Proverbs 3: Do You Lean On Your Own Understanding?

Whenever I feel overwhelmed or discouraged, one of my favorite places to go to is Proverbs 3:5–6:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight

What does it mean to lean on your own understanding?

Image courtesy of Chrisroll /

Image courtesy of Chrisroll /

Those who lean on their own understanding:

  • Depend solely on what their understanding and experience tells them
  • Rely on their own strength and abilities
  • Think they have all the answers, leaving very little room for God to intervene
  • Are narrow-minded
  • Are unteachable
  • Are wise in their own eyes

If I were to lean on my limited and myopic view of life, where would I be?

Frustrated, stressed, stuck!

When faced with challenging situations, I choose to lean on Proverbs 3: 5–6, particularly when:

  • Tasked with projects or responsibilities that carry a steep learning curve
  • Stricken with grief and can’t see a way out
  • Burdened with problems for which solutions seem rare

Comfortable with uncertainty

Leaning on God has taught me to be more comfortable with uncertainty. Even though the future is inherently unknown, Yahweh promises to make my paths straight. This is the blessing of Proverbs 3: 5–6.

I don’t claim to know it all, but one thing I know for sure is that when you lean on God, He’s always on time. He’s the way maker.

Don’t be wise in your own eyes

Proverbs 3:7 implores us “not to be wise in our own eyes.”

I am wise in my own eyes when I…

  1. Try to do what only God can do
  2. Don’t seek God’s guidance and wisdom for daily living
  3. Worry about how to control things that are in God’s control
  4. Fail to understand my limitations and do not fear God
  5. Don’t seek the counsel of trusted family and friends regarding life decisions
  6. Am critical of another person’s behavior or perspective without exploring their motives
  7. Achieve success, but don’t acknowledge God and those who supported me
  8. Fail to learn from my mistakes or from the correction/discipline of God and loved ones

Having an “I don’t know, but I can try to figure it out” attitude has liberated me from the folly of being “wise in my own eyes.” This mindset has helped me gain new skills, resilience, and adaptability. By making a conscious choice to experiment and learn, I get to expand my repertoire of tools and gain new strategies for resolving new challenges.

How have you been wise in your own eyes? What keeps you grounded?

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One thought on “Proverbs 3: Do You Lean On Your Own Understanding?

  1. Pingback: Stop Rehearsing Your Troubles | Uwana

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