Trust God With Your Life

{James 1:1-4; ESV}

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

It is no secret that life is filled with heartbreak, disappointment, tragedy, and an assortment of other troubles. We understand that God has not promised us an easy life. We are also aware of His ability to use the junk of our lives to mature our faith and transform us into the people He created us to be. The reason we should find joy in our suffering, is because God redeems our pain to make us new creations.

Yet, we also know that this is easier said than done. When our lives are going smoothly, or at least manageable, we can say, “I trust God no matter what happens.” It is easy to trust to God when things seem to be easy.

When the clouds descend and the storm hits often our trust in God disappears. If we are not careful we may even begin to question God's heart. We may even begin to question His existence.

How do we encourage each other in the midst of trials without sounding like a cheerleader? You know the person who says, “Just try a little harder. You can do it. Hang in there.” That type of encouragement is worthless. It is like trying to encourage a guy with a compound leg facture to get up and run a marathon, “You can do it. I am in your corner. I will pray for you.” We would recognize such behavior as cruel, and rightly so, because the problem isn't a lack of effort but a broken leg.

Spiritual growth often isn't about a lack of effort, but it is about a wounded heart. A heart that doesn't trust that God is good.

So how can we use the tragedies and trials of our lives to mature in our faith? I think first we have to lay a solid foundation. This has to be done before the storms hit, because once the rain starts to fall it is going to be very difficult to make any progress.

Jesus said:

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it” (Matthew 7:24-27; ESV).

The reason it is so important to listen and obey before the storm hits is because that gives us the experience we need to know that God is good. He can be trusted to bring us life, even if at the moment the flood waters seem to be winning.

Even if the storm has already begun this is where we need to begin. The foundation is vitally important. We will not survive, we will not find healing and life, if we do not have the firm foundation of Jesus. So even if it is pouring down rain and the flood is rising we need to spend our time trying to find the rock that will keep us from being swept away.

Second, I think we need to daily surrender our lives to God. Read what the apostle Paul wrote in Romans:

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:1-2; ESV).

In other words we have to give up control of our lives. The only way we will be changed is to allow God to change us. If we are going to insist on doing things our way we will never experience the life that God wants us to have. We won't be transformed. We won't be the salt of the earth or light of the world because we will be conformed to the world around us.

I want to affirm that fact that surrendering is a scary thing to do because we are handing over the reins of our lives to God. We giving Him control, and trusting Him for the results.

This is where the rubber meets the road: trust. Spiritual maturity isn't about trying harder, but it is about trusting more. We learn to trust through experience. This is why prayer and obedience become the route through which our faith is grown. These are things that we do to experience God in our lives and in the process we come to know that God can be trusted with our future.

Questions to Consider:

  • Why are trials and tragedies the path of spiritual maturity?
  • How can we have a good foundation that will with stand the storms of life?
  • What can we do to surrender our lives to God?

 

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