The Principles Behind God’s Promise to Direct Us

By Jack Graham Published on May 18, 2024

“Trust in the Lord 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.” (Proverbs 3:5–6)

Few Bible passages are as well-known as this one. Many of us have made it our life verse. We meditate on its truth and seek to order our lives around its wisdom.

And yet, many Christians don’t fully understand the beauty and depth of the promises these two short verses offer. I know I didn’t. In fact, it took me years to finally grasp the power of this particular promise God makes to His people.

But just as important to understand are three principles the promise depends on. These should guide our lives every day in every decision. 

Principle 1: Trust in the Lord

This is not an optional part of the Christian life. It is the very center. Yet many of us wrestle with understanding God’s will for us.

But we need not worry, because we know our God. The Scriptures and the person of Jesus reveal to us a God whose will for us is both positive and personal.

God’s will is not a road map. It isn’t a 10-step guide to your perfect life. Instead, it’s a relationship. That is one of the most unique and beautiful things about our faith: It is relational. That’s why trust is so central to following Jesus.

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Think about it: If you can trust Jesus to save you for eternity with Him, you can trust Him in every step on your way there. He is powerful enough to give you eternal life, and yet He cares about your personal life right here, right now.

Our response to this amazing truth should be complete dedication. We must put Christ first in everything. That’s why I tell our church family about four ways we must put God first: with our time, our attention, our income, and our love. God should get the first and best of everything we have to offer. 

Principle 2: Lean on the Lord

Again, we need to remember who our God is to grasp the full extent of this promise. God is greater and wiser than us. He knows the end from the beginning. He is good and is working all things for the good of those who love Him. So why wouldn’t we lean on Him?

In this passage, God does not say we ought to lack understanding. Indeed, He has given us minds and abilities to use for His glory. But we don’t just rely on what we know. Because let’s be honest: There’s a lot we don’t know.

Yet we serve a God who knows all. His ways are higher and better than ours. That is why the Bible teaches us to ask Him for wisdom — the ability to see things from His perspective. 

Principle 3: Walk in His Will

The last premise of Proverbs 3 is our obedience. It is not enough to know and acknowledge God’s will; we must walk in it.

Walking is active. Walking requires participation. God wants to change us, to make us more like Jesus by the power of the Spirit. We must let Him transform both our heads and our hearts.

This kind of transformation requires listening. We must listen to God and allow Him to become the One who orders our steps and our stops. We must stop running ahead or lagging behind. We must walk with God, allowing ourselves to be led and corrected by the Spirit. 

The Promise: He Will Direct Your Paths

When we do these three things, we can have confidence that God will direct our paths. God has promised, and He always keeps His promises. We should not doubt Him. He gives us direction, and our job is to trust Him completely and walk forward in confidence.

I’m overcome with unexplainable peace when I consider that God will take care of my future, as long as I give it to Him. And there is tremendous freedom in knowing I don’t have to figure life out on my own.


Jack Graham is the pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church, one of the largest and fastest-growing churches in America. He is also an author, and his PowerPoint Ministries broadcasts are available in 92 countries and are heard daily in more than 740 cities.

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