Trying or Trusting

God gave us an incredible brain and physical strength.  We are blessed with the ability to reason and to love and be loved. Unfortunately, we have the capacity to waste it, misuse it and take credit for it. We sometimes fail to recognize our limits and God’s purpose for us. Instead of trusting God we often find ourselves trying. That is, trying aimlessly in an effort to achieve something, quit something or improve something. As we try, we often do so in our own strength motivated by selfish ideas and dreams. But when we are trusting, we follow God’s way, obey God’s will and carry out God’s mission. In doing so, our strength comes from the Lord. Likewise, as we trust God, we are completely aware that we are dependent on God and our goal is to bring Him glory.
 
Trying or trusting is primarily distinguished by our focus. Trying is born from a self-reliant focus. The focus is about me and what I can do. We use phrases like, “I’m trying to quit,” or “I’m trying to lose weight,” or “I’m trying to get accepted to college.”  If the words we use are centered on I, me and my then we obviously have a self-sufficient focus. In contrast, trusting begins and ends with faith in who God is and what He wants. The focus is on what God can do in and through me. As we rely on God we use phrases like, “I’m joining God where He is at work,” or “I want what God wants me to want,” or “God will give me the strength to accomplish His will.” In essence, you can say that trusting is Christ-centered and trying is self-centered. In other words, as we trust we rely on God. As we try we rely on self. And let’s not confuse the issue or over simply it.  Trusting includes giving our best as we honor God. For that matter, trusting in no way infers a lack of effort and hard work.
 
As David faced threats and opposition from King Saul (see 1 Samuel 15 thru 19), he had a choice to try or to trust.  In other words, He had an opportunity to take things into his own hands or leave it in God’s hands. David’s test came as he was hiding out from King Saul in the crags. When King Saul was so intent on finding David and killing him, on one occasion King Saul was unaware of David’s presence in the same cave where he was standing.  Instead of trying, as a reaction of fear and self-preservation, David spared King Saul’s life. Instead of harming God’s anointed, David simply cut off a piece of Saul’s garment.  Even though David knew that God had rejected King Saul because of disobedience, David trusted God.  Even though Samuel had anointed David as the one who would succeed King Saul, David trusted God. David did not become king by his own choosing, in his own timing or by his own way.  I’ll say it again, David trusted God.
 
However, there was a time later that David is found trying instead of trusting.  As we read the account in 2 Samuel 11, David took things into his own hands and succumbed to his own lust. You might say, David was trying to find the wife of his dreams with the beauty that satisfied his lust. In fact, David slept with Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba, when Uriah was off to war.  And then, after receiving word that Bathsheba had become pregnant, in an attempt to cover his sin, David had Uriah killed. Instead of trusting God for a wife, David gave it a try and did it on his own. As a result, one sin led to another. It all began in the self-centeredness of David’s heart. However, as is often the case, it led to death and God’s justice. David was shamed, the nation suffered and God did not receive the honor and glory that He always deserves.
 
Trusting God implies awareness that we are completely and utterly dependent on God. The evidence that we trust God comes through following God’s way, obeying God’s will and carrying out God’s mission. However, instead of trusting God we often find ourselves trying. That is, trying meaninglessly in an effort to attain something, abandon something or develop something. And yet, in our attempt to try, we often do so in our own strength motivated by selfish ideas and dreams. God has given us inconceivable intelligence and physical strength. Regrettably, we have the capacity to discard it, abuse it and take recognition for it. Nevertheless, there is a better way for all of us. We must simply trust God in all we do by focusing on God and giving Him are very best. So then, let me ask, are you trying or trusting?
 
A Work in Progress,
 
Pastor Gene

Gene StocktonComment