“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; don’t rely on your own intelligence.” Proverbs 3:5 CEB
It was a great spot to be with a view that would rival most. It took some effort to get there and not everyone was willing to put in the effort. You had to navigate several obstacles and make your way up a tenuous route. Once you reached the top you were treated to a private hideaway that was almost guaranteed to be yours alone. I was only 10 years old when I would climb the big maple tree to the top and enjoy that view. None of the adults would try to climb the tree and none of my cousins would try it either. So, the top of that tree became my personal hideaway about 30 feet in the air. It was a lot of fun, but as I look back on this experience as a parent I have questions. The first question is what were my parents and grandparents thinking? How could they let me get so high in that tree? The only answer I can come to is trust. They trusted me to know how high I could go and to be careful. If they hadn’t trusted me I would not have experienced such an awesome climb and hideaway.
My parents may have trusted me, but I was trusting something else, the tree. I knew I could go high into the tree because its branches were strong. I could trust the tree because the branches had grown in such a way that I would have a clear path to climb. I trusted the tree because I had climbed it dozens of times. Trust is the assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something. I had the assured reliance that the tree was strong based on past experience. I had the assured reliance that I could climb the tree safely because I had done it before. Trust is a matter of perspective. At the time my perspective was very trusting because there had been no reason not to trust. There is no way I would climb that same tree today. My body structure is very different than when I was eight. I also have had the experience of falling out of a tree when I was in my late twenties. That didn’t feel good and could have been devastating. My perspective has changed and my trust in my own ability to climb a tree has changed.
Trust is also foundational to experiencing success in life. This is at the heart of the verse above. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; don’t rely on your own intelligence.” Let’s look first at the second half of this verse. “Don’t rely on your own intelligence,” or in other translations “lean not on your own understanding” seems clear. Solomon, the principle author of Proverbs, has been widely regarded as one of the wisest people to ever live. He receives this distinction because when he was given the opportunity to ask God for anything, he asked for wisdom. If the wisest king and one of the wisest people to ever live offers the advice to not rely on your own intelligence, we should listen. We may think we are smart, but we just aren’t that smart. We are prone to make mistakes in life. Also, when it comes to our spiritual life we are, as the old hymn says, prone to wander. Which takes us back to the first part of the verse, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” This is such great advice because of who God is. We can trust who God is. We have the assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, and truth of who God is. God has proven to be trustworthy for all human history. Trusting God is foundational to success in life.
So, when it comes to our relationships, particularly marriage, trust in God is foundational. I will go as far as to say it is crucial. I believe that no Christian will ever be successful in their marriage relationship without trusting God for the outcome. This is true in life, in relationships, and especially in the marriage relationship. Try and think of it in terms of your marriage relationship being like climbing a ladder. We all know how to climb a ladder. Regardless of your physical condition everyone knows how to climb a ladder. But the knowledge of how to climb a ladder and the ability to climb the ladder are not the most important thing about the effectiveness of a ladder. The most important thing about the effectiveness of a ladder is where you lean your ladder. If you need to paint your house, but you lean the ladder against your neighbor’s house you won’t be successful. However, if you lean the full weight of the ladder against your house you will be successful. This is what Solomon is telling us … we must lean the full weight of our ladder (trust) on God. Trust in God is foundational. Trusting God strengthens our life, our relationships, our marriages. Trust in the Lord with all your heart.
This Sunday we begin a new message series Building A Better Marriage. We will explore what it means to build a better marriage by focusing on the foundation, celebrating differences, spending time together, and cultivating communication. If you’re not married, you may be wondering why you should come. I promise you that, while we will be talking about marriage, you will be able to apply the principles we will discuss to any relationship or to life in general. I hope you will join us. The best is yet to come at St. Andrew’s. I can’t wait to see you in church.