Spring&Summer2010 110

The Lindia Boys, 2010

I’ve wondered why we Christians aren’t better at trusting Jesus. We say that we trust him, but our lives often tell a different story. We like to be in charge. We imagine that we have full knowledge of self and purpose.[1] We set out each day to find satisfaction according to our personal agendas, but self-defeat takes its toll.

My worst blunder occurred in my mid-twenties. I allowed my biological clock, pounding out its rhythm in ever-increasing volumes of fear, to take control of my brain. When a fun and engaging suitor turned my way, I jumped from the kettle of dating disappointments into the frying pan of marital loneliness and despair.

Even worse, I willfully pursued my own harm, ignoring the flashing warning signs that God put smack in front of me before the marriage. I allowed the fear of singleness to smother my trust in God.

Still worse, I had a distorted understanding of what it means to trust God, thinking that if it turned out that my choices weren’t consistent with his will, God would make it all good for me. I suspected that looking to God merely as a spiritual handyman “might be” an offense to the great I AM, but I pushed that consideration to the back of my mind, preferring to count on his goodness without regard for his wrath.[2] While he surely can set our paths straight,[3] we dare not take him for granted. When I trusted God in this contrived way, my self-determination became the fly in the ointment of God’s promised blessings.

I made a mess of things when I exchanged the peace and joy that come from abiding in Jesus for chaos and heartache. Though God didn’t clean up my mess as I’d hoped, he guided me through the confusion and pain. I now know that I sinned in entering into that marriage. I don’t know whether I sinned in getting divorced, but I know that God answered my prayers for forgiveness.

Thankfully, with patience and gentleness, God taught me that I would not be able to follow him, living the better life he planned for me, without trusting him more. Over time and despite my periodic waywardness, he helped me to learn from my mistakes and brought me to a biblical understanding of what it means to trust in Jesus.

With God’s help, I had to remove the fly from the ointment. I needed to learn that sin is what happens when we trust anything or anyone more than we trust God. I needed to learn that God stands ready to apply the ointment of his perfect love, grace and mercy to our soul’s deepest needs, if only we will trust in him.

God knows everything about us, including how to best meet our needs.[4] His heart’s desire is to work all things together for good for us.[5] He has even prepared in advance good things for us to do with our lives.[6] What could be better than living as chosen children of God, free from the tyranny of self, submitted to and experiencing his power at work in and through us, and confident of his love and faithfulness?

 

Psalm 56:3-4 (NIV)

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.

In God, whose word I praise—

in God I trust and am not afraid.

What can mere mortals do to me?

 REFLECTION

  • What gets in the way of your trusting God?
  • Will you ask God to help you identify the people or things that you rely upon more than him?

PRAYER

  • Ask God to help you trust him with your whole heart.
  • Ask God to fill you with the perfect peace that comes only from trusting him.[7]
  • Ask God to help you to more quickly recognize when you are trusting someone or something more than him, and to begin living a life that better reflects absolute trust in him.[8]

’TIS SO SWEET TO TRUST IN JESUS

’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take him at his word;
Just to rest upon his promise,
Just to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”

Refrain:
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust him!
How I’ve proved him o’er and o’er;
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust him more!

 Oh, how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust his cleansing blood;
And in simple faith to plunge me
’Neath the healing, cleansing flood!

 Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.

 I’m so glad I learned to trust thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.

 (Louisa M. R. Stead, 1882, public domain, https://www.hymnal.net/en/hymn/h/568)

EXCERPTS READY TO SHARE ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER (copy and paste)  (https://twitter.com/) (https://www.facebook.com/)

Breaking free from the tyranny of self … https://karenlindia.com/2016/11/09/what-does-it-mean-to-trust-in-jesus-part-1-of-3-removing-the-fly-from-the-ointment/

Sin is what happens when we trust anything more than we trust God. https://karenlindia.com/2016/11/09/what-does-it-mean-to-trust-in-jesus-part-1-of-3-removing-the-fly-from-the-ointment/

God stands ready to apply the ointment of his perfect love, grace and mercy to our soul’s deepest needs. https://karenlindia.com/2016/11/09/what-does-it-mean-to-trust-in-jesus-part-1-of-3-removing-the-fly-from-the-ointment/

FOOTNOTES

[1] If you are tempted to believe that you know yourself as well as God knows you, remember that Romans 8:26 tells us that the Holy Spirit helps us when we are weak, praying for us when we do not know what to pray for. The Apostle Paul also alludes to our deficiency in self-awareness when, in Romans 7:14-25, he describes his struggle with sin by explaining that he repeatedly does what he does not want to do and also fails to do what he does want to do. In other words, his tendency (and ours) is to fall away from following Christ even though this is not what he wants to do—his desires are in conflict with each other, and the ones that cause him to fall out of step with God sometimes win. As for knowing our purpose, we must be continually attuned to the Holy Spirit to guide and redirect us as we join God in his purposes.

[2] I’m not sure where I read or heard something similar to “count on his goodness without regard for his wrath,” but it most likely was from pastor and author J. D. Greear, who may have been referencing Jonathan Edwards.

[3] Proverbs 3:5-6

[4] Psalm 139:1-6

[5] Romans 8:28

[6] Ephesians 2:10

[7] Isaiah 26:3

[8] Richard Blackaby, Experiencing God Day By Day (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 1998, 2006). Kindle edition, devotion for June 19.

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