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The Heart of the Matter

Posted by Manson Yang on

Trust the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

Personal fitness is so popular in Hong Kong these days that if you go to gyms during lunch, they are absolutely packed! Furthermore, many people have become very conscious of how many steps they have walked in a day so they can determine if they’ve had enough exercise, while others will often check their smartphones to see if their heart rates are normal. By doing physical exercise, our physical health improves, yet difficulties in our daily lives continue to affect us mentally and emotionally.

The “heart” is an organ that the Bible talks about many times throughout the Old and New Testaments. Of course, it doesn’t refer to our physical hearts. When addressing someone who denies they’ve done something wrong or inappropriate, in Cantonese people would tell them: “Ask your heart!”

So what does the Bible mean when we read in Proverbs 3:5 to “Trust the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding?” The human heart is the place where we harbour our inner thoughts, our inner feelings, and our inner motives. It is the place where we know our naked selves and it’s where we connect with the Almighty God. We are asked in the Bible to trust the Lord with all of our heart, not seventy or ninety percent but one hundred percent.

In the same verse, we are also told not to “lean on our own understanding.” So what does the Bible mean by that? It means we cannot rely on human logic when dealing with spiritual matters. We have the tendency to reason things out in our heads before we accept them. This is part of the thinking process we’re taught in school and later in our workplace. We’re taught to ask many questions and to have an inquisitive mind. As a result of this training process and rather unknowingly, we tend to believe only in things we can figure out in our head, things we can perceive. However, the problem comes almost immediately on a spiritual level because faith involves trusting in an infinite and all-knowing God. The moment we try to apply the same reasoning method to the things we don’t understand, especially in the spiritual realm, we find our heads are simply not big enough! We’re stuck and consequently, frustrated and disappointed. This is exactly the result of “leaning on our own understanding.”

When we try to understand God with a human approach, we run the risk of reducing God to our size. We tend to believe only things we can understand and perceive, and this is where we stumble in the spiritual realm. To trust the Lord with all of our hearts and “lean not on our own understanding” is to declare that God’s ways are so much higher than ours. As it says in Isaiah 55:8, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.

We simply have to learn to let God be God, and come to Him like a child and confess in our hearts that “Lord, without You, I am nothing!” By doing so, we place our confidence in the Lord and His ways, rather than in our finite and limited ways.

Let us deal with the heart of the matter by:

  • Thanking God for knowing your heart very well and yet patiently waiting for your response to His lead.
  • Praying for God’s help to expand and strengthen your love and trust in Him each day.

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