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James Dunne writes

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: V5, 6

The above verse is one of the most significant in the Bible for me, indeed you could call it one of my signature verses. In preparing to write this article I found myself reflecting on this verse and two words in particular, ‘in’ and ‘acknowledge’.

My reflections on ‘in’ were about how this word is used to describe fundamental aspects of the Christian experience. We talk about being ‘in Christ’, being ‘in the spirit’, being ‘rooted in the vine’.

The word ‘in’ emphasizes that in a general sense we are not separate from God but are in relationship with him. It also emphasizes a need for a living active expression of that relationship, a need for it to be expressed in each active moment, in the now.

How is this done? It is done through the outworking of our ‘acknowledgement’ of him. Acknowledgement means more than accepting God is there. It is about the inner workings of his teaching, through the Spirit, causing us to understand the world around us differently. It causes us to react to people and events in a different way. Over time that inner change becomes reflected in our external behaviour.

The fact we are being taught to be ‘in’ implies that there is the possibility that we may conduct part of our lives separate from him. The emphasis on acknowledging God ‘in all our ways’ implies that we may trust in God in certain areas of our life but exclude him in other areas. This exclusion maybe conscious or unconscious.

My own journey has been one of constant discovery. I have discovered I have an amazing capacity to lie to myself. I have discovered that issues in my life that I thought of as behavioural problems were really the symptoms of deeper issues within me that required God’s mercy, healing, and grace. I have come to see that the real work of Grace that God does in our lives is the healing and grace. I have come to see that the real work of Grace that God does in our lives is the healing and restoration of the inner man.

So, acknowledgement is not just about our external ways, it is about the inner man. It is about acknowledging our inner self, our hurts, our woes, before God. We then find that it is not just our external paths he makes straight, but our internal ones as well.