Chapter 1.
Proverbs On an All Out Effort, Giving 100% or Doing Your Best

Since I can remember, my parents stressed to me to do my best in whatever I was doing. Do it right to the best of your ability. My best may not be as good as others, but I am trying my hardest to do what is right and do it good. We are to give a 100% effort in everything we do, not 99.9%. Do your realize that if 99.9% is good enough:

As you can see, 99.9% is not good enough. All throughout the Bible, we are encouraged to do our best for the Lord and give Him a 100% effort in examining ourselves, living a godly life, a being a dedicated servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.

* 2 Peter 3:14—Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

* 2 Timothy 2:15—Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

* Acts 20:27—For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.

It takes little effort to live the Christian life half-heartedly. Anyone can do this. On the other hand, to discipline yourself, to maintain self control over your passion, to work hard when you are weak or tired, to be patient when you feel impatient, to bite your tongue when you want to tell someone off, takes your best effort and total surrender of your heart to the Lord. When we explore the book of Proverbs, we find important principles about doing our best.

I. Do Your Best in Your Relationship with the Lord

1. Your Reliance or Trust Should Be in the Lord

* Proverbs 3:5—Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

Solomon challenges us to "trust" in the Lord with ALL, 100% of our heart. What does he mean by this? The word "trust" is from the Hebrew word batach {baw-takh'}. This word in this setting means "to have a bold confidence in the Lord to the point of being careless or carefree because you know that God is in control and caring for you." This is the kind of faith or trust that a little child has in his parents. In fact, Jesus spoke of this kind of faith.

* Matthew 18:3—And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

We are to trust in the Lord with all our heart. It is to be our best effort. This challenge is most fitting because we struggle at times to totally trust in Him. Our faith wains because of discouragement, doubt, dismay, disillusionment, and a defeated spirit. When we struggle to trust in the Lord, then we tend to trust in something else such as ourselves or other people.

We also miss out on the blessings that God has for us because we fail to trust in Him by faith. Our lack of faith causes us to miss out on God's demonstration of His power and provision. We miss those experiences that build our faith and give us the opportunity to tell others what He did for us.

Stories of God's provision build our faith when we hear others share what the Lord did for them and how He answered their prayers. When we fail to wait on the Lord and trust in Him, we rob ourselves of stories of faith that we can share with others. We rob ourselves of being an encouragement and ministering to people that need challenged or encouraged.

Israel's fear in entering the Promised Land because of the giants, cost them forty years of wandering in the wilderness and the death of hundreds of thousands of men. The funeral rate for forty years was one every twenty minutes.

Many people have adopted the attitude of Thomas, "If I don't see it, I won't believe it." Such thinking is not faith at all. It says, "I have to be in control. I cannot trust another or something I cannot see."

These kinds of folks struggle through life because there are many situations where they are not in control and cannot see the end of the tunnel. They lean on their own understanding, even when they are confused, ignorant, or foolish. This is when they get into big trouble because they make bad decisions. This is why Solomon told us to not lean upon our own understanding. Beloved, there will be times in your life when you will not understand what is going on or what to do. If you are faced with this predicament, it is vital that you are trusting in the One who does know what is going on and what to do.

What are the blessings that you will enjoy when you truly trust in the Lord? How does trusting in Him affect me? The Bible provides the answers.

* The Benefits of Trusting in the Lord

The Bible places great emphasis on the issue of "trust." This word appears in a variety of forms in 188 verses of the Bible. The book of Psalms alone contains seventy verses that deal with the matter of "trust." When we look through the Bible, we find that it is important where we place our trust and the blessings of putting our trust in God. Here are nine benefits of trusting in the Lord.

A. Security

When we trust in the Lord, we have a sense of security because we are entrusting our lives to Him. We are in His care.

* 2 Samuel 22:3—The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.

* Psalm 18:30—As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.

* Psalm 91:2-I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

B. The Surrender of Your Life to Him

People want to be in control of their lives, but many times, we face situations where we are out of control. We are helpless. God wants us to get to the point where we turn over our lives to Him and His care. He want us to have implicit faith in Him. Trusting in the Lord will help you get to the point of complete surrender. This is why Job was able to endure the trials he faced.

* Job 13:15—Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.

C. Serenity and Joy

Trusting in the Lord not only gives you security, but the joy, peace or serenity that goes with it.

* Psalm 5:11—But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.

* Psalm 40:4—Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

D. Someone to Seek and Turn to in Need

The reason why many folks face despair today is they have no one to turn to when they are afraid, confused, helpless, or in trouble. This is not true of the Christian who is relying on God. We can take our burden to the Lord. We have someone who hears our prayers and will direct our lives if we will let Him. He knows our needs even before we ask Him.

* Isaiah 58:9a—Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am....

* Isaiah 65:24—And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.

* Psalm 16:1—Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust.

E. Strength and Support

When we trust in the Lord, He provides strength for our weakness. His strength may be spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, or financial, but He provides what we need for what we are facing in the present. Because of His provision, we can commit our life to Him. He will care for us.

* Psalm 18:2—The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

* Psalm 37:5—Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

* Psalm 54:4—Behold, God is mine helper: the Lord is with them that uphold my soul.

F. Stout-Hearted Ness or Courage

* Psalm 56:3—What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.

G. Stability

Our stability comes from the Lord when our life is rocked by turbulence, stinging surprises, and unexpected waves of woe that knock us off of our feet. The psalmist urges us to be careful where we place our trust. People and the government cannot meet your every need, but God can supply the true needs that you have in your life.

* Psalm 118:8-9... It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. [9] It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.

* Philippians 4:19—But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

H. Safety

* Proverbs 29:25—The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.

* Proverbs 30:5—Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

I. Salvation

When we put our trust in the Lord for our salvation, He promises to cleanse and forgive us. He promises eternal life to those who trust in Him.

* Isaiah 12:2—Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.

* 1 Timothy 4:10—For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. Have you put your faith in Christ?

When we trust in the Lord with ALL of our heart, when we have a 100% attitude of trust in God, we develop a variety of different kinds of trust or faith in our own lives. We see this by studying the issue of trust or faith in the Scriptures and how that faith affected God's people.

* Our Best Effort in Trusting God Develops Different Kinds of Trust

A. Compliant Trust

Noah by faith believed God's warning of a worldwide flood and followed His instructions implicitly on how to prepare for the judgment to come. He trusted the Lord's word with ALL of his heart.

* Genesis 7:5—And Noah did according unto ALL that the Lord commanded him.

God commanded Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice to the Lord. Abraham wholeheartedly obeyed and trusted the Lord, that He would provide a lamb for the sacrifice.

* Genesis 22:7-8.... And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

B. Confident Trust

Abraham's was confident that the Lord would provide a wife for Isaac. God would put this woman in the path of his servant who would search for her in his homeland and she would return with him. He was right.

* Genesis 24:7—The Lord God of heaven, which took me from my father's house, and from the land of my kindred, and which spake unto me, and that swore unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land; he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence.

Rachel had a confident trust in the Lord. God gave her a son, Joseph, which means "adding." She had a confident trust that the Lord was going to give her another son and He did.

* Genesis 30:24—And she called his name Joseph; and said, The Lord shall add to me another son.

Elijah had confident trust in God's provision for the poverty-stricken widow if she would die to herself, submit to his request, and by faith, prepare her final bits of food for Elijah. She demonstrated her confident faith in the Lord by sacrificing her final morsels and obeying Elijah. God miraculously provided for them all every day.

* 1 Kings 17:12-16... And she said, As the Lord thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die. [13] And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. [14] For thus saith the Lord God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth. [15] And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days. [16] And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Elijah.

C. Courageous Trust

Both Joshua and Caleb urged the people to go into the Promised Land and conquer it. They were not intimidated by the giants or the vast number of wicked inhabitants. With God at their side, they truly believed they could do anything the Lord led them to do.

* Numbers 13:30—And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.

Hezekiah had courageous trust in the Lord to rally the people and to not fear the Assyrians. He knew that God would help them fight their battles with this huge host of people. The courageous trust of the king and the people gave them confidence and peace. The Lord will do the same for you.

* 2 Chronicles 32:7-8.... Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him: With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.

Jonathan entrusted his life to the Lord in battle. His trust in God emboldened him with great courage to face his enemies. Trust in the Lord will instill courage in you too, to do what the Lord is leading you to do.

* 1 Samuel 14:6—And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the Lord will work for us: for there is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few.

* 1 Samuel 14:12—And the men of the garrison answered Jonathan and his armourbearer, and said, Come up to us, and we will shew you a thing. And Jonathan said unto his armourbearer, Come up after me: for the Lord hath delivered them into the hand of Israel.

* Psalm 56:4—In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.

* Psalm 56:11—In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.

D. Conquered or Conceding Trust

Rahab reflected the sentiments of the people of Jericho. She expressed the fear they felt for the Lord. The people of Jericho heard what God had done in Egypt in delivering the Israelites. They were terror- stricken, but Rahab expressed an important element that led to her deliverance.

It is not enough to know about God and fear Him, there is a need to put faith in Him. She put action to her faith by hiding the Israelite spies in her home. She risked her life to protect these men. In the midst of idolatrous people, she acknowledged that the Lord was the true God. She was conquered, yet, trusting in God. She teaches us that we need to surrender our will to the Lord and trust in Him.

* Joshua 2:9-11.... And she said unto the men, I know that the Lord hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. [10] For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. [11] And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.

Job also had a conceding type of trust. He was determined to trust the Lord with his life, no matter what the Lord did with him. He was going to trust the Lord no matter what, even if it meant his death. Have you reached this level of faith or trust? If not, then you can understand how great a man Job was and why the Lord had confidence in him to be tested by Satan himself.

* Job 13:15—Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.

E. Cultivated or Learned Trust

David's faith or trust had been cultivated by the experiences he faced throughout his lifetime. His encounter and victory over the lion and the bear taught him about the power and protection of God. The lessons he learned helped him to grow in his faith in the Lord. The faith that had been cultivated in his heart gave him great confidence and courage when he faced Goliath. Goliath was nothing compared to the lion and bear.

* 1 Samuel 17:37—David said moreover, The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the Lord be with thee.

* 1 Samuel 17:46—This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.

Beloved, we don't have to be like Dorothy, the Tin Man, and the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz and cry out, "Lions and tigers, and bears, Oh, my!" God has allowed our lions and bears to develop or cultivate our faith and trust in Him. Our trials and tests are for the purpose of toughening up our faith, love, joy, and reliance upon the God Himself.

* 1 Peter 1:7-8... That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: [8] Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

F. Concerned or Fearful Trust

In times of difficulty, disease, drought, or discipline from the Lord, God's people were afraid, yet, they trusted in God and cried out to Him for His help. They confidently believed that He would hear them and help them. When their enemies oppressed them, they did not know what to do. Yet, they took their concerns and fears to the Lord and focused their eyes upon Him. This is the same kind of trust we are to have in our hearts.

* 2 Chronicles 20:9-12.... If, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for thy name is in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help. [10] And now, behold, the children of Ammon and Moab and mount Seir, whom thou wouldest not let Israel invade, when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them, and destroyed them not; [11] Behold, I say, how they reward us, to come to cast us out of thy possession, which thou hast given us to inherit. [12] O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.

When Nehemiah was rebuilding the wall, he faced steep opposition and fear. Yet, he turned to the Lord for strength in spite of his fear.

* Nehemiah 6:9—For they all made us afraid, saying, Their hands shall be weakened from the work, that it be not done. Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.

Trusting in the Lord with ALL of our heart, to the best of our ability, develops different kinds of trust that help us to cope with conflicts and difficult circumstances. So far we have examined six.

G. Committed Trust

The three Hebrews had a committed trust in the Lord even though they were confronted with death if they would not worship Nebuchadnezzar's idol. Their minds were made up no matter what cost they would pay. They believed that God would protect them from the king and if the Lord chose not to do this, they were not going to compromise with evil. They were committed to the Lord, and were trusting in Him.

* Daniel 3:17-18... If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. [18] But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

H. Commendable Trust

Peter demonstrated huge faith and trust in the Lord when he asked the Lord if he could walk out on the water to Jesus. To take the first step on these raging waves would demand mammoth faith, but Peter had this kind of trust and faith in Jesus. His faith was truly commendable. He did walk on the water, but was quickly distracted by the waves and sank. Our distractions cause us to sink in faith, too. They get our eyes off the Lord and on our problems.

* Matthew 14:28-30.... And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. [29] And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. [30] But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.

I. Compact Trust

Trust or faith in the Lord is so potent and powerful, that if we had some that was as little as a tiny grain of mustard seed, we could move trees or mountains.

* Luke 17:6—And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.

* Matthew 17:20b -... for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

J. Compelling or Strong Trust

Paul speaks about the strong or compelling faith of Abraham who had no hesitation, no wavering or shakiness when it came to trusting the promises that God made to him. His faith was very strong. This is the kind of faith that the Lord wants us to have in Him. Faith or trust in the Lord brings God's blessings and rewards into our lives. Our faith in Him pleases Him.

* Romans 4:20—He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;

* Hebrews 11:6—But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

K. Convinced Trust

Job had what I call a "convinced trust" in the Lord. Trust or faith not only deals with events of the past, not only with events of the present, but also the events of the future. Job knew his redeemer was alive and he would face him one day. He didn't say, "I think" or "I hope," he said, "I KNOW MY redeemer liveth." He was convinced about this matter.

* Job 19:25—For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:

We are to have a "convinced trust" in the Lord. Are you convinced about Heaven for believers, Hell for the unsaved, the Second Coming of Christ, and God's salvation? If Christians are not convinced about these issues, how can we expect those who do not know Christ to be convinced?

L. Composed or Calm Trust

King David had to flee Jerusalem because his son, Absalom, was trying to kill him and take the throne by force. In his flight, Shimei caught up with the king and cursed him. David could have killed him right there on the spot, but he didn't do this. Instead, he let him live, and did not take vengeance for his disrespect. He calmly turned his eyes to the Lord and trusted in the Him to take care of this matter. Trust in the Lord not only develops courage, but also self control, and a calm spirit.

* 2 Samuel 16:11-12 ...And David said to Abishai, and to all his servants, Behold, my son, which came forth of my bowels, seeketh my life: how much more now may this Benjamite do it? let him alone, and let him curse; for the Lord hath bidden him. [12] It may be that the Lord will look on mine affliction, and that the Lord will requite me good for his cursing this day.

* Romans 5:1—Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

* Isaiah 12:2—Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.

M. Cheerful Trust

Trust or faith in the Lord develops joy. The joy comes from knowing that your life is in God's hand, you are under His care, and He will take care of you no matter what you face. There is no reason to worry, because you have delegated your worries to God. This is why men like Paul and Silas were able to rejoice in prison after they were severely beaten for the cause of Christ.

* Acts 16:25—And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.

Faith in God leads to joy. This is what David stated repeatedly in the psalms.

* Psalm 28:7—The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.

* Psalm 5:11—But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.

N. Clear-Headed Trust

Problems, difficulties, and trials have a tendency to create confusion and cloud our thinking. Reliance on the Lord, however, helps to clear the fog. Notice what Isaiah said in chapter fifty.

* Isaiah 50:6-7... I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. [7] For the Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.

In topsy-turvy times, you can find direction from spending time in the Word of God. The Lord will speak to you through His Spirit and direct you through His Word.

* Psalm 19:8—The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.

* Psalm 119:105—Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

* John 16:13—Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

Solomon challenged us to give 100% in trusting the Lord. We are to do this with ALL of our heart. We have spent some time examining this issue of "trust or faith" in the Lord. We studied the blessings that come from our trust in God. We also looked at the different kinds of trust we can have in our lives. This brings us to another question that deals with the "trust" issue. What are the elements that keep a person from doing his best to have faith or trust in God? What hinders a person from having this kind of faith?