“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”
— Proverbs 3:5-6
You’re at the beginning of a new year. What plans do you have for yourself in the year to come? And how do you choose your goals for each new year?
As we stand at the beginning of another year, Proverbs 3:5-6 offers us direction and guidance. You and I desperately need God’s direction in our lives. How do we receive it? By trusting in the Lord with all of our hearts and not leaning on our own understanding. God doesn’t ask us to stop using our brains, but He does want us to avoid relying on our own self-confidence, despite the world’s affirmation of that trait. Often what the world affirms, the Lord abhors. God wants us to rely on Him and Him alone. So as you choose goals for the year, trust God to guide you. Don’t use your own reasoning to back up your plans; ask God to guide you, then listen for His answer.
The Proverbs passage promises us that if we acknowledge God, He’ll direct our paths. So how do we acknowledge God? We acknowledge our Lord by seeing Him in every aspect of our lives, by having a vision of Him and His providential workings in and through us. We acknowledge Him by seeking Him first in all we do and by obeying His commandments. What has God done in your life recently? And how can you remain obedient to His call on your life?
As we acknowledge God’s rightful place in our lives, He’ll direct us along the pathways of our lives. He does this in three main ways. First, God directs us through His Word. As long as we follow Scripture, we can be certain we’re traveling the right path. Second, God directs us through circumstances in our lives. Sometimes He guides us by opening doors, sometimes by closing them. Sometimes He makes our paths smooth; sometimes He allows us to fall flat on our faces. Sometimes He removes obstacles; sometimes He throws them in our way. Third, God guides us through His Holy Spirit. Sometimes the Spirit’s “still small voice” pulls us back from a venture we’ve planned, and only much later we discover that He has spared us from disaster.
Although we may not always see God’s hand immediately, He does guide us when we trust Him. Often we only see His guidance in retrospect. But we can rely on His promise to provide direction if we trust Him in every aspect of our lives—in our home lives, at work, at school, as we drive our car, as we eat our meals, as we conduct business. As you ponder your goals for the year, invite God to guide you. As you acknowledge Him, He’ll direct you down the right path for your life.