In all your ways acknowledge [God], and He will make straight your paths.
Proverbs 3:6 (ESV)
God has brought me back to this verse many times over the past few days. As I was brought to it again today, I thought it would be helpful for myself (and maybe even helpful to you) to write through what this means to me.
As I walk through a rather intense season of life, these are not words that I need to hear and like, but that I need to put into action. Which poses the question: how do I do that? How do I acknowledge God in all my ways?
Well, for starters, what does acknowledge mean? Webster defines acknowledge as a verb meaning, to say that you accept or do not deny the truth or existence of (something); to regard or describe (something or someone) as having or deserving a particular status; to tell or show someone that (something) has been received. So, I need to accept the truth and existence of God in all my ways? That is something I can do in my heart, but it doesn't seem to be a very practical, tangible step.
When I look up what the original Hebrew text says (don't be intimidated--I just did a google search), I find this. Basically, the author (Solomon) was trying to say "in everything you do, try to know God better." That's slightly easier to digest, at least for me. This is how that dialogue can go in my mind:
Here's the situation at hand. Based on what I know about God, is this somewhere He could want me to be? If so, what is He trying to do here? (and if not, either I need to learn more about God or I need to go to a different place!) What does it say about God if this is a place He has brought me to? Are those things true about Him based on what the Bible says?
Sometimes it looks a little different, more like this:
Lord, here's the step I think You want me to take, is that You? Can you tell me why You want me to do this, or why not? If You can't, please fill me with enough of Your peace and strength and grace to move forward toward wherever this step leads.
And, from time to time, when I can't even muster enough strength to think that much, all I can come up with is:
Father, here are my concerns and doubts. Here are all of my fears, hesitations, and uncertainties. Please show me what You want me to do with them. Please take them from me and, in return, show me the next step You would have me take. You never promised me that I would understand fully where You're leading me or what You're doing inside of me, only that I could always trust You; I'm trusting You, that You know what You're doing, even when I can't begin to understand.
I can't say for sure what Solomon meant when he wrote that verse in Proverbs; I don't know what He was experiencing or who He was writing to/for. I do know that, according to this verse, God will honor even my efforts to acknowledge Him--to know Him better--as I follow Him down this path where I can only see my very next step and nothing else. I am so filled with hope and joy in the truth that God knows my heart (!), He knows when my efforts are genuine and when they are not, and His word here in Proverbs promises me that HE will make my path straight when I am genuinely acknowledging Him before I take each step.
So, friends, I challenge you: what step are you taking (or not taking) that you need to pause and acknowledge God in? What do you want to do or avoid that you need to take a minute (or a day, or a week) to talk through with a sovereign God? He promises us that when we genuinely seek Him, He will make our paths straight, that He will light the next step for you, and He will work out all the things after that step for His glory and our (ultimate) good.
Thanks for reading,