Trust - The Key to Successful Living
TRUST - THE KEY TO SUCCESSFUL LIVING
In Proverbs 3:1?10, there are some marvelous words of wisdom for us on our relationship with God. This morning, and for the next four Sundays, I want to talk to you about what I consider the key to successful Christian living. I want to talk to you about trusting God, his being able to trust us, and what happens when our whole relationship is based upon obedience and trust. As I was a kid growing up, we use to sing a song in our church a lot: "Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey."
Top two questions Christians ask:
1. "How can know God’s will? "
2. "How can I be a success for God, others, and myself? "
Series Title: "Stewardship...It’s a Matter of Trust"
Series Thesis: Trust is the most important factor in...
Knowing God and His will for my life.
Growing His Kingdom and myself as a steward.
Open your Bibles now to Proverbs 3:1. I want you to have your pen ready, because I’m going to have you underline some words. Let’s get going. "My child, remember my teachings and instructions and obey them completely." Would you take your pen out and just circle or underline the word "completely." As the Proverb writer begins to talk to us about this relationship with God, he talks about complete obedience.
Now, the result of this obedience is found in verse 2. "If we obey His teachings and instructions completely, then we will live a long and prosperous life." Verse 3, "Let love and loyalty always show like a necklace and write them in your mind." Underline the word "always." He talks about love and loyalty always being at the very fore place of our life, and the result is that God and people will like you and consider you a success.
Verse 5,6, "With all your heart, you must trust the Lord and not your own judgment. Always let Him lead you, and He will clear the road for you to follow." In verse 5 underline the word "all." "With all your heart," the Proverb writer says we must trust the Lord. And in verse 6 underline the word "always". "Always let Him lead you." The Proverb writer tells us if we do these things, that He will clear the road for us to follow. Verse 7, "Don’t ever think that you are wise enough." Underline the word "ever." "Don’t ever think that you are wise enough, but respect the Lord and stay away from evil." "If we do this" verse 8 says he, "...will make you healthy, and you will feel strong." Verse 9, "Honor the Lord by giving Him your money, and the first part of all your crops." Again, underline the word "all." "Then you will have more grain and grapes than you will ever need."
Observations on Proverbs 3:1-10:
1. The commands are all-inclusive.
Did you notice that there were no exceptions? He didn’t say that we were to partially obey our Lord’s teachings and instructions. He didn’t say with most of our heart we were to trust in Him, and that we were sometimes supposed to let Him lead us. Notice these words: completely, always, all, always, ever, all of your crops. These words are all inclusive. No exceptions. No leaks. He says, "I want you to understand that trust is a total affair in your heart and in mine."
2. The commands precede a promise.
God tells us that if we do these things, He will do some wonderful things in return.
3. The promises are conditional.
We do our part, and God does His part. If we trust Him completely, if we obey Him completely, then He has some wonderful provisions for us as children.
1. God is trustworthy.
2. God has entrusted (placed within our care) the possessions, opportunities, talents, and time
that we now experience.
3. We are trustees of everything God has given us.
I suppose now we’re going to have to ask ourselves some questions, aren’t we? Ask yourself: Do I trust God? Where do I place my faith? Where do I place my confidence?
Now, I know it’s easy to say, "I trust God." It’s easy to say, "Oh, yes. I obey God completely. I trust God completely." But this is just for personal introspection. Do I trust God? Is He truly my source? Do I trust Him in everything? Do I trust in Him some things? Do I trust Him in big things and not in small things? Or do I trust Him in small things but with big things, I kind of want to take control? This is an incredible question. I’ve been wrestling with it now for three weeks. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s only the key to success, and it’s not an easy thing to do in a self?reliant society. Well, that’s why I want you to stay with me the next four weeks. And, folks, I tell you what, the potential for your spiritual growth is greater than anything I’m going to do all year. Because we’re going to really look at these penetrating questions. Can I trust God? Do I trust God?
When we’re through looking at that, we’re going to turn the tables around and ask another question. And if you think the first one makes you sweat bullets, how about this one: Can God trust me? Does He trust me? Have I proven to be a trustworthy person? Can He give me what He wants to, knowing that I am trustworthy? Or am I one of these people who are trustworthy in some areas, but in other areas, God says, "I cannot touch this area in your life because you’re not yet trustworthy."
We’ll wrap up the series by taking what I call "the Trust Test." Hang with me, folks. The next four weeks can be life changing. In Week 3 and Week 4, we’ll go through a process of taking the "Trust Test" where we can really begin to look at ourselves, and ask ourselves, "Am I truly trusting Him?" Now, let’s talk about God for a moment.
Trustworthy thoughts about God:
1. God’s Care is Constant.
When it comes to trusting God, you can rest assured that He gives you and me constant care. I love Hebrews 13:5,6, where, "God has said, ’Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.’ So we can say with confidence, the Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" Amen? That’s a great promise. Literally, in the original language it reads this way: "I will not, no, not leave thee, neither will I forsake thee."
Five times God wants to assure us that He is never going to leave us. George Beverly Shea, the singer who partnered with Billy Graham for so many years, was sharing that he had many requests for songs to be sung at crusades. And he said the strangest request he ever got was when somebody handed him a slip of paper one time, and wanted him to sing a song entitled "God’s grip don’t slip." Now, I want tell you it’s very poor grammar, but it’s marvelous theology. God’s grip don’t slip. God constantly cares for us, and because of that Peter can tell us that we are to cast all of our anxiety, all of our worries upon Him. His care is constant. It’s not occasional or sporadic; His care is total, not partial. His care is sovereign. Nothing can touch you or me without first touching God.
My grandpa ?? my mother’s father -- had a favorite old song, called "No never alone, alone, no never alone. He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone." Just a little test here. How many of you know that song? People who have their hands in the air are the true saints of God. Most of us have read the beautiful poem called Footprints. It’s brought comfort I think to all of us. I have it in my upper room right across from my desk. I see it continually. What’s interesting is that the lady who wrote Footprints, Margaret Fishbeck, went through amazing trials. The person that she loved left her, she caught meningitis, and was literally bedridden for many months. She came to the lowest place of her life. During that time, another man fell in love with her and wanted to marry her. But she wouldn’t marry him. She basically said, "I’m out of trust. I’m not sure I trust God. I know I don’t trust men. I’m out of trust."
One night in her diary as she lay in bed, she began to write that beautiful piece, Footprints. And that night she saw the answer. I’ll just take a moment to read it to you, if you’ve never heard it: "One night a man had a dream, and he dreamed that he was walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes of his life, and for each scene he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, one belonging to him and the other belonging to the Lord. After the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints. And he also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and at the very saddest times of his life. This really bothered him, and he questioned the Lord about it. He said, ’Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, you’d walk with me all the way. But I’ve noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there’s only one set of footprints. I don’t understand, Lord. Why, when I needed you the very most, you would leave me?’ And the Lord replied, ’My precious, precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.’"
2. God’s Gifts are Generous.
God not only constantly cares for us; but He is generous in His provisions to us. He has blessed us with gifts, and talents ?? all kinds of blessings. Just write in your sermon notes Psalm 136. When you have time today, read that Psalm. I’m going to read just a few verses just to give you the flavor of it: "Praise the Lord for He is good. God’s love never fails. Praise to God of all gods because God’s love never fails. Praise the Lord of lords. God’s love never fails. Only God works great miracles. God’s love never fails. With wisdom He made the sky. God’s love never fails. The Lord stretched the earth over the ocean. God’s love never fails. He made the bright lights in the sky. God’s love never fails. He lets the sun rule each day. God’s love never fails. He lets the moon and the stars rule each night. God’s love never fails." Every time he makes a great statement about God, the Psalmist says, "God’s love never fails." When I was a kid, we used to sing a chorus, "Jesus never fails. Never, never fails. I’m glad, so glad, Jesus never fails."
Developing our Trust...
1. Trusting in Adversity.
We are responsible to trust him in times of adversity, but we are dependent upon the Holy Spirit to enable us to do so.
You see, David said in Psalm 56:4, "For in God I trust, I will not be afraid." And in Psalm 34, "I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and He delivered me from all of my fears." What’s David saying? You and I are responsible to obey and trust God. That’s our part.
You see, here’s where the conflict comes. Now, hang in here with me. Here’s our problem. God asks us to obey or to trust Him in an area of our life that’s bigger than what we can reason or understand, and instead of doing our part, which is total trust and obedience, we want to get over on His side. And we want to say, "Now God, if I do this, how are you going to work? If I really let you have my marriage..." It’s almost like, “God, you just don’t understand all the problems I’ve got in my marriage.” “If I surrender this financial issue to you, God, I’m not sure you understand how bad the finances are." "I’m not really sure, God, you understand how deep the problems go."
It’s so simple. I think this is why our Lord said, "We have to be like children to get into heaven." The simplicity, the willingness to be vulnerable, just to say yes to God and trust Him. Even in adversity, when we don’t have answers. Even if we have to say like the Psalmist, "I trust in the Lord, and Lord, I give you my fears." That’s not conflict. That’s not a double standard of statements. What he’s really saying is, "God I believe you, and God, help my unbelief." Have we all been there before? "I’m willing to obey you, God, and yet there’s something within me that wants to pull back." He’s basically saying, "God, I don’t understand, but I’m willing to trust you."
2. Trusting in Plenty.
The extent to which we genuinely thank God for the blessings he provides is an indicator of our trust in Him.
I suppose truthfully, this area becomes most difficult. Because when we are blessed, there’s a tendency for us to either trust in ourselves or trust in our blessings. Huh? I think we run to God fast when we have problems, but I think we kind of ignore God when we’re being blessed. There’s tendency for us just to kind of think "You know, I’m doing pretty good here. " And we become self?reliant. It’s so human for all of us.
3. Trusting God as our Source.
Human tendency: Trust in God’s instruments of provision rather than in God himself.
We trust the job instead of realizing that God is the provider of the job. We trust our health instead of realizing that God is the provider of our health.
I was reading a passage of Scripture while I was gone that really spoke to me. In Proverbs 18:10, 11, there is an interesting contrast between people who trust in God, and people who trust in themselves or their possessions. Listen very carefully. Here’s what he says: "The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe." Beautiful picture. Now, listen to what he says: "The wealth of the rich is their fortified city, and they imagine it to be an unscalable wall." What’s he saying? Very simple. He’s saying that those who trust in the Lord when they have an issue or need, they immediately go to Him. And He is their trust. But those who have possessions, they make them a fortified city, and they look at that fortified city and say, "It’s an unscalable wall. I cannot be touched. I’ll hide behind it."
What’s your unscalable wall today? Is it your college degree? Is it your savings account? Is it your job? Is it your health? It’s so easy for us to trust all of these other things, and not make God the source and platform of our trust. It’s like the fellow who said, "God, it just seems like I cannot not lean on you like I want." And God says to him, "It’s because you’ve never put your total weight on me. You’re still using your own strength. You’re still using your own muscles. Relax."
One of my favorite preachers is S.M. Lockridge. I don’t know if you ever heard him. He’s a black preacher here in town. If you never heard S.M. Lockridge, go down and catch his service some time. They last for four hours. I heard him one time in Detroit back in 1976 deliver this about trusting God, and I’m going to read it. And there will be points, if you’re not sure where to get in, I’ll tell you where to enter. Okay. But I want you to listen carefully to these words.
"You Can Trust Him.
He’s the one who made us. It is He who made us and not we ourselves. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows His handiwork. No means of measure can define His limitless love, and no farseeing telescope can bring into visibility the coastline of His shoreless supply. I’m telling you today you can trust Him.
"No barrier can hinder Him from pouring out His blessing. He’s enduringly strong, and He’s entirely sincere. He’s eternally steadfast, and He’s immortally graceful. He’s empirically, powerfully, and impartially merciful. He’s the greatest phenomenon that has ever crossed the horizon of this world. He’s God’s Son. He’s the sinner’s Savior. He’s the centerpiece of civilization. I’m trying to tell you, Church, you can trust Him.
"He does not have to call for help, and you can’t confuse Him. He doesn’t need you, and He doesn’t need me. He stands alone in the solitude of Himself. He’s august, and He’s unique. He’s unparalleled. He’s unprecedented. He’s supreme. He’s preeminent. He’s the loftiest idea in literature. He’s highest personality in philosophy. He’s the supreme problem of higher criticism. He’s the fundamental doctrine of truthology. He’s the cardinal necessity of the spiritual religion. He’s the miracle of the age, He’s the superlative of everything good that you can call Him. I’m trying to tell you can trust Him.
"He can satisfy all your needs, and He can do it simultaneously. He supplies strength for the weak, and He’s available for the tempted and the tried. He’s sympathizes and He sees, He guards and He guides. He heals the sick, He cleansed the leper. He forgives sinners. He discharges debtors. He delivers the captives. He defends the people. He blesses the young. He regards the aged. He rewards the diligent. He beautifies the meek. I’m trying to tell you, Church, you can trust Him. (Audience: Amen.) He’s the key to knowledge. He’s the wellspring of wisdom. He’s the doorway of deliverance. He’s the path of peace. He’s the roadway of righteousness. He’s the highway of holiness. He’s the gateway to glory. You can trust Him.
"He’s the master of the mighty. He’s the capturer of conquerors. He’s the head of heroes. He’s the leader of legislators. He’s the overseer of the overcomers. He’s the Governor of the governors. He’s the Prince of princes. He’s the King of kings. He’s the Lord of lords. You can trust him.
"His office is manifold. His promise is sure. His life is matchless. His goodness is limitless. His mercy is everlasting. His love never changes. His word is enough. His grace is sufficient. His reign is righteous. His yoke is easy. His burden is light. I wish I could describe Him to you. He’s indescribable because He’s incomprehensible. He’s irresistible because He’s invincible. You can’t get Him off your hands. You can’t get off your mind. You can’t outlive Him, and you can’t live without Him. Pilate couldn’t stand it when he found out that he couldn’t stop Him. Pilate couldn’t find any fault in Him, and the witnesses couldn’t get their testimonies to agree, and Herod couldn’t kill Him. And death couldn’t handle Him, and thank God, the grave couldn’t hold Him. There was nobody before Him. There’ll be nobody after Him. He has no predecessor. He’ll have no successor. You can’t impeach Him, and He’s not going to resign. You can trust Him."
"He’s the Alpha and the Omega. The beginning and the end. The first and the last. He’s all things. He’s the giver of life. He’s the joy out of every sorrow. He’s the light of every darkness. He’s the peace that passes all understanding. He’s the giver of every good and perfect gift. You can trust Him. There’s no God before Him. There’ll be none after Him. He is the first. He is the last. He is preeminent. There is no other God."
Hallelujah. Thank you, Lord. We give you praise, we give you glory. We walk out of this building today knowing, God, you are trustworthy. And God’s people said, "Amen". All right. You can trust Him. Amen
"Trust - The Key to Successful Living"
Top two questions Christians ask:
"How can I know God’s will?"
"How can I be a success for God, others and myself?"
Series Title: "Stewardship...It’s A Matter of Trust"
Series Thesis: Trust is the most important factor in...
_____________________________ God and His will for my life.
______________________ His Kingdom and myself as a steward.
Observations on Proverbs 3:1-10:
1. God is________________________________ - He is worthy of our complete confidence. He is totally dependable.
2. God has__________________________- (placed in our care) the possessions, opportunities, talents and time that we now experience.
3. We are __________________ of everything God has given us.
Trustworthy thoughts about God:
1. God’s ______________ is________________. Hebrews 13:5,6
2. God’s _____________are_______________. Psalm 136:1-9
Developing our Trust...
1. Trusting in adversity.
We are responsible to trust Him in times of adversity, but we are dependent upon the Holy Spirit to enable us to do so.
2. Trusting in plenty.
The extent to which we genuinely thank God for the blessings He provides is an indicator of our trust in Him.
3. Trusting God as our source.
Human tendency: Trust in God’s instruments of provision rather than in God Himself.