Who do you trust?
Bankers? Lawyers? Teachers? Do you trust your doctor? How about your spouse or lover? Do you trust your parents or siblings? Do you trust your own children? How about your government or political leaders? Do you trust your religious or spiritual leader?
Do you trust yourself??
How far do you trust any of these? To what extent are we willing to have faith in the actions or words of the people in our lives? We take a risk each time we make ourselves vulnerable and put our faith in others. But at some point we have to do it. We are not islands. We are intimately connected to multitudes of others.
Do you trust God?
That’s the real point. Where is your faith in the Almighty? Are you intimately connected to the Creator? This is not to assume belief in God. It is only to assume that if you do believe in God then there is a relationship between the two of you. There has to be. If you believe in something — anything — then there must be a relationship.
Now let’s assume that you do believe in God. We are then left with the question of the level of trust. It may be a level of trust that is nearly none at all. Or, we can trust so close to completely as to be nearly absolute, and there are many degrees in between. There is more than one way to test the level of trust.
The level of fear in our lives is a good indicator of the level of trust. Fear is an emotional reaction of dread or alarm at the approach or prospect of approach of emotional or physical harm. Fear is inversely proportional to the level of trust we hold for the protective force defending us from the supposed harm. The MORE we trust our banker, the LESS we fear for our financial future. The LESS we trust our lawyer, the MORE we fear the outcome of our case in court. The MORE we trust our spouse or significant other, the LESS we fear their infidelity. The MORE we trust in our ability to defend ourselves physically or intellectually, the LESS we fear an attack by others.
The LESS we trust God for his love and protection, the MORE we will fear all the natural and negative consequences of our own actions in an attempt to protect our lives and ambitions, even to the point of life everlasting!
Failure to trust the unfailing trustworthiness of the Supreme Being results in the natural consequences that follow. If we do not rely on the steadfastness of the promises that will be fulfilled, then it is only obvious that they will not be achieved. Oh sure, some things might occur along the promised lines as a matter of accident, but the odds are HIGHLY stacked against such freak occurrences. Do you want to take a chance on being struck by lightning when you can go with the sure thing?
If, instead of trusting in the most reliable source, we instead attempt to gain those goals through other untrustworthy methods, then it should be no surprise when we fall short.
The same can be seen in the natural world. If we fail to trust the banker and store our cash in a shoebox, it will hardly be a surprise if it is found and stolen. If we fail to trust the lawyer and act as our own attorney, then why should we be shocked when we lose our case? The banker and lawyer should be listened to and obeyed so that the promises that they DO have to offer can be received. They can’t do it alone.
Our compliance is required.
If this is true in the natural, physical world, then how much more so must it be in the divine? In the perfect, steadfast universality of the absolute of God’s love and trustworthiness, the truth of the need for trust in him and obedience to his will is unquestioned. Trusting in humans is always risky. Trusting in the divine never fails. Much, MUCH more is required of us in trusting in the spiritual. Absolute and blind faith is often required, but look at how infinitely greater the rewards for our faith and trust are!!
. . . from everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. (Luke 12:48)
Approaching the Promised Land
Think for a moment and refer yourselves to Numbers 13 and 14. Think about the course of events that followed the Hebrews from their departure from slavery in Egypt to their entrance into the Promised Land. They grumbled and complained and failed to trust and obey God practically every step of the way. The journey from Egypt to Canaan only took two years and that included a side trip to Mount Sinai and being given the Ten Commandments and the construction of the Ark of the Covenant. By the time they reached Kadesh, two relatively short years out of Egypt, they amassed a list of offenses against the Lord.
All of these offenses sprang from a fundamental lack of trust, which inspired fear, which in turn inspired complaining and outright rebellion. They reached Kadesh, on the doorstep of the Promised Land, and balked at entering. Based on their fear of the inhabitants they refused to obey the Lord’s order to enter and possess the land.
God, was very displeased!
The scouts who brought back the bad reports and negative recommendation died from plague. When the Israelites heard about this, they felt appropriately guilty and decided, on their own, to enter, but they didn’t go with the protection of God! The whole idea in the first place was that they would enter and subsequently defeat the inhabitants (who were exceedingly formidable) with the Lord’s presence and protection going with them. When they refused to trust and obey, they lost that protection. When they tried it on their own, they were beaten and driven back. Worst and most terrible of all, they didn’t get to try it again for another 40 years!
We might find it difficult to relate the unique problem of the ancient Israelites to current times until we consider the analogy provided for us by the writer of Hebrews. We are as they were. To the Israelites, Canaan was the Promised Land — God’s place — set aside for them to rest from struggles and persecutions. To us, the Promised Land–the place of His rest–is in the spiritual. It is in Everlasting Life–a place of peace and joy.
The original Israelites who mistrusted and disobeyed were denied entrance. It was not for another 40 years–two generations–that their descendants were allowed entrance.
Therefore since the promise of entering His rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith [trust] of those who obeyed. Now we who have believed enter that rest . . . (Hebrews 4:1-3)
Trusting God to bring us into his Spiritual Promised Land seems like it would be much more difficult for us than for the ancient Israelites coming into the physical Promised Land. After all, they had a physical place they could actually see and were led right up to its doorstep! They even sent scouts ahead of them into the land who reported back. True, 10 of the 12 scouts gave negative reports and said, “DON’T DO IT!” but both Joshua and Caleb spoke rapturously about the fabled “Land of Milk and Honey.” They brought back evidence of the fruit of the land. God led them every step of the way; out of slavery and across the Red Sea to Mount Sinai and the Ten Commandments. Still they refused to trust and obey.
They had contact with God (through Moses and peripheral experiences) yet still they failed to trust. They were fearful and in the end they rebelled and disobeyed. It seems with all the guidance and physical manifestations and miracles that it should have been so much easier for them! We don’t have pillars of smoke and fire. We don’t have fire on the mountain. We don’t have manna in the wilderness. We can’t climb the hill and look down on the land of milk and honey.
We just have to trust not only that it’s there, but that God will deliver us into it–if only we will trust in His promise and obey his directions. Though we don’t have the advantages of the physical manifestations of God’s presence and promises, we have a much greater advantage. We have a key that was unavailable 3,500 years ago.
Christ is the Key!
If the miracles in the desert and the visible proximity of the Promised Land weren’t enough to capture trust, then how can we, in an overwhelming world presence devoid of grand signs and wonders, hope to do any better? We are left looking for an answer to the mystery of communication with the Spirit of God that not only transcends time and space but simultaneously delivers the trust [faith] that constantly eluded the followers of Moses. We are left looking for a key to the iron door that blocks us from the promise of God. The key is in Christ.
On one side of the door stands the world. On the other side, paradise awaits. The door is the separation of the seen from the unseen. The door is mistrust, faithlessness, corruption and disobedience. The door is death. We conquer this obstacle even before the destruction of our physical bodies, if we are to defeat it at all. If you reach it without the key, you are too late. This is the ENTIRE reason Christ is made available to us.
Unlocking the Door
Jesus was slammed right into that door. He was brutally and horribly crucified and died. We ALL die. It is the natural consequence of living. It is what finally separates us eternally from the hope –and promise– of paradise, unless, at the moment of reaching that barrier door, we are as Christ was–and is.
Christ was resurrected, He rose from the tomb and walked around before ascending into paradise. He proved it could be done! Christ had the Holy Spirit to raise him. He told us that we could have it also. ALL we have to do is ask for and accept the love and forgiveness of God, believe in the resurrection of his son, and receive the Holy Spirit into our own bodies and lives.
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. (Revelation 3:20)
It requires NO works. You don’t have to be a “good” person beforehand. All you have to do is believe, confess and then accept it.
It’s that easy!
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)
The Hard Part
The easiest part comes in acceptance. Once broken down and opened up to the prospect of salvation, it is a relief and a joy to open your heart and confess your trust. The hard part comes in continuing to trust and rely and obey. Giving up our own will to an unseen force and overcoming our own pride and vanity is perhaps the hardest thing in the universe for a human to do. Part of the problem comes in unrealistic expectations and misunderstandings. It is for this reason that it is vitally important to stay in prayer and meditation on His presence in you through listening for the Spirit, studying the scriptures, and fellowship with fellow believers. We need ALL the help we can get!
The new believer understandably experiences euphoria, relief and peace at the inflowing power of God’s love. Then life begins to creep back in around the edges. God isn’t Santa Claus and he isn’t a genie in a bottle. He won’t keep your body from death and he won’t stop sickness from ever coming around. He won’t prevent or divert natural disasters and he doesn’t use them as punishments no matter what the televangelists say. He won’t make your number come up in the lottery.
Miracles? Maybe, but we’re not going to see anything on the scale of the Old Testament. He doesn’t have to do grand miracles anymore. With the power of God through Christ and his Holy Spirit in us, we now have the ability to do all the things Jesus did–and more– if we but have the necessary faith! Besides, what more miracle than forgiveness of sin and everlasting life for your sorry sinful butt could you ask!?
. . . whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing and they will do even greater things than these . . . (John 14:12)
Your faith [trust] has to be pretty strong to wield this kind of power. It needs to be absolute or nearly absolute. Peter saw Jesus walking on the water and decided to walk out to him. Personally, I think Peter had a complex about proving that he was the “Rabbi’s Pet.” Anyway, he walked a little way and when he noticed the danger and lost his trust. PLUNK! Down he went! Jesus pulled him up before he went all the way under.
“You of little faith!” He said. “Why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:28-31)
This is an extreme example of course, but the point is equally valid.
Now that Jesus has come and provided the way through his Spirit, we have the ability to rely on the love and faith that the Spirit has for us. The primary trust is for the fundamental promise of the eternal life, peace and joy that awaits in a spiritual Promised Land. We have the ability to call on that Spirit within us to assure us of that promise. Speaking to the Spirit and listening for it to speak to us is essential. It is by this that the initial trust we exhibit when we invited Jesus into our lives, is verified and strengthened.
It is by this HARD act of rejecting the idea that only our eyes can provide positive proof and by our relying instead on the spiritual proof in our hearts, that we gain the priceless promise of eternity in paradise.
Do it today!
Do You Trust God?
- Luke 12:48
Approaching the Promised Land
- Numbers Chapters 13 & 14
- Hebrews 4:1-3
Unlocking the Door
- Matthew 11:28-30
- Revelation 3:20
The Hard Part
- John 14:12
- Matthew 14:28-31