The current atmosphere has given me an opportunity to take a deeper look inside of my heart, as I talked about in my previous post. In that post, I concluded and admitted to you that a part of me hates to trust God. It is not that I don’t love and strive to obey Him; I just hate to have to trust him.
After writing this, I felt the need to go inside and explore more deeply why this is so.
“Why does a part of me hate to trust God?”
The easiest way I can say it is that “Trusting God is too much work.”
If I am going to trust God when I am afraid, feeling insecure, and out of control, it will take work. Not the physical kind of work we engage in when we put up a fence or clean our house, but emotional work. Even better, I would call it emotional/intellectual/volitional work. It is spiritual work of the first nature.
It requires that I admit my emotions. Yes I am feeling afraid. Part of me wants to maintain a stiff upper lip, and obey the command “fear not”, not by dealing with the fear I have, but by pretending that it does not exist.
This is hard emotional work.
Then it requires that I explore my emotions to understand why I am afraid. Most often I find that I am afraid based on something that I believe, or am trusting in. For example while on the one hand I believe that God is my source of security, I also believe that my security if found in my net worth. In spite of the clear words of Jesus which warn us that riches can be easily destroyed (remember what he says about “moths and thieves” in Matthew 6:20?), and in spite of the fact that I have a seen few thousand dollars dissolve into a few pennies (we had our children’s college savings accounts in Enron) , I still have this persistent, relentless belief that money will make me secure.
On the one hand I trust Christ; on the other hand I trust money. Sound familiar? It takes work to recognize that my fear is based on a false belief (in this case that money will give me security)!! Even though I have been a pastor for 35 years, and even though I have encouraged others with the truth of the Scriptures, I still struggle with false beliefs!! Like a ghost from Christmas past those false beliefs hang around and haunt us all. Trusting God requires that we confront our false beliefs.
This is hard, very hard, painful intellectual and emotional work.
But the work is not done. If I am going to more fully trust God, I must volitionally decide to replace my false belief with one that is true. I must choose a new belief and then choose to think on it, or speak it to myself, on a moment to moment basis. Remember the words of the apostle… Philippians 4:8 (NLT) And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true…, In order to trust God I must choose to think on the things that Christ declares to be true.
This is really very hard, persistent volitional, intellectual and emotional work.
I remember a phrase that Paul used with a church in the Greek city of Thessalonika. He commended the church for their “work of faith” (I Thess 1:3). I am not sure what specific things he had in mind with those words. But they remind me that living by faith is hard work. Trusting God in the midst of the chaos of life is hard work. But, just to remind you, it is the work that gives life!!