Undeniably, one of the most difficult aspects of the Christian life is the idea of surrender and sacrifice (Rom. 12:1-2), or of fully understanding the implications of Jesus being not only our Savior, but also our Lord. Yep, it’s that sinister, four letter word that spells disaster for most… Lord. Recognizing the Lordship of Jesus means He is predominant over everything, including you and me, what we want to do, and when we want to do it. And pride always seems like the last holdout of our sinful flesh to recognize His Lordship and fall under its authority.
That’s why the Lord never promises to make us better. He promises to make us new, to be born again (John 3:16). For there is nothing in our old life that has any place or serves any value in our new life. Our old nature is continually at odds with our new nature and only one can reign supreme (Rom. 7:15-25). And the process of feeding one and starving the other is what we call practical sanctification. But we’ll dive into that topic on another day.
In order for us to allow Christ to live His life through us, we have to have a changed nature and, especially, a changed mind. Therefore, Scripture states when we surrender our bodies to Him as a living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1), God miraculously “transforms us by the renewing of our mind” (Rom. 12:2). And our mind is renewed when we choose (our action) to live by faith and not by what we see, think, or feel. It is faith, and only faith, that activates all the promises of God. For without faith, His promises are simply words to us because we refuse to empower them into our lives by believing them as true, and then living like they are.
And what is faith? Basically, it is believing without seeing (Heb. 11:1). It is confidently trusting without question or apprehension or doubt. But our faith cannot be in God’s promises alone. It must also be in His character, love, integrity, faithfulness, and truthfulness. In essence, our faith must rest in God and we must believe God is who He says He is, without wavering (Jas. 1:6).
Since our faith in God grows incrementally or in steps (just like our faith in anything grows), we are going to look at one familiar if/then promise and see if we can trust what He says. And we find this promise in Proverbs 3:5-6, the if/then promise of God giving us direction for our lives.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths – Proverbs 3:5-6.
First, note the conditions and the promise. And also the qualifier for the key component, trust.
(if) Trust in the LORD (qualifier) with all your heart,
and (if) lean not on your own understanding;
(if) in all your ways acknowledge Him,
and (then) He shall direct your paths.
Do: Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
Don’t: and lean not on your own understanding;
Do: in all your ways acknowledge Him,
Promise: and He shall direct your paths.
Then, let’s see what the first segment of this truth actually says.
Trust (bāṭaḥ – to be confident, to have faith, to believe. It expresses the feeling of safety and security that is felt when one can completely rely on someone or something else)
in the Lord (yehōwāh YHWH – the proper name for the God of Israel, the name by which He revealed Himself to Moses, He is the “I AM THAT I AM”)
I am to trust the God who is the ever-present one (Heb. 11:6), the self-existent and self-sufficient God who needs nothing and is dependent on no one. All of creation is dependent on Him for life, purpose, and existence. It is the name of God who sent Moses to Pharaoh with a divine mission of deliverance (Ex. 3:14). He is the God who directed Moses’ paths back then, just as He promises to direct mine, even today. He is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. I am to trust the God Whose name is so sacred, the ancient Hebrews refused to write it unless they ritually cleansed themselves first. And God, whose primary trait is revealed to us as holy, has chosen to make us holy in His sight.
Amazing, isn’t it? And now, the qualifier for the word, trust.
with all (kōl – each, every, all, everything, the whole, entire, in totality, without exception)
heart (lēḇ – the immaterial self or the seat of one’s inner nature, such as soul, thought, understanding, knowledge, mind, will, emotions, personality, desires, volition, determination, moral character).
The word translated heart represents everything that makes you who you are, someone unique, special.
Which brings us to the crux of this message. How can I trust Him more than I trust myself? Or how can I trust God more than my reasoning, logic, understanding, experience, education, maturity, wisdom, feelings, sincerely held convictions, or what I know to be right and wrong or what I know works and doesn’t work for me in this world? How is that even possible?
Join us today as we discover what happens when we take God at His Word and trust Him with all that makes us who we are, and in doing so, learn how to leave Laodicea behind.