It’s hard to know where to begin.
So much has happened during this summer’s blog break that it is difficult to put it into words. I was talking with a friend the other day about all I have learned because of these past several weeks.
To sum it up, I am now more than ever a 3, 5, and 6 Christian.
I’ll explain what I mean by that.
Two months of change
I’ve usually been an organized person with plans. It’s just my nature. But the last two months have been beyond my ability to control.
Jim and I got married in 1980. We have moved eight times. We have kept some of our “stuff” since 1980.
So, to put our home on the market with “organized” closets, drawers, etc. was no small task. We sold or gave away a LOT of stuff but still had a LOT of stuff to move. Forty-three years of marriage provides ample time to accumulate things we want but no longer need or use. It was painful to let some things go, yet liberating at the same time. Not that I let everything go. I packed one box that made our movers laugh because I labeled it “Junk I don’t need but want to keep.”
We sold our home and bought another. We vacated one home a month before we were able to move in to the next. I’ve got some stories to tell about our rental home that month. Let’s just say the shower could randomly jump from too hot to too cold for no apparent reason. The water pressure was lacking, and the bed reminded me of the many times when I was a kid and had rolled off my air mattress while camping only to wake up on the hard ground. When we were finally able to move into our new place and sleep in our own bed, we thought we were the luckiest people in the world.
We took a vacation we had already committed to one week after moving in. That wasn’t that great. It was nice to rest, but we really just wanted to finish moving into our new home and feel settled. But all is well now.
We still have a few boxes to go, but they can wait. We have joined a church as “members” rather than “pastoring” for the first time since 1982. (Yes, we were about twenty-three when we went to pastor our first church!) Hi to everyone at New Hope Baptist Church in Mansfield!!
I’m not kidding, it is really different—and really sweet to sit with my husband in the pew! I’ve always joked with people about the fact that my husband never came with me to Sunday school because he “had to work” every Sunday.
What does all of this have to do with 3, 5, and 6 Christianity?
Because it is that standard for faith that has carried me through two really, really difficult months— with joy, hope, and a renewed trust in the sovereign guidance of God when we trust him to lead.
You want to be a 3, 5, and 6 Christian
The older I get, the more I am able to walk in the wisdom of Proverbs 3:5–6. I have always had a firm, convinced certainty in the existence of God. Some would say that is faith, but I would call that incomplete faith. It has taken me a lot of years to grow to become a 3, 5, and 6 Christian.
Proverbs 3:5 and 6 is a well-known, often quoted passage. That verse in the ESV version says, “Trust in the Lᴏʀᴅ with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
This is what time has taught me about that beloved passage:
- Trusting God requires “all” your heart.
We don’t fully trust God unless we keep him in the top spot. I trust a lot of people a lot of the time. God is the only One I can trust all the time, with all of my heart.
- How do you know if you trust God with all of your heart?
The Proverb answers that question: You “don’t lean on your own understanding.” God has given us an amazing ability to think and reason. We are supposed to make plans and choices and think for ourselves. But only until we aren’t supposed to lean on those abilities.
I’ve often said, “No committee or rational person would have told the nation of Israel to step into the Red Sea, cross the Jordan at flood stage, or trust a man as Messiah who died on a cross. There will be times in life when trusting God means we have to lay down our good, practical ideas and faithfully step into his perfect, and sometimes perfectly unorthodox, will.
- What does the Proverb mean by “In all your ways acknowledge him”?
It means simply, in every choice, know his will; know he is God and we are not. Know that it might make sense and it might not. Know that his ways are higher than ours and we should want his higher ways. In each circumstance, “know” God. Know his word, his will, and his direction through his Holy Spirit.
Why is this so important?
- That is how God makes our paths “straight.” That is how God directs our lives.
Do you trust God completely?
Trusting God as I taught above never comes naturally. Time, experience, successes, and failures provide concrete evidence that 3, 5, and 6 Christianity is not just a good way to go, it is the best and most joy-filled way to live our lives until heaven.
It has taken a lot of years for me to learn to trust God’s sovereign, perfect will, but it gets easier with each passing season of life. Again, how can you become a 3, 5, and 6 Christian?
Trust in the Lord with “all” your heart. Trusting God is like trusting a bridge. We can just believe it will carry us to the other side or we can step onto it and learn from experience that it is worthy of our trust.
We can “lean” on a lot of things, but we don’t lean on God until we choose not to lean on other things instead of him.
We can know and appreciate a lot about God, or we can “know” God and acknowledge the perfection of his character. We can know God so well that we recognize his will and guidance.
When we know and trust God, he will direct our paths and make the choices ahead clear.
God led us to make major changes, for his good purpose
We have moved our lives, but our ministry is still the same. Our office is still in Dallas. Our calling is to continue to write, teach, and help others live with biblical truth and kingdom purpose for their lives. Proverbs 3:5–6 has carried us through a tough season and into the next. We serve a great and mighty God. We can trust his perfection.
What ideas, choices, or needs do you need to lay at the feet of Jesus today, trusting him as your perfect guide?
He is ready to listen and ready to lead. If you will be a 3, 5, and 6 Christian, He WILL direct your path!
I’m still surprised to wake up in Tyler, Texas, each morning to a beautiful sunrise out our back window. We trusted God, and he made our path straight. We are blessed by his perfect love.