“Emmanuel In My Boat” smaller size sold © Donna Gonzalez
As born again Christians we are commanded by God to:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
Sounds easy enough right? It’s a favorite verse for many. Until we get into the car and head for work. Sure enough someone cuts us off from our exit, causing us to slam on the breaks nearly missing an oncoming car. Top it all off that crazy driver sneered, laughing at us while flipping the bird on the expressway. And that old nature immediately kicks in; we lean on our own understanding by following the world’s wisdom. Ignoring the checking of the Holy Spirit to slow it down and stop entertaining evil thoughts towards another person, instead we chose to ignore His words. We curse that driver as we begin tailgating him hoping to cut him off at the next opportunity. Later we start arguing with the Spirit of God as He admonishes us that we didn’t obey Him:
17 “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:17-18
Pride won’t budge, and to make matters worse we have a mental tribunal in our minds justifying our actions as we misquote scripture to excuse our behavior of “doing unto others as they did to us”. Besides someone had to teach that driver a lesson! Clearly he was in the wrong!
But indirectly whether we realize it or not we are telling God “I don’t trust You know the best way of dealing with people, You are wrong too.”
We sinned and in that ungodly behavior we grieved the Holy Spirit, negatively affected our witness to the other drivers around us, who unbeknownst to us, were probably some of our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. We are called to be ambassadors for Christ and instead that little stunt put Jesus’ reputation at stake just to prove a point.
Worse it just proved that we are not really trusting in the words of Christ. Don’t excuse it under the rug that it’s a moot point. To the world it is moot, but to God it’s a matter of whether or not we choose to fully accept that Jesus knows exactly what He’s talking about when He tells us how interact with others that insult us. Like turning the other cheek and leaving room for God’s wrath.
23 “Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?” Luke 9:23-25
Jesus’ His words ring clear but does that mean I’m to carry my cross by denying myself that little pleasure of getting back at someone who flipped me off?
Yep! Trusting in God means to lay aside our old way of thinking for His ways, of laying aside our agenda and our understanding of how to do things for His perfect better way of doing things, whether they make sense to us or not.
“There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. Proverbs 14:12”
13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13-14
It’s the narrow way. Entering into the narrow gate means one has to crouch low, humble oneself just to squeeze through that narrow gate. The narrow path will lead to eternal life but until then we will endure hardships, trials and even persecution in our lives. We live in a broken world but God uses those trials for our good.
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything to make us mature in Christ. James 1:2-4
Faith is complete conviction and confidence in and who Jesus is. There is no room for doubt. It is knowing that trails come as a testing of our faith to produce perseverance, that it must finish it’s work. We must not hinder His work in us otherwise we will be lacking and not reach maturity in Him.
“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” II Corinthians 5:7
We must walk as Jesus walked, persistent in faith in His Father. To live fully convinced that His words are Spirit and they are Life. Those that obey will be rewarded by God.
“Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord.” Proverbs 16:20
Let us therefore not be like those of long ago who amazed Jesus.
Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” 5 He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6 He was amazed at their lack of faith. Mark 6:4-6
One would think that trusting Jesus and in His word is given for a Christian yet what is interesting is what Jesus would say at the end of His parable of the persistent widow.
The Parable of the Persistent Widow
18 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ 4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” 6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:1-8
Christians who are steadfast in faith no matter their circumstance or outcome are placing all their trust in the Father who has their back, who will answer in due time. Apparently Jesus felt faith in Him and explicit trust in His words was so important that He needed to call into question whether or not people will have any unwavering faith and trust in God as this widow had portrayed when He returns the second time. Trust in Jesus …it’s that important.
It is either His way or our way.