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—NKJV)

The Christian life is nothing if it is not a relationship with your Lord and Master. All solid relationships are built on one simple principle—trust. The English word derives its meaning from firmness. It means firm belief or confidence in the honesty, integrity, reliability, and justice of another person or thing.

One of our family conversations around the dinner table, when my children were in grade school, centered on the subject of trust. I remember asking them the question, “What thing does our family have that cannot be seen, yet it is so important that if it is damaged or missing we lose our family?” The young minds worked and worked and we finally decided that it is the quality of trust. Is it any wonder that in the relationship of the Christian life, trust figures so significantly? Faith is believing what God says; it is simple trust in His Word. In any rock-solid relationship, trust is a significant, unseen underpinning, and when anything is done to chip away at it, reducing its firm reliability, then the relationship must suffer and devolve.

Trust figures greatly in the believer’s ability to discern God’s will. Interestingly, a new study compares this new generation of Millennials to the two preceding generations—the Baby Boomers during the eighties and the Gen-Xers of the 90’s. Apparently, despite the Cold War bombing drills, the Vietnam War debacle, the resignation of a president, the predictions of a new ice age, and the terrible economy of the late seventies, a third of Baby Boomer high school seniors agreed that “most people can be trusted.” Among the Gen-Xers, the number willing to extend trust was reduced to a little less than one in five. Among Millennials, willingness to trust others is at a new low of 16%.

Millennials tend to trust themselves and feel positively about themselves as individuals, but do not trust others. The reason why appears not to be a worsening world and culture, but rather a disconnect from other people on a “local level.” They seem to know a lot about other people far afield from themselves, who will never know them (celebrities, etc.), but do not really know the people right down the street from where they live. Though they have the social media, each complete with their strangely impersonal aura, they do not have the multigenerational connectedness of “civic” interaction.

Is it any wonder that Christian young people reckon their own understanding with a higher weight than their predecessors when it comes to discerning God’s will and direction in their lives? It is sadly a natural thing for Millennials to trust heavily in themselves while tolerating a disconnection from God’s ways and His people in their deliberations. One shudders to think of the spiritual deficits of future generations if all things remain the same in this downward trend of knowing how and Whom to trust.

For comparison’s sake, I believed that God led me into the pastoral ministry at a young age. My confidence in myself, or, more accurately, the decided lack of it, made me pursue the opinions and prayers of others. To this day I count the commitment to pray for me by godly people of far superior weight than my own convincing, and the call of a local church to their pulpit rather than my decades of experience as the affirmation of God’s will for me.

The text has four imperative statements for anyone who is desirous of discerning the unadulterated will of God for his life. You must have Exclusive Trust—“Trust in the Lord with all your heart!” Cling to Him; He is the LORD Jehovah, the covenant-keeping God (Psalm 37:3, 5; Proverbs 22:19, 28:25). This is a far cry from trusting in myself and my own discriminating tastes, best guesses, good feelings, and motivating fears. Therefore the believer must avoid the Exclusive Prohibition—“lean not on your own understanding.” As an ancient king would lean upon his advisors, or a soldier would lean upon his spear for support in weary moments between skirmishes, the believer must not balance his future upon his own deliberations. Instead, he must own an Exclusive Allegiance—“In all your ways acknowledge Him.” In all of life’s undertakings, both private and public, he must know and recognize God’s sovereign right of either approval or cancelation over all his actions. He also bows to the fact that God may choose to further or to impede his efforts; nevertheless he clings to His God. His chief purpose is to please his heavenly Father. Finally, he is promised Exclusive Care—“and He shall direct your paths.” God will make your way straight and level, removing the obstacles. Such is the leading of the Lord! The Christian life is a relationship built on trust; know Him and be known by Him (Jeremiah 9:23–24)!

If you would have God’s perfect will, you must yield exclusively to His sovereign right. Trust and obey.