Trust in self, versus trust in God

dore_fariseo2Corinthians 1:9: But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:

It is the nature of man to trust himself. This started with the distrust of the word of God that the devil introduced into Eve (Genesis 3:1-8), and since then, humanity took the turn into disobedience, being a symptom of distrusting God. That man, the created, distrust the creator is the height of foolishness.

But we see that displayed throughout the scriptures. When God told the children of Israel that he was going to take them to the Promised Land (Exodus 12:25), they chose to trust their own fear since they spoke and acted based on it and not on the word of God (Numbers 14:1-38).

Paul was talking in the focus verse about certain experiences that he went through that helped entrench in him trust in God and wean him the more from self-trust. (Self-trust is self-focus, while God-trust is to be God-focused.) In our lives also certain situations arise that makes looking unto man useless, looking to ourselves vain. Many times (if not every day) in our lives, we have the opportunity to choose one path or the other. We are thrust into situations that stretch and exercise our God-trust muscles.

The word of God says it is wrong for us to put our trust in man (Jeremiah 17:5-8). And in the book of Hebrews we read that we should look unto Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2). The psalmist wrote, “I will lift my eyes to the hills from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth (Psalm 121:1-8).” With God is the unlimited resource. He is the one from whom everything created is sourced.

First of all, we should put our trust in God for salvation. It is foolhardy that after God -made a way to Himself through Jesus, men still seek to reach God through other means of self-improvement and works and activities.

Paul, speaking of the Jews said that they were ignorant of the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus and therefore went about establishing their own righteousness (Romans 10:1-20), through self-effort. They trusted in their own works seeking to be justified through it.

While Jesus was unveiling the secrets of the kingdom of God to the disciples, he gave them the story of the Pharisee who stood up boldly in the temple counting his various points of righteousness (Luke 18:9-14). The Pharisee mentioned his tithing, his fasting and his piousness, being a quintessential self-righteous person. The bible concludes that such a person trusts in himself and was therefore condemned. He even compared himself with another, seeing himself as superior. To the limit that you see yourself as superior that is the limit of self-righteousness in you.

The bible says that the eyes of the Lord runs to and fro the earth to shows himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is set on him (2Chronicles 16:9).

The great divide between Christianity and other forms of “spirituality” in the world is because in the others, everything starts with self-effort and if at all there is a “god” involved, there is no personal relationship with such personae. There is a heavy investment of self-effort involved with no particular guarantee of attaining the desired goals. There is a heavy investment of self-effort, that leaves many frustrated and in a search for that elusive goal of spirituality.

What the Christian faith has that is different is a relationship with God based on God’s own effort. It is not really about our effort, but everything hinges on our disposition to his effort. And this is that effort: for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes on him will not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

The result of the self-help and self-trust of Adam and Eve was death and through natural birth we share with them that same condemnation of death (Romans 5:1-21), a separation from God. But we have eternal life, spiritual life, through believing in Jesus Christ.

That is why the writer of the book of Hebrews says that we should hold fast to the confession of our faith, of our trust in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross (Hebrews 4:14-16).

Afterwards we need to learn to walk in trust in God in every area of our lives, as against our natural tendency for self-trust. In the book of proverbs we are admonished to trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding, but acknowledge God in all our ways (Proverbs 3:5-7).

No situation should be strong enough to shake us from our trust in God.  Job passed through difficult situation but said of God he slays me I will still trust him (Job: 15-16). That can only happen if God is more real than what we feel, or even what we think (1John 3:19-20).

Relationship with and receiving from God is hinged on trust. While at the house of Mary and Martha, after their brother Lazarus was dead and buried and there was great mourning. He needed them to believe that all hope was not lost though it seems so, saying that if they would believe they would see the glory of God (John 11:1-45). And eventually Jesus raised their brother from the dead after four days in the tomb.

Without trust, there cannot be unflinching commitment to God.  There has to be a conclusion in your heart that God is right. That is when you will follow Him. Caleb had a testimony that he fully followed God all because he trusted God and acted his word.

Trusting in oneself leads to boastfulness. And Paul asked, “What do we have that we were not given ()?” Since God is our source, therefore he should be the object of our focus and attention. But you cannot trust the person you don’t believe has your best interest at heart.

In the book of Hebrews the writer admonished his audience that they should regard the difficult situation in their lives as the means of God training them, disciplining them (Hebrews 12:2-111). He didn’t want them thinking that when bad things happen then God has abandoned them. James wrote that we should count it all joy when we fall into diverse trials, because it serves to strengthen them in their character (James 1:1-5).

Paul in a part of his writing to the Romans wanted to impress it on them that God has their best interest in mind, with the singular fact that God allowed himself to suffer the loss of His Son (Romans 8:28-39).  Paul also affirmed that no tribulation can separate them from the love of God in Christ Jesus; it is not indication of a reduced love of God towards them.

God has extended and is continuing to extend his love towards us in Christ Jesus. Therefore we can trust him implicitly with our lives, with our waking and sleeping, with our going out and coming in. You can trust him with your decision-making as he always wants to lead us besides still waters as our shepherd (Psalm 23:1-2), and there is the promise that as we trust him we will always find pasture (John 10:1-11).

 

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