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A few weeks ago, I read the following passage and it stopped me in my tracks. It stepped on my toes to the degree that I literally closed the book and wouldn’t open it again for a week.

As I come to grips with what this message and my reaction means, I wanted to share it here:

An old saint told me years ago that the devil doesn’t so much care what particular thing he gets us to fall prey to. His primary aim is simply to get us to do something outside of Christ, for then we are vulnerable.

I want two things that are mutually opposed– I want to live a nice little life, and I want to play an important role in God’s kingdom. And it’s in those times that I am trying to live a nice little life that I make decisions and choices that cause me in small and subtle ways to live outside of Jesus. The shepherd is headed one direction, and I am headed another. Not some flagrant sin—that’s too easy to recognize. Instead, I’m simply wandering off looking for the pasture I deem best. I don’t even think to ask God about it.

A very dangerous way of thinking.

As Christians we don’t get to live a “normal” life, and accepting that fact in all the details of our lives is what allows us to remain in Jesus.

There’s something we need to be honest about; part of us doesn’t really want to hear what God has to say.

Really. Even after years of God’s rescues and surprises and blessing upon blessing, there’s part of me that gets irritated when someone say, “Let’s ask God.” The act itself is a disruption. Sometimes it feels like grinding the gears. Stop? Now? Ask God? I’m bugged. That’s part of it. The other part of it is, if we do hear something, we’ll have to obey.

I don’t ask because I don’t want to know. If I know what God thinks, then I’m faced with the decision of whether to follow His counsel or not. What was initially just a quandary or moment of confusion becomes an issue of obedience. I don’t want that sort of clarity. Furthermore, I don’t want God messing with my approach to life.

And so we come back to holiness. To ask is an act of holiness, because we are seeking to follow our Shepherd. To live by faith in him. Then we are faced with the choice to obey what we hear, and our holiness is deepened.

What I am describing is a heart that is present and engaged with God, bringing our desires to him, yet submitting our wills to his, genuinely trusting what he says is best.

“Walking with God,” by John Eldridge -pp. 90-92

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Secrecy versus honesty seems to be a current theme of my life that God is working on within me.

In telling my story like I did a few weeks ago, I was forced to confront many secrets I’d been keeping about my life– many of them brought to light for the first time. To say that has been painful is an understatement, but it is also a victory over several weapons Satan has been using to manipulate my thoughts and beliefs.

Also, a mentor of mine recently challenged me to confront a “secret” I was keeping from a friend. I quote secret because that’s truly not how I saw it; I would have admitted that I probably wasn’t telling the whole truth, but I never considered myself being secretive or manipulative. However, my mentor wrote the following words to explain effect he’s seen secrecy have time and again on relationships:

In relationships, unaddressed things gain power over time. Whether it’s in relationships between people or the relationship between a person and the Lord, the enemy inhabits shame, guilt, and fear and uses it to erode an individual’s usefulness to God and to destroy his or her joy.

I realized that by being afraid to share myself and my feelings, I was keeping the relationship on a superficial level and setting the stage for Satan to foster fear and manipulation later on down the road. In spite of every fearful natural instinct in me, I told my friend the truth. Honestly, initially it was hard on both of us, thanks to some severe miscommunication (which I firmly believe was Satan trying to destroy a relationship that glorified God). But we were committed to working through it, and ultimately it opened a dialogue that ushered in a new level of freedom, openness, and trust that I, honestly, have rarely experienced.

Since then, God has opened the doors and opened my eyes to the importance of honesty in several areas of my life. This isn’t to suggest that we should bare our souls to every schmuck that walks by, but how many of us are truly honest with those we love and want to grow closer to? If anyone else is like me, they’re afraid that by revealing their true selves and feelings people will respond with disgust or rejection. And at times that might happen. But God has used several people in my life recently to show me that honesty and vulnerability is a beautiful thing, and in holy relationships can reveal the heart and love of God.