1 The preparations of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. 2 All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirits. 3, Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established. (Proverbs 16:1–3, NKJV)
A measure of self-reliance is at the heart of individual liberty and responsibility, limited government and entrepreneurship. But, self-reliance can also tempt us to trust in our own instincts and ideas without thinking of God. That form of self-reliance elevates us above God, producing sinful outcomes. We plan many things (education, career, family, vacations, retirement, etc.), but the answers to how we should pursue our plans belong to the Lord and not to ourselves (“O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps,” Jeremiah 10:23). We must yield “self” to God (“not my will, but thine be done”). Even when we consider our ways to be pure, it is the Lord who evaluates our heart’s motives, intentions and dispositions (Hebrews 4:12-13). His word is truth and reveals the way we must go (John 17:17). We trust our actions (“works,” verse 3) to the Lord by first preparing our heart to follow His word instead of our own word. Let us make plans that agree with God’s word, so He approves of our plans and our actions.