“Trust in the Lord with All Your Heart” - Meaning of Proverbs 3:5
Proverbs 3:5 is one of the most familiar verses in the Bible. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Yet, there seems to be an obvious question for the reader. What does it mean to trust the Lord “with all your heart”?
“Trust in the Lord…”
Let’s look at some of the terminology used in Proverbs 3:5. The word “trust” here implies confidence or security. It is a concept that is associated with firmness or something that is solid or secure, according to The Hebrew-Greek Study Bible. Simply stated, we can put our confidence or security in the Lord because we know that He can be trusted. That’s exactly why Hebrews 11:1 says that trust, or our faith in God has “substance.”
We get that. Our God is real – and He is certainly all-powerful, and He is absolutely loving. We can absolutely trust Him. He has substance. His Word and His promises are secure. We can and do put our trust in Him.
“…with all your heart…”
The word “heart” in Proverbs 3:5 is an old English concept that was used to refer to the ruling center of the whole person. The heart was seen as the center of a person’s will, mind, and feelings. It does not mean the physical, life-sustaining organ that distributes the flow of blood throughout the body. When the Bible uses this term “heart” it usually indicates the control center of life.
That brings us to the word “all.” An old cliché fits this verse, “All means all; and that’s all ‘all’ means.” The idea of trusting the Lord “with all our heart” adds some quantitative detail to our faith.
When someone uses the phrase “with all your heart” it means there is no more room for anyone or anything else. For years, some Christ followers have encouraged others to be “sold out for Christ.” What is understood by that phrase was if someone was sold out in their faith in Christ there would be no more room to love or trust anyone or anything else.
That’s the focus of the statement, “trusting the Lord with all your heart.” It means that we have put our faith and trust alone in the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We have given Him His rightful claim to the throne of our lives and there is no room for anyone or anything else to have that place in our lives.
“…and lean not on your own understanding.”
The last half of Proverbs 3:5, (“And lean not on your own understanding”) helps us understand the real implications of the word “all.” If we are giving the Lord complete command over our lives, then we won’t rely or depend on our “own understanding.” We will trust in Him for everything and not try to figure things out or make things work on our own.
What the New Testament Says about Trusting in the Lord
Notice what the Bible says in Romans 10:9, “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (NASB) The readers of this theologically important book were encouraged to confess “Jesus as Lord.” They were to give Him absolute control over their lives. They were acknowledging that Jesus is indeed Lord – with the power and authority to be in charge. They were giving their lives and their hearts completely to Him.
The next phrase in that verse makes that clear. The readers were instructed to “believe in your heart.” Their response was to be one of complete and full belief or trust in Jesus as Lord by believing or trusting in the gospel message of good news that He was the resurrected Christ. (See 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.) The result of that decision is that they would be “saved.” But, that’s much more than an escape from Hell, it’s a life of allowing Christ to be Lord of our lives and trusting Him with everything we have. It’s living a life sold out to Him.
What Are Practical Ways to Trust in the Lord with All Your Heart?
Here are some practical action steps for people to learn what it means to trust in the Lord with all their hearts.
1. Put your faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as your own personal savior.
The first step toward trusting the Lord with all our hearts is to accept His free gift of eternal life. Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price for our sins. The price was the shed blood of Christ on the cross for us. (See 1 Peter 1:18-19.)
This is what Christ told the religious leader in the familiar verse, John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” The English word “believes” here means to put our complete trust in Him. We can trust the Lord with all our hearts because He is the only one Who can provide eternal life.
2. Live a life of surrender to Christ as the Lord and Master of your life.
The greatest hindrance to trusting the Lord with all our hearts will probably be the desire to live for ourselves instead of the Lord. Romans 12:1-2 can help us understand why this surrender to Christ is so important:
“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
It is imperative for all believers to be “living sacrifices,” putting ourselves on the altar of sacrifice and allowing Christ to be on the throne of our lives as Lord. If we are going to trust the Lord with all our hearts, we will give ourselves completely and unreservedly to Him.
3. Stay close to the Lord and allow Him to continue building your faith in Him.
Romans 10:17 tells us the real source of our ability to trust the Lord with all our hearts, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” God Himself is the source of that trust and He provides it through His Word. If we desire to trust Him with all our hearts, we will make a commitment to study His Word and to follow His direction. (See James 1:22.)
Followers of Christ can be sold out for the Lord. The Lord Himself has provided all the resources we need to be totally reliant upon Him, and if we are trusting Him with all our heart, there’s no room for anything else to be in control. He is!
Photo Credit: Getty/Pexels/Engin Akyurt
Mel Walker is the president of Vision For Youth, Inc., an international network of youth ministry, and he is also is the youth pastor at Wyoming Valley Church in Wilkes-Barre, PA. Mel has been actively involved in various aspects of youth ministry for over 40 years. He is also an author, speaker, and a consultant with churches. More information about his speaking and writing ministry can be found at www.GoingOnForGod.com. Mel has written 12 books on various aspects of youth ministry, plus he speaks to hundreds of teenagers and parents each year. Mel & Peggy Walker are the parents of 3 adult children—all of whom are in vocational ministry. You can follow him on Twitter: @vfyouth.