When I first became a Christian, I was immediately engulfed by a great “storm” in my life which is par for the course when it comes to Christianity. After all, it’s not on the mountain with the Lord that we experience trials and tribulations but in the valley below. In that first storm of my new life, there were two verses that I held onto that kept me going.

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 (NIV)

These verses were like a mantra I repeated over and over whenever doubt any fear came at me. Thus, Proverbs 3:5-6 became my divine shield, sheltering me from everything that wanted to uproot my blossoming faith.

Proverbs 3:5 is intriguing because it seems very clear. Don’t rely upon what you think you know, which is why verse 6 tells us to submit to God, and he’ll make our paths straight. It seems very simple and difficult to mess up, and when I first became a Christian, there had been a lot I thought I knew that I was wrong about. Therefore, Proverbs 3:5-6 was perfect for me.

Years after I had become a Christian, the Lord said something to me about Proverbs 3:5-6. In fact, he brought Proverbs 3:7 to my attention.

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.

Proverbs 3:7 (NIV)

The Lord told me I no longer held onto Proverbs 3:5-6 as I once did. That I had become “wise” in my own eyes. That, because I thought I knew His word, I knew what I was doing. This brings me to an incident in Acts 11.

In Acts 10:9-17, Peter had a vision about clean and unclean things. Indeed, the Lord gave Peter this instruction.

The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”

Acts 11:15 (NIV)

Later after returning to Jerusalem, Peter was accosted by his fellow Christian Jews.

So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him and said, “You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.”

Acts 11:2-3 (NIV)

After explaining the circumstances to his brothers, they come to this conclusion.

When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.”

Acts 11:18 (NIV)

These men knew they were God’s chosen people, and as his people, they were to live according to his will. When they believed in Christ and were baptized and saved, they were trying to live their lives as God had willed them according to their understanding of the Hebrew Scriptures. The affront these men had towards Gentiles came from their desire to follow God’s law which spoke of clean and unclean things (cf. Leviticus 11:46-47). However, when they realized that the “law” as they understood it was being made more apparent to them through God’s actions, they had to accept God’s will in opposition to what they previously “knew” to be correct. Or, they could hold onto their own beliefs and stubbornly oppose God. These men choose to obey the Lord.

Sometimes we can do our best to follow the Lord and do what he wants us to do. At least, we might think we’re doing what God wants us to do. Other times, we might think we understand God’s word. After all, we devote time to studying God’s word; we pray, attend church, and do our best to serve him and his people. Yet, in our pursuit of the Lord, we must remember what Proverbs 3 tells us.

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. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.

Provers 3:5-7 (NIV)

Our understanding of God’s word and his will must always come after submitting it to him. We can become wise in our own eyes and not realize it because we believe we have correctly understood God’s will and his word. Consider Apollos.

When we first encounter Apollos in Acts 18, we are given this insight about him.

He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John.

Acts 18:25 (NIV)

Apollos loved the Lord. There’s no doubt about that. Although he taught about Jesus “accurately,” he only knew John’s baptism. This means Apollos was unaware of the Gospel message that we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ and not by works. This means that Apollos still believed in things like circumcision. What happens when Apollos encounters Christians who know the complete Gospel message?

When Priscilla and Aquila heard him preaching boldly in the synagogue, they took him aside and explained the way of God even more accurately.

Acts 18:26 (NLT)

God’s way was explained to him “more accurately.” You see, Apollos had an understanding of God’s way. However, his understanding was just that. His understanding. Just as those Jewish Believers who questioned Peter about eating with a Gentile. All of them loved the Lord, but they didn’t know everything.

We’re the same way. Sometimes I might think I know the Lord, and then he surprises me. Even though I spend time with Jesus, I am still learning about him. Consider what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13.

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

1 Corinthians 13:12 (NIV)

As much as we think we know about the Lord today, we will only fully understand him once we leave this exile and dwell with him in eternity.

Do you know God? God knows you, and he loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, and he wants you to know him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, freed from death, and live eternally with him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart and receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.