Sunday, January 31, 2010

Trust: Everybody Leans On Something

Most of my thoughts in this post come from a recent Josh Harris sermon that I listened to entitled: Total Trust. If you have the time, I would highly encourage you to listen to the whole sermon. It was just what I needed this morning, and I have no doubt that it would challenge you as well.

As Christians, we hear a lot about trust. We talk to our friends about a trial we're going through and in closing say, "...But I'm just trusting God." We quote verses like Proverbs 3:5-6 that say, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths." We are good at talking the talk, but do we really understand what trust means? While listening to Josh Harris' sermon, I was convicted that have had a distorted view of what it means to really trust God...I do not have a habit of leaning on Him.

Noah Webster's Dictionary of the English Language (1828) defines trust as:

Confidence; a reliance or resting of the mind on the integrity, veracity, justice, friendship, or other sound principle of another person.

Our trust is based on the character of God. So in order to trust Him completely, we have to have an appropriate view of His character. In his sermon, Josh Harris gave an example of a girl who came to him and said this: "I have thoughts about how well things are going in my life, and I think, Oh no, God must be about to smack me with something...Things are going good; God is about to do something bad." Of course, I know that God is good. I know that. But do I really believe that? Do I live like that is true? I find that often I don't.

Our leaning on - resting in - God should be proactive. So often we put a hand on God, nodding our heads, affirming, "Yes, God, I'm leaning on you." Leaning on God means putting our entire weight on Him, surrendering everything to Him. The truth is... when we're not leaning on God, we're leaning on ourselves. We're leaning on the security of our relationships, on the security of our job, on the security of our own strength in managing our lives. We're not leaning on God, until our weight is off of our own two feet. And so, God has to pull those things out from under us, so that we are forced to lean on Him. I know, in my own life, I interpret this action as unloving. Why would God strip me of everything just when things were starting to go well? It's because I was finding my security there, instead of in Him. In reality, Him taking all of those things away is the most loving thing He could do. God is completely trustworthy and faithful, regardless of how that sometimes feels to me. He is, in truth, the definition of what it means to be trustworthy. He is the only person in the world who will not ever disappoint me...who will always follow up with His promises. He is the only person worthy of my complete and unreserved trust.

"God is God. Because He is God, He is worthy of my trust and obedience. I will find no rest but in His holy will, a will that is unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what He is up to." [Elisabeth Elliot]

~If there can be any reserve in my giving to Him who so loved that He gave His Dearest for me; if there be any secret "but" in my prayer, "Anything but that, Lord," then I know nothing of Calvary Love. ~
[Amy Carmichael]

The Great Divorce

I recently finished The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis. If you have not read it, I would definitely recommend it. It's less than 200 pages and a pretty easy read. In The Great Divorce, the narrator is taken to Heaven and Hell. Lewis claims in his introduction that he was not trying to paint pictures of Heaven and Hell. Rather, he wanted to challenge his readers to examine their actions in light of eternity. I gathered quotes as I went. Here are a couple:

"There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, in the end, 'Thy will be done.'"

"Ah, the Saved… what happens to them is best described as the opposite of a mirage. What seemed, when they entered it, to be the vale of misery turns out, when they look back, to have been a well; and where present experience saw only salt deserts, memory truthfully records that the pools were full of water.”