I recently found this statement on a website and it made me stop:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding”
… Christians, what’s wrong with your own understanding, that makes it something you shouldn’t lean on?
How can you tell the difference between your understanding and the lords?
It’s always interesting to me how non-believers start picking apart scripture. This text from Proverbs 3:5 doesn’t say your own understanding is wrong which is what people immediately jump to. Your personal understanding of a situation could be perfectly valid, but Christians seek understanding within a God-centric context. Compared with an infinite God our understanding is insufficient. The best way I can compare is like this:
I recently played tour guide to a group of teenagers in Paris. As we walked up one hill we came up on the Sacre Coeur Basilica. Immediately the students stopped all progress and began taking pictures of each other with the domes and spires in the background. No matter how much I prodded them to move on, they insisted on taking more photos. When they were finally ready, we walked along the side of the building and around the corner to the front of the church. Because they trusted their own understanding of the situation and not mine, they had spent 15 minutes standing and taking pictures of the back of the church.
Now how can you tell your understanding from God’s? I believe that’s a matter of personal connection with God. The more time you take to make God’s ways your ways, the more you will come to see His guiding and wisdom in your decisions. Much like marriage where in the beginning you consistently trust yourself and get things wrong with your spouse. You then have to stop before making decisions and ask for more guidance. Eventually through the years you grow and understand one another so that your knoweldge grows to reflect an ideal beyond just your own.
I believe this text fits in with Paul’s letter to Timothy telling him to continue studying in order to grow with God and be approved by Him (2 Tim 2:15). Especially when it comes to matters stemming from our spirituality and faith. But if that still doesn’t make sense to you, try writing a research paper without Wikipedia or Google and see where your own understanding gets you.