The Tension of Trust!

Jeremiah 17:5-6 Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength.. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. (Read v5-10 for full passage)

I love being a dad and one of my memorable experiences with my kids was teaching them how to swim. On one particular holiday, my wife and I took our 3 kids down to the resort swimming pool and one by one encouraged them to jump off the ledge into the water and into our arms. It was a lesson of trust that for 2 of the 3 kids created a lot of tension for them.

Trust has a tension to it. I call it the ‘What if’ factor. What if it doesn’t work? What if I sink? What if God doesn’t meet my expectations? What if I marry the wrong person? Too many people live by their ‘what ifs‘ rather than by what God’s Word says. However, you’ll never live by what God says, until you trust who God is.

The biggest wrestle of my walk with God has been learning to trust in him and not in myself or anyone else as my primary source. The reason why is because I didn’t know if I could trust his character. However, God has taken me on a journey to teach me to trust in him and all that I have seen of God teaches me I can trust him with all that I haven’t seen in my future.

The default of the human heart is distrust. We find it difficult to trust ourselves, let alone others. Why? Jeremiah 17:9 says, ‘The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?’ There’s a popular song by recording artist, Sting, with the lyrics, “Let your soul be your pilot, let your soul guide you home.” Baloney! Apart from Christ, our default position is distrust, deception and disobedience. If our hearts were basically good, we wouldn’t have needed a Saviour to save and deliver us from our sin.

Trusting God requires a heart transformation. God searches the heart and tests the mind and gives us a new heart. God uses a variety of surgical instruments to transform us, most commonly circumstances. Every life circumstance is about learning to trust in God. God uses our circumstances to teach us how to relate to him in such a way that we fully trust his nature at work on our behalf. Trust is relational, not circumstantial.

Your relationship with God will determine your revelation of God. Walking with God is a progressive journey of revelation. The greater your revelation of Gods character, the greater your level of trust. Trusting God is easier, the greater your affections for God’s presence increases. Abiding in God’s presence brings trust because God is trustworthy. Trust isn’t something I cultivate, it’s already built into God’s very nature. God is faith personified, its his nature to believe. The more I abide in him (Jn 15:1-11) the more trust becomes my lifestyle.

God blesses those who trust in him and curses those who trust in the flesh. Trusting in the flesh results in a barren life but trusting in God results in a fruitful and abundant life. The more we learn to trust in who God is, the more we will live by what he speaks into our lives.

The Oracle!

The Curse of Youthfulness!

I planted Activate Church in April 2006 with a core group of young, passionate and visionary young people. We had energy and drive but very little material resources. We had passion and vision but only a little wisdom. We had faith and were willing to sacrifice but we lacked the seasoned perspective of more experienced campaigners around us.

We grew quite quickly, by God’s grace but we also expended a ton of energy. Sometimes, we discussed things and wrestled with issues that really were more of a distraction, than it was a help. Since then, I’ve become very focused on making sure that my energy and the energy of the team around me is directed to what’s most important. It’s the leader’s job to work out what’s most important, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Growing up a pastors kid and spending several years on staff at a number of churches, I thought I had the goods to get the job done but little did I know there is a big difference between being a member of a team and being the point leader of the team. There is a drafting effect when you are working in the slipstream of a point leader that does make it easier, but the moment you take the lead position, the weight and wind resistance increases exponentially. There was a definite weight-shift that took place when I took the lead pastor role and it only compounds the further you go and grow.

Youthful enthusiasm brings energy and momentum to any organization, especially a church. At Activate we have a 6pm service Sunday nights that has more than doubled in the last 12 months and with it has come new Christians hungry for the word and passionate in their worship of Jesus. I value youthful enthusiasm but I have come to appreciate the wise sages around me who have given very helpful advice at much-needed times.

I’ve come to learn that wisdom trumps enthusiasm. Passion, energy, drive and enthusiasm needs the focus of wisdom to direct it to the right target. Not only do we need to bring wise and experienced campaigners around us but we also need to grow in wisdom ourselves. Wisdom comes from 3 primary sources:

  1. Fear of God (Proverbs 1:7) – Until you fear God and weigh most heavily in your life, you will remain an undisciplined fool.
  2. Wise Counsel (Proverbs 15:22) – Point leaders need the right information from the right people at the right time. Your job is to build a team of the right people around you, who can not only do their jobs but give you the counsel you need, when you need it.
  3. Applied Experience – It isn’t enough to just have an experience, you need to apply it to your life by reflecting and possibly journaling on what you have learnt from the pain or success of the experience. Some people live the same experience 50 years in a row and never learn from it. Don’t be that person. Learn, don’t make the same mistake twice and grow.

The curse of youthfulness is impetuosity and to be honest I had buckets full of it. On the one hand, I had an action orientation that lends itself towards quick results but sometimes, only temporary results. Our generation wants everything done yesterday. In fact I don’t know any leader who doesn’t want things moving more quickly. However, wisdom gives you the needed discernment and perspective to help make the best use of the opportunity that’s presented before you.

Impetuosity moves quickly but spends energy unnecessarily. Leader, you aren’t just called to make any old thing happen, you’re called to make a specific thing happen and to steward what God has entrusted to you. This requires both capacity and wisdom.

We must obey the biblical exhortation to proclaim to the coming generation the glory of God (Psalm 78) but we must also exercise wisdom in how we lead ourselves and the young people around us into God’s purposes for the future well-being of the church.

Grace!