Proverbs is full of principles to live by. It’s an incredible book for those interested in principled living. By principled living I’m talking about living our lives on purpose and not by chance. The book of Proverbs is full of probabilities and wisdom that show us how to live, what to avoid, and where to place our priorities.

One of the more famous Proverbs is found in 3:5-8 where we read, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.”

While the meaning of these words is clear to understand, living them out is another matter. Notice 4 principles we are challenged to follow on an ongoing basis:

  1. Trust in the Lord with all of your heart. It is easy for us to “be wise in our own eyes” and trust in ourselves. The wise person, Proverbs teaches us, places their trust and life in the Lord, with their whole heart. He is all-wise and all-knowing and will help point us in the right direction if we trust in Him, consult Him, and follow Him.
  2. Lean not on your own understanding. When we don’t trust in the Lord with all of our heart we tend to lean on our own limited, myopic, short-sighted, and insufficient understanding. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out that trusting in God’s unlimited knowledge is far better than leaning on our own extremely limited understanding.
  3. Acknowledge God always and in all things. The rest of this part of the scripture says that when we do this He will direct our paths. This is the idea of abiding in Christ, walking with Jesus, living in relationship with the Lord. Living a life where we are in regular conversation with Him, asking for His wisdom, consulting and acknowledging Him, and trusting Him to show us the way. This is the very best way forward.
  4. Fear the Lord and shun evil. To fear is to revere. To honor and respect the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, Proverbs tells us. So we honor Christ, run from evil, and when we do He will bring blessing to our lives (“health to your body and nourishment to your bones”). God wants to bless us but we need to live in obedience to Him and His instruction.

This is how we live on purpose and not by chance. We trust Him, not ourselves. We acknowledge Him and obey his commands. The result? A blessed life. And everyone wants to experience a blessed life. Principled living is the key, and Proverbs shows us how.