We develop our own understanding of things in almost every sphere of life that we are exposed to through our learning, our experiences, our relationships, through the books we read, and, in fact, through everything that we are surrounded by. And once we have an understanding of things, then we start to depend on what our understanding and experience tells us. We then become wise in our own eyes thinking that we know everything on the concerned issue or subject and we leave very little space for God to help us. The understanding we have and the knowledge we possess many times causes us to be proud and even to look down on others. Proverbs 3 : 1 – 12 says, 1 My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands;
2 For length of days and long life, And peace they will add to you.
3 Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart,
4 And so find favor and high esteem, In the sight of God and man.
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil.
8 It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.
9 Honor the LORD with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase;
10 So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine.
11 My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor detest His correction;
12 For whom the LORD loves He corrects,
Just as a father the son in whom he delights.
In verse 5 we are told not to lean on our ‘own understanding’ and in verse 7 we are told not to be wise our ‘own eyes’. Leaning on our understanding and being wise in our own eyes go together. It is because we think we are smart, intelligent and wise that we trust our own understanding; and it is because we have our own independent understanding of things that we start thinking of ourselves as wise. But the Bible makes it clear that both of these are absolutely foolish. What the Lord wants from us is that we trust in Him completely and depend on His wisdom completely.
We like to lean on our own understanding and reasoning because we have reached a particular understanding through our experience or through a lot of research and we are sure that we cannot be wrong because we have taken time to understand it. But, whatever the case, God is very clear, ‘… lean not on your own understanding’. No matter how many years we have taken to understand a certain thing or what pain we have gone through to understand something, if we have not depended on God and His word to understand it, we could still be wrong. We could be proud and boastful about what we know and understand, we can be wise in our own eyes and may be even in the eyes of the world, but if we are not wise in the eyes of God of what use is it?
God wants us not to trust in our own selves or in our own understanding; He wants us to trust in Him. Though we may be very smart and intelligent and have a lot of experience in various aspects of life, God does not want us to trust in what we have learnt or understood. He does not want us to lean towards it. He does not want us to be even slightly inclined towards our own selves. Even though we may seem to have the best understanding of things, God’s understanding is always better. He wants us to trust Him and not ourselves because He can see things that we cannot see; He understands things that we do not understand; He has plans for our lives that we cannot even comprehend. Whether it is concerning a job we plan to take up, the house we plan to buy, the car we plan to buy or any such thing, we are not to depend on our own understanding of things but we are to depend on God through prayer and trust Him and ask Him to lead us.
We cannot have our own understanding concerning even our own lives. The plan for our lives, the purpose for our lives, its meaning, its destiny and end cannot be a matter of our own imagination or speculation. It cannot be based on some theory of some scientist. It cannot be based on a philosophy of some famous worldly thinker or religious leader. It cannot be based upon some famous book. It cannot be based upon own intellectual thinking. It cannot be based on some ‘New Way of Thinking’. There are many teachers, religious leaders and authors today who speak about what they think of ‘life’; most of what they believe and speak is nonsense and foolishness because it has nothing to do with what God has already revealed to us in His word, the Bible. We may even have our own individual understanding of ‘life’; it might sound good but it’s foolishness if God does not approve of it. Your understanding of life has to be based upon the book of books – the Bible. Philosophies can differ and theories can be many, but God is the author of all life and He knows what it is truly about; He knows the plan for your life, the purpose for your life, its meaning, its destiny and the end. Most of it is already revealed in the Bible. Certain individually specific issues that are not clear, God will reveal to you as you trust in Him and walk with Him.
More than all of these, we can never afford to have our ‘own understanding’ concerning GOD. Who God is – His nature, His ways, His truths, His desires, His way of salvation and so much more that concerns HIM – is already revealed very very clearly in the Bible. God has spoken through the centuries through His servants, through His prophets, and finally through His own Son Jesus, concerning everything that we need to know about Him, and all of that is clearly stated in the Bible. Most people today have their own explanations of who God is. They have their own explanations of how He will save us. They have their own explanations about heaven and hell. They have their own explanations as to who will go to heaven and who will go to hell. When all of these truths are clearly revealed in the Bible, much of it spoken from the mouth of Jesus Himself, why should we have our own imaginations and understandings about these facts?
Today, man is deciding the way of salvation. Jesus said:
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6
Jesus said, ‘“I am the way… No one comes to the Father (God) except through Me. “, then why should we think that there is some other way to God. Famous church leaders, preachers and theologians are trying to have a ‘broader’ perspective by saying that there are other ways by which man can be saved other than through Jesus. They are trying to be wise in their own eyes and in the eyes of the world. How can they say that they believe in Jesus and then not believe the very words that came out Jesus’ mouth? Why nullify the work of Jesus and His word because of our own understanding? Many church leaders, preachers, leaders of other religions and famous personalities on television shows are constantly saying that it is enough for a man to live with sincerity, honesty and goodness to be saved. Even you might believe it because it sounds very reasonable and just to ‘your understanding’. But Jesus, the Lord and God we worship never said that!!!
John the Baptist speaking of Jesus said:
“He who believes in the Son (Jesus) has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on Him” John 3:36
“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:18.
You decide who is right, Jesus or these famous world figures. You decide who is right, you or Jesus!
Jesus preached many times on heaven and hell, so we can be sure that there is a heaven and hell. In all His preaching Jesus never mentioned ‘purgatory’ even once, so we can be absolutely sure that there is no such thing! And God has declared clearly that there is only one way to be saved from hell and eternal damnation and that is by believing in Jesus His only Son, whom He sent into the world. There is no other way or method to be saved. The Bible is clear that man cannot be saved by his good works or by just living according to his conscience (Eph 2:8,9 ,Isaiah 64:6, Romans 3: 20,21). It is important for one who believes in Jesus to be good, to do good works and to live according to his conscience and according to the word of God but he is not saved through any of that. He is saved only through His faith in Jesus as the Son of God and as his only savior. The thief who was crucified next to Jesus had no good works to boast of, but in his dying moments, he believed in Jesus as the Son of God, and so, Jesus said the thief would be with Him in paradise.
Trust Him and take Him at His word. Trusting God does not mean only to depend on Him when we are in trouble; it has to do more with trusting Him as a person and believing him in the things that He has said. Of what use is it if you tell some one that you trust him and then you do not believe anything that he says? So, when we are told to trust Him with all our hearts and not to lean on our own understanding, it means that we should not believe our own selves and our reasoning more but that we should believe all that God has said and depend on Him completely. Let’s not keep to our own understanding about God and His ways, let’s trust God with all our heart and take Him at His word. Let’s not be led astray by leaders, people and authors of books who give us their ‘own understanding’ of Jesus and His ways but rather let’s believe Jesus who is our true shepherd. The son of God did not leave heaven and come down to the earth to tell us a bunch of lies! He is Truth and He came to tell us the truth, as it is. It might not sound good to human reasoning or understanding but it is God’s reasoning and understanding. Trust Him. Believe Him.
We have to read and study the Bible, which is the WORD OF GOD, in order to know what God says about every issue concerning life – about Himself, about life, about marriage, about raising up children, about morals and ethics, about authorities and so much more… We have to submit what we have learnt and understood to what God has said.
12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. (Heb 4 : 12 – 13)
The word of God is living and powerful. As we diligently study God’s word, which is sharper than a double edged sword, it will expose our wrong thinking and our wrong understanding. It will judge our thoughts and motives. If what we believe is not according to God’s word, we have to change. We have to be open to be taught by God. We cannot be proud about who we are and stay arrogant and stubborn about what we believe. It is more important to agree with and believe what God says than to agree with and believe what people say. On the last day we will stand before God for judgment, not people!
Therefore, do not be wise in your own eyes and lean not on your own understanding, trust in what the Lord has said with all your heart!