Statements you hear in encouragement:
Whatever you can conceive and believe, you can achieve. If it is God’s will, He will make a way. You just have to learn how to believe in yourself. God has a plan for your life. You just have to keep pressing in until He reveals it to you.
So now what?
Do you place all of your trust in God and believe He will show you the path, or do you strike out on your own and hope it lines up with God’s plan? If you’re waiting for the plan to unfold, what do you do in the meantime? Do you live a life of self-deprecation, belittling every minor and major accomplishment that you achieve, or do you sit idly by, waiting for the next big move to be revealed? The obvious answer for most Christians is simple. Do what you feel led by the Holy Spirit to do and give God all of the glory for all of the positive outcomes.
But how do you react to the negative outcomes?
Everyone makes mistakes. Even those who trust in God. No human is infallible. The Bible is full of imperfect humans. They made mistakes. They learned their lessons well, continued on with their lives—some with dire consequences– and still placed their trust in God. Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jonah and King David come quickly to mind. All were great men (and women) of God, but got sidetracked and took their own course of action instead of following God’s plan for their lives. We really don’t know exactly what was going through their minds at their lowest point, except for what the Bible tells us. Self- doubt, self-loathing, and self-justification would all be expected. The Psalms of David probably give us the clearest glimpse into the psyche of a man at his lowest point from a first hand perspective. And yet, like Job, his trust in God remained steadfast. These stories are great reminders that God forgives us no matter how disobedient, or self-serving we may be at times. All of these individuals were either created, or chosen, by God for a particular task and it was abundantly clear to them what that task was.
Still, the question remains, how do we know what God’s plan for our life is, and how do we know if we’re on the right track?
Now we reach the conundrum. How do we trust in God to lead us on the right path, if we are unsure about what we believe? Or, more clearly put, if we don’t believe in ourselves, how can we trust what we believe to be truth, and subsequently, how can we trust in God if we do not trust our own judgment?
Simply saying, “The Bible says it, I believe it,” is almost irresponsible. And yet, that is what we are told to think. This leads to a whole gambit of doctrinal interpretations and to the charismatic leadership who waxes eloquent to promote their particular brand of theology, “guilting” followers into their ideology. What one ‘group’ says is accurate interpretation, another denies completely. How can we learn to trust God in all aspects of our lives, if we are constantly being told that we should not “lean on our own understanding?” In other words, don’t try to understand it, just trust it. You don’t need to think about God, you just need to believe and trust God. But how do you place your trust in someone you don’t know?
It has been said, in a variety of ways, that trusting in God is much like turning on a light in your house. You may not have an intricate knowledge of electricity, but when you flip the switch, you expect the light to come on. If the light doesn’t come on, most people don’t stand in the middle of the room crying out, “What am I gonna do? What am I gonna do?” They know that they have lost a connection somewhere. Most people will start to troubleshoot the problem immediately by changing the light bulb. If that doesn’t work, they may get a “how-to” manual and try to fix the problem themselves. They will learn, from the instructions, how to turn their room from darkness to light. The instruction manual was written by a master and they trust that master to give them the direction they need to make things right again. They read and follow the instructions, trusting the writer, using their own abilities, and restore the light. Why is this so much different than trusting God and believing in yourself?
God has given us a set of instructions in the Bible. Yes, we have to trust God. And we have to believe that God will do what He says He will do. The only way to build that trust is to read the instruction manual and practice living the directions. We also have to believe in ourselves. If we don’t trust ourselves, how can we trust anyone else, including God? God will give us the abilities, and the desire, to fulfil our purpose for Him. But you can’t learn from a mentor you’ve never met. You have to spend time with Him. The information in the manual will tell you who He is, what He is like, what He expects, and what the rewards are for working closely with Him. It is like reading someone’s personal diary, detailing his love and heartbreaks, his wonder and disappointments, intimate details of who he really is and how he thinks, and his instruction on how to best become more like him. He gave us a teacher in Jesus, and a tutor (so to speak) in the Holy Spirit. By reading the textbook, listening to the teacher, and calling on the tutor to help us understand the more difficult lessons, we can learn to trust God and believe in the abilities that God has given to us.
We can trust God AND believe (trust) in ourselves.
© Simply Consider This, 2015.