Who do you lean on? Who’s understanding (wisdom) do you lean on? I want you to understand exactly what I am asking in our sermon for today. When we lean on something, we typically do so, physically, when we need a rest. Before we lean on anything, we will ensure that it is sturdy and can hold up our weight. When we’re leaning on something, we are depending on it and trusting that it will hold us up in that moment we need rest. In other words, whether you realize it or not, you are placing your faith in that thing.
My question has nothing to do with us physically. No, what I ask you today has everything to do with how you operate. You see, everybody has gained some wisdom over their lifetime. From the time we was born, we were raised by our parents who were our first teachers. We then went on to school and through school picking up more lessons in life along with our school education. Now, we are all adults and we live by the wisdom that we have gained in our life. We are all influenced by what we have chosen to believe in our wisdom.
The question is whether or not our understanding is of a benefit to us. Let’s take a look at this today!
What guides you?
We must start first by figuring out what exactly is our understanding: what do we really know for a fact about life? I would honestly be interested in how you would answer this question. I would admit that I don’t know what I think I know – not for a certainty. People have often commented about my faith in the Lord and how they “can’t have that kind of faith”. I don’t believe my faith is any more unique than the faith that anybody else can gain.
That being said, I had questions and the Lord answered the questions that I had. I would tell you that God is my guide. If there’s any understanding that I am going to lean on, it is going to be the Lord’s understanding. I
“I” am my own guide
Some of you may be the same exact way; you are full in your faith and know that you need to lean on God. However, if we’re honest, not everybody thinks or believes this same thing, right? Where I will say that I trust in the Lord, another will say, “I trust in myself“. Let me explain this further so that I can be clear on what this means.
There are many people that will say, “I made it on my own.” They will say, “I got myself up this morning; I washed and clothed myself; I got to work and did the work; I bought the car that got me to work. I pay the rent or bought my house and pay the bills.” One more final thing that they will add to all of this: “I have made it this far without God, why do I need Him now?”
This is a belief that many people have. What we choose to believe sets our morals and our standards for living. In other words, what we believe becomes our roadmap on this journey of life. The question, however, is whether or not our understanding is a benefit to us. The “I am” wisdom that many have developed is now going up against God who said, “I AM”. Which understanding (wisdom) is to the best benefit for us?
Man’s I am vs God’s I AM
Who do you lean on? Who’s understanding do you lean on and live by? My key verse for this sermon comes from Proverbs 3.
This is a very familiar and very popular scripture. When I was preparing this sermon and read this proverb, there were a few questions that came to my mind. Why should we not lean on our own understanding? Where will our understanding take us or lead us if we choose to lean on it over the Lord’s understanding? We are going to have to compare our understanding against the Lord’s understanding to be able to understand why King Solomon said this.
The benefit of leaning on the Lord’s understanding
Let’s first take a look at the benefit of leaning on the Lord’s understanding. What do we gain by leaning on the Lord? Solomon writes that if we acknowledge the Lord that God will direct our path (Prov. 3:6). To acknowledge the Lord means you understand that you need Him and you then depend on Him. When we choose to lean on the Lord, God steps out in front of us and guides us through this life. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a great benefit to me. Let’s not stop with this one benefit.
Solomon then wrote that if we lean on the Lord’s understanding, it will be health to our flesh and strength to our bones (Prov. 3:8). You may ask, “what does this mean?” When we choose to lean on the Lord’s understanding, we rest easy in the Lord instead of being stressed. You see, when you have to do everything all on your own, there’s nobody to hold you up to give you rest. So, leaning on the Lord is absolutely good for you physically and mentally.
Solomon also said that leaning on the Lord will be strength to our bones. Our bones are to our bodies what roots are for plants. When our bones breakdown, we would become physically unable to do many things. Walking would be a struggle with bone problems. However, we are not simply physical beings – we are spiritual beings! Our soul (spirit) can also be equated to a root system, after all, the soul is the foundation of who we are. When are soul breaks, we break. Well, when we lean on the Lord, God strengthens our soul! Rest and a strong soul sounds like great benefits to me!
The benefits of mankind’s “I am” mentality
Scripture does not provide a benefit of this type of mentality beyond the riches of this world. As I preached last Sunday, there are many people who are fine with simply gaining the riches of the world. However, even in the world, it would be foolish to try and take on everything all alone. Having nobody to lean on in hard times would be awful. Even worse, having nobody to celebrate with would be depressing.
Scripture shares several warnings against choosing to lean on your own understanding over the Lord’s understanding, and I will share these warnings with you. The first and biggest example of a warning against this mentality is Lucifer. Satan grew to be so wise in his own eyes that he truly believed he could raise himself above the Lord (Is. 14:14). Again, there are many people who now believe their wisdom has superseded the Lord’s wisdom.
Solomon, a man of wisdom, warned, “do not be wise in your own eyes” (Prov. 3:7). Let’s note that Solomon hints that there is an evil to being wise in your own eyes.
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil.Proverbs 3:7 NKJV
Solomon does not stop there! He does not mince words when he calls living this way foolish.
26 He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But whoever walks wisely will be delivered.Proverbs 28:26 NKJV
So what is Solomon’s reasoning for saying these things? He boils it all down to what happens when we choose to be ignorant of the Lord.
12 There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.Proverbs 14:12 NKJV
Ignoring the Lord
Being wise in your own eyes, may seem absolutely right, however, this train of thought puts your way over the Lord’s way. In other words, you are choosing to ignore God. Ignoring the Lord means you are ignoring the Lord’s love, His forgiveness, and His salvation – His gospel. Choosing not to have faith in the Lord is a sin that the Lord does not forgive.
I have spoken with and seen several people who believe their way of thinking is bigger. Honestly, this way of thinking is actually shrunken down to simply your wisdom alone. There are many people who will say, “I have made it this far and have not died or had anything tragic happen.” Understand, the death that Solomon is talking about is a spiritual death and destruction, not physical.
No benefit to us
Leaning on our own understanding over the Lord’s understanding is of no benefit to us. We must be honest and admit that God’s understanding is far greater than our understanding. Our understanding is mostly just an inkling, whereas the Lord’s understanding is a certainty. Living without leaning on the Lord’s understanding comes with stress and no rest.
However, if we choose to lean on the Lord, Jesus said:
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.Matthew 11:28 NKJV
To enjoy this wonderful benefit, we must learn to let go of our understanding and trust in the Lord’s understanding (wisdom). We must learn to lean on God. Again, trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on what you think you know.