So much of what the Bible says about the Lord is given to strengthen our trust in Him.
Unless we trust Him, we will not turn to God from all those other ways, commit ourselves to Him instead of all those other choices, and, ask Jesus into our lives as our Savior, obey Him as our Lord, and begin to take His promises seriously.
This is simple, bedrock logic. Unless I trust you, I will not ask you to babysit my children. Unless I trust the FAA and the system in place to guarantee airline safety, I will not board a plane. Unless I trust the other drivers, I will not venture onto a two-lane highway where we whiz by one another at high speeds. I will go to no doctor or pharmacist I have reason to distrust.
Trust is everything.
When we begin looking for the culprit on why millions of God’s people are not following the basic commands of the Lord–not seriously praying, not sacrificially giving, not boldly witnessing, and not confidently facing the enemy or launching faith ventures for Him–we can lay it all to a failure to trust.
Lack of trust is everywhere.
You can see lack of trust in the Lord by the fright that seizes our hearts when we contemplate tithing our income to Him and decide against it.
You can see a lack of trust in Him by our inner struggle against walking down the road and ministering to our neighbor and our choice to stay inside by the fire and watch tonight’s ball game.
Our refusal to step forward inside a church building and confess Christ as Savior and Lord, our embarrassment over being baptized, our unwillingness to give up some immature habit or unneeded possession the Holy Spirit has fingered that needs to be jettisoned–are all evidence of a failure to trust God.
When the Lord Jesus began preaching in Galilee, trust was a major theme.
He put it something like this:
Let me ask you fathers a question. When your child comes in asking for a piece of bread, do you take that as a good time to play a dirty trick on him? Do you hand him a rock?
When he asks for a piece of meat, do you give him a snake?
Do you do cruel things like that?
“Certainly not,” they must have thought. “Give us credit for being decent parents. We want to do the right thing for our children.”
Then give God credit for being at least as loving a father as you are.
As evil as you are, you know how to do good things to your children. How much more the Heavenly Father will do the right thing to those who ask Him.
(That’s my version of several accounts of that in Scripture, especially Matthew 7:9-11 and Luke 11:11-13.)
I like to think of this as the second reason Jesus came to earth.
The first purpose, the main one, was to provide salvation for us. This is stated in various ways throughout the Word:
–to give His life a ransom.
–to seek and save that which was lost.
–that you might have life and have it more abundantly.
–to defeat the devil and release the captives.
There must be a dozen such statements in Scripture.
But the second purpose for His coming, one not quite so obvious at first glance, was to do something about the Father’s lousy reputation.
a) Does God have a poor reputation?
He does with some people.
Check your insurance policy; hurricanes and floods are “acts of God.” When a child dies at the hand of a murderer or a drunken driver, people ask, “Why did God do this?” When millions are slaughtered in genocide or starved in a poor nation torn apart by war, the world looks upward and says, “Where is God?”
Poor God. He gets all the blame for the bad and little credit for the good.
b) Does it matter what people think of God?
For a hundred reasons it does. The big reason is no one will obey Him if they do not trust Him. So establishing His trustworthiness is a big deal all through the ministry of Jesus and in Scripture.
c) And why is God so low in the polls? (That is, Why is His reputation in such shambles?)
Here are four possibilities; you’ll think of more:
–the shoddy lives of His children. People look at you and me and come to conclusions about our Heavenly Father. (See II Samuel 12:14 where the heathen were blaspheming God because of David’s sinful example.)
–the accusations of the devil. In Revelation 12:10, Satan is called “the accuser of the brethren before God.” We see him doing that in Job, chapters 1 and 2. But, we also know Satan is the accuser of God before us. We see that in Genesis 3, where he attacks the character of God. He says to Eve, “Has God said….?” and “He’s holding out on you, does not want what’s best for you.”
–the suffering around us. Disease, crime, wars. A good God would not allow this, we hear. And if it is allowed, there is no good God.
–the fallen condition of this world. Romans 8:22 (as well as other texts) speaks of the whole creation groaning and laboring. The tsunamis and floods and earthquakes are not in God’s ultimate plan for earth, according to the Word.
You can see faith all about you.
I saw faith Wednesday night of this week. At Hattiesburg’s Temple Baptist Church, hundreds of God’s people gathered to assist the SBC International Mission Board in commissioning 77 new missionaries who will soon be fanning out all over the globe. They join a force of nearly 5,000 career missionaries.
Now, not a single one of these new workers has spent one minute going around to churches to drum up financial support. They do not have to raise their own income from friends, family, and churches. The IMB will be issuing paychecks for them on a regular basis.
So, is their trust in the International Mission Board? Well, yes. They certainly would not be leaving their future in the hands of an agency that dealt capriciously and unfaithfully with its people. With a budget of hundreds of millions of dollars annually, the IMB oversees the work of this world-wide family of mission workers.
The IMB, of course, gets its money from the 50,000 or so SBC churches.
So, the missionaries are trusting in the churches, right? In one way, they are.
But mostly, they look, not to the IMB or the churches, not to individual donors nor to their families back home. They look to God. In cutting their ties at home and moving their families to Malawi or Maui or Mali, these people are going in complete trust in the adequacy of the Lord Jesus to a) provide for their needs and b) make their work successful.
Want to see faith? Look at those 77 new missionaries.
Jesus saw faith. When four men broke open the roof of the house where He was teaching in order lower their paralyzed friend into the presence of Jesus, He saw faith in action. “When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic….” (Mark 2:5).
Faith is always visible. It cannot stay repressed or hidden. But likewise, a lack of faith is also on display. Neither can be faked for long.
If we have faith–that is, a full confidence in Jesus Christ–we will be stepping forward to confess Him, making tough decisions to obey Him, and getting serious in our determination to serve Him.
If we have no faith–that is, if we lack a full confidence in Jesus–we will demonstrate that by doing nothing.
Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).