"Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. . . . Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil. . . . For the devious are an abomination to the LORD; But He is intimate with the upright. . . . The curse of the LORD is on the house of the wicked, But He blesses the dwelling of the righteous. . . . Though He scoffs at the scoffers, Yet He gives grace to the afflicted." [from Proverbs 3]
These teachings are some of the best advice there is to be had . . . as far as is necessary to navigate the dangerous shoals of sinful delusion which blankets the earth today. . . .
"Trust in the LORD . . . and DO NOT LEAN ON YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING" . . . comes off almost as an aside--something fairly innocuous and easily passed by. . . .
It is, however, what practically separates the paths which lead to Heaven and Hell. It is what separates the false convert (those to whom Jesus will say, "Depart! I never knew you!") from the Heaven-bound saint. It is what makes up the vast gulf that sits between the wickedly insane and delusional and those who have "eyes to see" and "ears to hear". . . .
The one who says, "I just don't see how God can punish people forever for sin that they commit during a limited, short lifetime" is leaning on their own understanding.
The one who says, "It doesn't seem right or fair that God would 'choose' some while excluding others based solely on His own whim" leans on his own understanding.
Those who argue, "How could a 'loving' God order someone to sacrifice their own child?" do not "trust in the Lord" but instead rely on their own understanding.
The one who accuses, "Surely a 'good' God would not create a world with so much suffering in it!" stands on their own reasoning instead of standing on God's revealed Word.
He who opines, "A God Who demands obedience and worship sounds like an egomaniacal dictator!" is blind to the truth because all they can see is what their own corrupted mind puts in their vision.
There are scores and scores of people . . . who lead "decent" lives; who have determined that "love is all you need"--who assert disdain for "all religions" and especially the "Christian religion", but who do good works, are even self-sacrificing and go around with a cheerful, positive, compassionate attitude. Some of these even perform "miracles" of healing and possess great talents which they bestow on others. The world would call them "enlightened" and "saints". . . .
But unless they acknowledge and submit to the Truth, which is the Lord Jesus Christ, these are they whom the Lord calls "workers of iniquity." Someone "leaning on their own understanding" thinks this is absurd. How can such "good" people be denied Heavenly reward?
But one who "trusts in the Lord" knows that what saves a person is not their "good works" or how "loving" they are towards other people . . . but ONLY what Christ did on the cross, having Himself lived the ONLY perfect, "good" life.
According to the Bible, a "saint" is one who is "consecrated to God, holy, sacred"--one who is "SET APART". The definition derives from the Greek word "hagios".
Now, who does the consecrating? Who does the "setting apart"? The definition of "consecrate" means "to unduct" . . . "to make or declare sacred" . . . "to make inviolable".
The one leaning on their own reason and understanding will say, "I--ME MYSELF--decide if I go with God! I set myself apart! I make myself holy! I have free will and am in control!"
But the one who trusts in the Lord and believes His Word reads and accepts:
"You didn't choose me. I chose you." --John 15:16
"Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy [SET APART] and without fault in his eyes." --Eph. 1:4
"Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an
inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes
everything work out according to his plan." --Eph. 1:11
"For many are called, but few are chosen." --Matt. 22:14
"But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the
Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation
through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth." --2 Thess. 2:13