“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take." – Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.” – John 14:1 NLT
“Paul and Barnabas also appointed elders in every church. With prayer and fasting, they turned the elders over to the care of the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.” – Acts 14:23 NLT
“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13 NLT
“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God." – Ephesians 3:16-19 NLT
Yep, it turns out that they will always be with us on this side of Christ’s return. Jesus warned us it would be so:
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33 NLT
Whether self-inflicted, induced by others, or God's redirection, it is in the context of trials that God works to draw us closer to Himself. If we will let him, God’s work in our lives moves us toward relationship and into union. On our behalf, Jesus himself asked the Father for this union on his way to the cross:
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity.” – John 17:20-23 NIV
But that union is based on a choice. A choice we have to make.
After the Fall, God disciplined Adam’s self-reliance by ensuring he would always have to make a choice. The choice to turn to God … or not. God knew that what Adam really needed was Himself. Since that epic event, everything that happens in our lives forces us to make a choice. And our choices matters. Our choices either draw us into God or moves us away from Him. Union or Separation. It's binary and it’s really that simple.
As the “stuff” of our lives happens, too often we tend to think in terms of “The better I respond to the circumstances of life the closer I am to God.” But, the reality is “The closer I am to God the better I respond to the circumstances of life.”
This ultimately boils down to what Jesus himself prayed for all believers on his way to the cross (John 14:1) and Peter, quoting Isaiah, emphasized (1 Peter 2:6), and what Paul told the Ephesians to do to experience the vastness of the love of Christ (Ephesians 3:17). Trust Jesus.
Everything else God provides. Everything else flows from our trust in Jesus. Strength … God gives it. Love … God gives it. Our impact on the world around us … God gives it.
“I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.” – Philippians 4:12 NLT
Paul’s “secret” is the same. And it’s so simple we too often miss it. Trust Jesus.
If you want to step onto the path leads to union with God, Trust Jesus. If you want to experience the height, width, depth, and breadth of God's love, Trust Jesus.
Not just belief and faith. They get us started. But, if you want the more Jesus offered in John 10:10, the abundant life Jesus said he came to give us, you must put your belief and faith into action. You must Trust Jesus in all circumstances.