“Our commitment to Jesus can stand on no other foundation than a recognition that he is the one who knows the truth about our lives and our universe. It is not possible to trust Jesus, or anyone else, in matters where we do not believe him to be competent. We cannot pray for his help and rely on his collaboration in dealing with real-life matters we suspect might defeat his knowledge or abilities.” – Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy
It’s easy to think of trusting God in vague terms, but Jesus doesn’t afford us that option. If you look at his interactions in the Gospels, he usually had specific instructions for specific people. His teaching cut to the heart of the matter and left people with very clear choices. He continues this today through his church, the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and the words he left for us in scripture.
To trust Jesus is to trust a person who knows you inside and out, loves you unconditionally, brought you into existence, designed you for his purposes, is fully for you, is way smarter than you, and is much more capable than you’ll ever be.
This is no small thing. It involves getting over our egos as much as reading his stats. To trust Jesus is to humbly confess that he is more intelligent than us, more powerful than us, more loving than us, more aware than us, more ahead than us, more advanced than us. It requires a willingness to be broken, reconstructed, and led when a part of us would rather remain strong, unchanged, and in charge.
The more we know him as a person rather than some historical figure, role model, or religious idea, the easier it will be to hand over the keys.
You know this.
There are people in your life who you find it easy to trust because of the relationship you have with them, the character of their lives, and their track record in coming through. It’s no different with God – it’s just that he operates at a much, much higher level.
If you think about it, Jesus should be the one we trust more than anyone or anything, including our emotions, intuitions, past experiences, network of friends, family, reasoning ability, net worth, resources, ingenuity, or whatever.
Keep in mind that trusting Jesus isn’t supposed to be something that we do disconnected from him, as though he were “out there” and we are “down here.” Paul wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). As Christians, our lives are in Christ; we live in divine union with him as transformed beings.
Trusting Jesus isn’t something that our old sinful nature is capable of, and we shouldn’t pour our time and energy into futile attempts to reform a corpse. Instead, we are called to put off the old behaviors that don’t line up with our true identities, put on our new nature through the power of the Holy Spirit, and allow God to freely live his life though us. When you look at it this way, it becomes clear that all distrust is really a failure to live out of our new natures; a failure to yield to his Spirit within us.
Yes, there is still a learning curve – the way a butterfly might learn to test and trust it’s wings. But it’s doing so as a butterfly, not a caterpillar.
How about you? Where do you struggle to trust Jesus? How well do you know him as a person? How is it going yielding to his presence in your life? Are you striving to live out of your new nature or trying to reform your old one?