of trusting God has a competitive alternative.

Those who know themselves, find their own understandings a broken reed, which, if they lean upon, will fail. We will lean on something, but it should not be our own understandings.

I want to lean on something dependable—and have found something worth leaning on.

What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Oh, how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
Oh, how bright the path grows from day to day,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms?
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Leaning, leaning,
Safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

If I know myself, I will not lean on my own understanding.

3. "in all your ways submit to him" – I will submit to Him in all my ways.

To acknowledge Him is to submit to Him—if we know who He is we yield to Him.

I deliberately, intentionally reject my own choice and rather turn to God to know His plan, His intention, His choice and His will for my life. I have learned through experience that this policy should influence the many daily details of my life. He knows what steps are best for me and I have chosen in advance that I will do what He wants. That choice having been made will be applied to any and all situations just as long as I know what God wants. The question is not whether or not to submit; that is already decided, but rather is it what God wants?

"Ways" implies actions as opposed to thoughts. We can be tempted in our thoughts, but we are judged by what we do—our ways. This word, "ways"—emphasizes my action, rituals, patterns of routines, deeds, what I do.

In my "ways," my routines, habits and daily patterns, I will yield to God.

In this verse the word (from Proverbs) for "way" is דֶּרֶךְ which means way, road, distance, journey or manner.

A great difference exists between God's ways and our ways. Therefore, we are wise to submit to His ways. "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts" Isaiah 55:8&9.

"My ways" (in this verse from Isaiah) is דְרָכַי֙ (ḏə·rā·ḵay) which is a Noun -  first person singular. It means: my way, road, distance, journey, manner, path, journey, direction, manner, habit,  a course of life, a kind of moral character.

God's ways are far superior. I will choose them. In all the things I do I want to do them in submission to God's plan.

4. "He will make your paths straight." - He will make life's situations work out well for me.

Twists and turns in my path retard progress, obscure what will happen next and require more effort and time to progress. The way is more difficult; I get tired more quickly. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. So when God gives me a straight path, I waste less energy, enjoy the journey more and am generally safer and more confident. Straight paths allow for better vision, sustained momentum and freedom to look around, see and learn more as we travel easily along the straight path God provides for us.

The path is mine, it is individually tailored for me. It is not a road others can travel; it is not general, but specific, not something for others who each have their own individual path. When God makes our "path" straight, it is a promise for us individually. Things will go well for us.

Let me end with a story which will illustrate how God's ways are better than ours. I thought Hannah was wonderful, but God knew Char would be much better for me. He was right.