A lot of Christians love to quote Proverbs 16 3. We love it because we think it means that we can have whatever we want as long as we share our plans with the Lord:
“Share your plans with the LORD, and you will succeed.”(Contemporary English Version)
We believe that if we ask God to bless our plans, all will be well:
“Ask the LORD to bless your plans, and you will be successful in carrying them out.” (Good News Translation).
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Proverbs 16 3 encourages you to commit your plans to the Lord and your thoughts will be established. But how do you give God your plans?
What is the Meaning of Proverbs 16 3?
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Proverbs 16 3 says,
Commit your works to the LORD, and your thoughts will be established.Proverbs 16:3 NKJV
On the surface, it seems to be saying all we have to do to achieve success is to give our plans to God. But let’s look a little deeper into this verse by looking at the key phrases and words in the Hebrew language.
The word translated as commit is the Hebrew gâlal, (pronounced gaw-lal’) and it can be used literally or figuratively to mean to roll.
The word translated as works is the Hebrew maʻăseh, (pronounced mah-as-eh’) and basically means an action whether bad or good. It could also refer to an activity, business, product, occupation, or work.
The word translated as thought is the Hebrew machăshâbâh, (Pronounced makh-ash-aw-baw’). It is used to refer to ones purpose, thoughts, imaginations, or intentions.
Finally, the word translated as established is the Hebrew kûwn, (pronounced koon). It means to erect or set up, arrange, establish, or prepare.
Now that we have some Hebrew under our belts, let’s look at a few word meanings in an English dictionary. We’ll be using the Oxford dictionary:
Finally, the word establish may be defined in the following ways:
Commit: pledge or bind (a person or an organization) to a certain course or policy.
Related: 3 Lessons on Commitment from Noah
The word work may be defined in the following ways:
- activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result.
- a task or tasks to be undertaken.
- be engaged in physical or mental activity in order to achieve a result; do work.
Thought may be defined as the action or process of thinking.
- set up on a firm or permanent basis.
- achieve permanent acceptance or recognition for.
- show (something) to be true or certain by determining the facts.
Okay, now that we’ve got the hard part out of the way, if we were to use the definitions above and what we now know about the original words to come up with our own translation of Proverbs 16 3, it would sound something like this:
Pledge or dedicate your use of energy, mental and physical effort to the Lord, and your way of thinking and intentions will be set up on a permanent basis.
Roll all your actions–good or bad–unto God and He will arrange your thoughts, purpose, and intentions.
I like those translations, don’t you? They suggest a dependence and commitment to God. So how do we roll our thoughts unto God and why should we?
Committing your plans to God
Giving our plans over to the Lord sounds great, especially when we know the end result is that He will establish our purposes. But as people who are sometimes unwilling to give up control or the even the appearance of it, it can be hard to let go and let God.
Why we should commit our plans to God
I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I love making plans. I like to visualize something and think of the different steps I believe will get the results I want. But often, my plans don’t work out the way I imagined them.
Something (or more likely, some things always go wrong) and pretty soon I’m left with mangled plans and broken dreams.
But here’s the thing about God, nothing surprises Him. The future is laid out before Him like a path. When we submit our plans to the Lord, He knows exactly what’s going to happen and at what time.
He’s a master planner. God has backup plans for your backup plans. For every problem you have, He has a million solutions, and He knows how each one of those situations will turn out.
I don’t know about you but I’m excited to turn my plans over to God.
5 Steps to Commit Your Way to God
So, how do you submit your plans to God?
1. Start with prayer and Bible study. I know, this is not what you thought I was going to say. But here’s the thing, if we’re going to commit the dreams of our heart to someone, we have to know them intimately. We get to know God through His Word and prayer.
As Christians, we tend to approach our quiet time like another item to check off our list. Sometimes we’re not so good at focusing on what matters. We forget to search the Scriptures to discern the character of God. We forget to pour our hearts out to Him as we invest in our relationship.
2. Give up. Stop trying to control everything. I’m not saying don’t make plans, by all means, dream, visualize, plot…but understand that at the end of the day it is God’s will that is going to prevail.
3. Expect the unexpected. When you five your plans to God, understand that things may not always turn out the way you expect it to. That’s because sometimes the dreams we have for our lives or the direction we want to go in is not what God wants for us.
There maybe times when God allows our plans to play out exactly as we had hoped though it’s not His best desire for us but that’s not always the case, especially when we give Him control over everything.
4. Expect a battle. Do you think the enemy is going to sit back and watch you take in God’s blessings? He’s not. He’s going to do everything he can to discourage you and get you to disobey and mistrust God.
Get your armor on, girl and fight for what God wants to give you.
5. Trust God. This final one may not seem like an actual step but it’s a reminder that will save you many times from falling into despair. Remembering to trust God will encourage you when you start to feel discouraged. It will remind you that though you don’t understand what He’s doing, you know He’s working on your behalf.
Commit to the Lord Whatever You Do
I don’t know about you, but I would not want some of my intentions and thoughts to be made permanent. There are negative mindsets that I’m still trying to overcome. Can you imagine if a prayer would result in these ideologies becoming permanent?
Instead, God wants His people to spend their time and their energies pursuing Him. When we do, He will change us from the inside out. He changes our sinful, earthly desires and replaces them with what He wants for us.
Thank God that’s not what this verse is saying!
Our desires become God’s desires and then, only then will we have the things we crave.
As a note: a proverb is not a promise. Rather it exposes a principle that is generally true but to which there are exceptions. When studying a proverb check if the concept or principle is repeated in Scripture.
In the case of this proverb, we see the principle repeated in Psalms 37:4. The psalmist says, “Commit your way to the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Let us roll our plans unto the Lord knowing that He has what’s best for us in mind and that He is perfect and knows everything. Share your thoughts on the meaning of Proverbs 16 3. How does it apply to us today?
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