I am the true vine and my Father is the vinedresser. John 15:1
Just a few years ago, a small peach tree was planted at the home of my in-laws. My uncle, with a futuristic twinkle in his eyes, explained to me how each of the branches would grow. The following year, I watched as the tree was pruned. The branches, some barely more than twigs, were considered and selected. Some branches were left; others were removed. Now, after careful feeding and watering, the tree is large and productive. The sun is setting on a summer evening as I write this on an outdoor patio. The tree sits to my left with its lush green leaves shading branches heavy with ripening peaches. God has designed for us to be fruitful and productive as vines under his care. Even as the tree or the vine has its growth guided by the manipulation of the caretaker, so God wants to direct us. How can we discern his leading?
Solomon was a wise man, and he sought to share his wisdom with generations to follow. In the third chapter of his Proverbs, he passed on principles to instruct us in how to avail ourselves of God's guidance. he tells us, in verse 5, to trust in God fully. Certainly, our initial relationship with God was entered by faith, and it is by faith that we continue with him. We must believe that God does indeed know what is best for us and that he will, as he promised, reveal directions to us. Trust in God must be complete; it rules out the possibility of leaning on our own human understanding.
While trust him as we're seeking guidance, we must also talk to God. 'Acknowledge him'. instructed Solomon. We should openly admit that it is God who is giving the directions. We should acknowledge God's presence in our daily lives. Whether we're making major career decisions or trivial choices, God is with us. He has promised that he will be with us always, and that we may abide in him. We should remain cognizant of his daily involvement in our lives.
Trusting in him and talking with him, we can then take from him. He will give us straight paths. We should accept them and walk in them. He will provide for us; we have the privilege of taking from him. As we delight in him, he will do his will.
Thus, Solomon has advised us -- trusting in him, talking with him, and taking from him, we can enjoy clear direction and guidance from God. Like a healthy peach tree, we can grow and be productive in him.
His is like a tree planted by streams of water,
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither;
and in all that he does, he prospers. (Ps 1:3).
Further reading: Jn 15:1-14. Pr 3:5-6. Ps 137:4-5.