Grow Up, Part 4: Trust
When you have no idea what’s going on trust God through your obedience to His commands and the Spirit’s leading.
Grow Up #4: Trust
Grow Deep in your relationship with God. Grow Up in your faith. Grow Fruit in your Mission. We are in a series of teachings about growing up in your faith, about maturing as a disciple, about becoming more like Jesus.
The text we have been using as a springboard into these teachings is:
Hebrews 6:1-3 (NIV)
Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so.
The elementary teachings are the truths that brought you into the kingdom of God. You responded to God’s invitation. You acknowledged there was sin in your life—a wasteland of relationships gone bad. You believed that repenting of your sins and claiming Christ’s atonement as your own, you made a commitment to be Jesus disciple. God knowing the sincerity of your heart, forgave your sins, adopted you as His very own, and sealed you with the Holy Spirit resulting in you being spiritually alive. You believe that for you there will be a resurrection from death and the grace of life eternal.
The elementary teachings are foundational. Without them you may be near the truth, but not in the truth. With God’s help we are not forgetting the elementary teachings, but growing a life more like Christ upon them.
In Part One of our series, we learned that growing up in the faith involves continuing to believe and obey even when God’s blessings seemingly have stopped. In part two, we learned we must starve out of our lives “wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, and wanting to appear important” if we are going to become mature disciples of Jesus. Last time in part three we learned in order to become more like Jesus we need to submit to God pruning legitimate pleasures from our lives to make room for more robust growth. Hopefully, you are hearing the message between the words that says to grow up in the faith you need to be in communication with the Holy Spirit.
Today we need to address the issue of trust. Trusting in God is of course foundational. In order to grow deep, you have to have trust in God. That trust started out with believing that God loves you, that God is good, that God has the power to redeem your life, and that God wants to do so. The more trust you have the deeper the relationship grows. Upon this elementary teaching, we are going to move on to “the need to trust in order to grow up in the faith.” Here’s where I want you to end up: when you have no idea what’s going on trust God through your obedience to His commands and the Spirit’s leading.
Proverbs 3:5-7 (MSG)
Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he's the one who will keep you on track. Don't assume that you know it all.
You may be humble enough to know that you don’t know it all, but you do know plenty don’t you? You’ve lived life for a while and got things pretty much figured out. At 17 I knew everything there was to know. I trusted in my own wisdom in deciding what was good for Mike and what was not. This kind of self-reliance hangs on when we become followers of Jesus. The result is we fail to trust God fully. The trust required to grow up is one in which you trust Him in everything, without a doubt, without question, with infinite confidence. [https://leadersthatfollow.com/really-trust-god/ ] Trust God totally is what we need to do if we are to become more like Jesus.
Trust God totally. Like me, you may have learned a lesson in life that goes something like this: TRUST NO ONE. I have experienced many disappointments and even betrayals because I trusted someone too much. I thought my heart was safe in their hands but it turned out not to be so. If I recited a list of the people that let me down, that proved unworthy of my trust, we’d be here at least an extra 30 minutes. That folk wisdom begins to kick in: once bitten, twice shy;” or “once burned, twice shy.” I’ve been bitten and burned enough now that I often start something with the questions: “How bad can this go?” “How can they weasel out of the contract, the insurance policy, the warranty?” “They say they can do it, but what’s the damage when they don’t?” “What damage can they cause if they betray my trust?”
Closely associated with TRUST NO ONE is: “If you want it done right, do it yourself.” Nobody cares about your stuff as you care for your stuff. Now objectively I realize I have been my own worst enemy often because I failed to adequately communicate my expectations, I took too much for granted, I have mistakenly assumed “they” would do the job with the same integrity I would do the job, with the same skill. The resulting disaster cultivates what we can call doubt. This kind of doubt makes us cautious, this kind of doubt motivates us to do our due diligence, this kind of doubt keeps us from being taken advantage of. Doubt is a good thing. But when it comes to growing up, it’s doubt in God that keeps us from maturing in the faith. Doubt prevents you from fully following Jesus. Doubt also has a cousin by the name of skepticism. Doubt and skepticism have a promoter called egoism. That voice in your head that says: “You know what’s best, do what you want when you want, the way you want, with whom you want.” Doubt and skepticism prevent you from risking your life on God, we don’t go all in, we hedge our bets because that has been the lesson of experience.
When times are tough when things are not going the way we want, when we find ourselves in trouble, you’ve been hit with something devastating, doubt and skepticism will convince you that God has taken a vacation, that His promises are not true, and that you are on your own. Don’t give in to the temptation, trust God totally.
Trust God totally. That is a tall task considering your life experiences. You’ve already trusted God for your salvation, to press on to perfection will require you to totally trust God with every area of your life. Is God saying to you: “Do you trust me?”
The first message I heard about trusting in God utilized this illustration: Dad climbed down into the root cellar, his little 4 years old asked her dad if she could come down too. Dad said sure, go ahead and jump. The daughter said but daddy I can‘t see you. Dad said it's ok, I can see you. Go ahead and jump. After a moment’s hesitation, the little girl jumps into the darkness and dad catches her. This is not a blind leap of faith, this is counting on the character of the one you know loves you, is for you, would never hurt you, this is counting on the fact that the one who said it will do it.
Trust in God does NOT mean that: ( [https://medium.com/publishous/what-does-it-mean-to-trust-god-c2e54457e7d7 ] Sarah Cy ) that you believe everything will go the way you want it to, and it does not mean that God will explain everything that is going on in your life. (Sarah Cy) Neither does it mean that everything that happens to you in this life is because God orchestrated it. I very much disagree with the teaching that God is in control. I understand God to be in charge, there is a difference between being in control and being in charge. What are you in control of? The Weather? No, but if it’s raining you certainly are in charge of putting on a raincoat and carrying an umbrella. God gave human beings freedom of choice, sometimes those choices bring unwanted rain. God does not control a person’s decision. But God is in charge of your redemption and God is so much more incredibly sovereign that He does not need to control to bring humanity back into a right relationship with Him.
Trust in God DOES mean that: [https://medium.com/publishous/what-does-it-mean-to-trust-god-c2e54457e7d7 ] ( Sarah Cy ) “No matter what happens, you will turn to Him instead of away.” You lean into God. The hymns “what have I to fear, what have I to fear, leaning on the everlasting arms?” This harkens back out the lesson in Part 1, suffering forces you to answer the question will you trust God even if it seems like He is no longer worthy of your trust; “Even if life hurts real bad and nothing you asked God for has worked out the way you were hoping it would,” still you trust and obey. ( Sarah Cy )
The root of your ability to trust God lies in what you believe about His character, about what God is like, on how you understand God to be. There are events in a life that can turn absolutely everything you believed about God into nothing put pious platitudes and naïve opinions. Our circumstances may change, but God’s character does not. [https://www.cru.org/us/en/blog/life-and-relationships/emotions/how-to-bring-god-into-the-negative-parts-of-your-life.html ] (Patreeya Prasertvit) Base what you know about God on what is revealed in Scripture about God.
Romans 11:33 reveals God is wise. “Wisdom is the ability to devise perfect ends and to achieve those ends by the most perfect means.” (A.W. Tozer)
2 Timothy 2:13 reveals that God is faithful. He will not abandon you, God may be safely relied upon.
Psalm 34 reveals that God is good. God is kind, cordial, and benevolent and full of goodwill toward you. He is tenderhearted, compassionate, understanding and offers each and every person grace, mercy and love.
1 John 4:7-8 reveals that God loves you. “God’s love is active, drawing us to himself. His love is personal …He loves you and me.” (A.W. Tozer)
There is a great book that highlights these revelations of the character of God. When I was new to the faith it was given to me to read. It helped me to know who God is. I’m not going to regurgitate and spoon feed you the attributes of God, that’s for the babes, not you who want to grow up. The author of the book is A.W. Tozer, and the name of the book is Knowledge of the Holy. It's available free online [http://www.ntcg-aylesbury.org.uk/books/knowledge_of_the_holy.pdf ], to be purchased at the book story, and listened to on YouTube [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJAB1-_vM5E ]. There is a copy on our web site [www.hbcc.life]. The author wants to reshape your thinking when it comes to answering the question: “What comes to your mind when you think about God?” Your challenge is to read it, then ask yourself if you trust what is written to be true. If you find the Holy Spirit convincing you that what the scripture reveals is true about God you will then be able to trust God to the extent that you want to do life God’s way with Jesus as your example, even in the midst of heartache.
In business, one considers the Risk/Reward ratio before buying into a deal. You compare the expected returns of an investment with the amount of risk you must take to earn the returns. When you trust God totally you are convinced that living according to God’s ways, that keeping in step with the Holy Spirit, that obedience, regardless of where it may take you, what it may require of you, is worth the risk. This comes especially into play when the troubles hit harder than you’ve ever been hit before.
The Apostle Paul wrote his protégée, Timothy:
2 Timothy 1:11-12 (MSG)
This is the Message I've been set apart to proclaim as preacher, emissary, and teacher. It's also the cause of all this trouble I'm in. But I have no regrets. I couldn't be more sure of my ground—the One I've trusted in can take care of what he's trusted me to do right to the end.
Those words are powerful:
I know whom I have believed… (2 Tim 1:12 (NKJV)
I know the one in whom I trust…(2 Tim 1:12 (NLT)
I know Jesus, the One in whom I have believed. (2 Tim 1:12 (NCV)
Do you know the One in whom you have believed? Do you trust God’s intentions?
There are quiz questions in your bulletin. If you’re online today those questions are posted on facebook HBCC Church and on www.hbcc.life. The questions are to help you examine how much you trust God as demonstrated by your Holy Spirit revealed obedience.
I have found that in the life of a disciple, you’ve either just got through some trouble, or you’re in the midst of some sort of trouble, or trouble is just around the corner. Lean into God in times of trouble, trust that He will walk with you through the troubles. I have found in the life of a disciple there are times when you will not want to do God’s will, to grow up you will trust God even if you go kicking and screaming on the way of doing what He requires.
In order to grow up in the faith, to become more like Jesus you need to come to the place where you know God from that knowledge that comes through encounter and experience that you are willing to risk going all in with God through obedience to His commands and with keeping in step with the Holy Spirit. Especially when all your God props are knocked away, keep trusting that God will help you through. When you have no idea what’s going on trust God through your obedience to His commands and the Spirit’s leading, this is exactly what those growing up in the faith do.
The following questions are to help you evaluate your level of trust in God.
1. “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16 ESV)
Do you trust God enough to forgo entertainment and diversions and spend time practicing the 7 habits of a disciple (Bible reading/study, prayer, fellowship, service, worship, obedience, and contemplation)?
2. “Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits.” (1 Cor 12:7 (MSG) “Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.” (Phil 2:3-4 (MSG)
Do you trust God enough to use your spiritual gifts to benefit your community of faith, your church family?
3. In the Old Testament, we observe Abraham and Jacob offering a tithe to God in Genesis 14 and 28. A tithe is when you give 10 percent of your annual earnings, produce, or possessions. What is more, the Israelites were commanded to tithe from what they earned and produced during the year (Lev. 27:30; Num. 18:25–28; Deut. 14:22–24; 2 Chron. 31:5–6). Money is how we take care of ourselves.
Do you trust God enough to tithe, believing that He will meet all your needs in Christ?
4. Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: "God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I'll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age." Matt 28:18-20 (MSG)
Do you trust God enough to proclaim the gospel through both word and action in order to help others encounter God that they too may grow up in the faith?
5. God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear… (Psalms 46:1-2 (NIV)
Do you trust God enough that when everything stable in your life is shaken, when all that you depended on falls away, to still cling to Him?