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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Trust equals reliance

Trust:  Reliance upon strength, integrity or ability.  We have a great deal of "things" we rely upon, do we not?  When we turn on the light switch, we "trust" upon the individual who is monitoring the electrical current production at our local power plant to have been on duty, ensuring the flawless delivery of the electricity to that switch.  When we turn on the tap, we "trust" upon the pipes to produce refreshing and clean water because someone has done the job of digging a well which delivers an unending supply.  We also trust in people - placing our hope in their promise of "delivery" of some "thing" from love to being home at a certain time.  What we don't realize is the lack of dependability we really have in any "thing" or "person" apart from Christ.

Trust the Lord completely, and don’t depend on your own knowledge.  With every step you take, think about what he wants, and he will help you go the right way.  Don’t trust in your own wisdom, but fear and respect the Lord and stay away from evil.  If you do this, it will be like a refreshing drink and medicine for your body.  (Proverbs 3:5-8 ERV)

Trust is based upon truth - we rely upon truth because we have come to believe the evidence of what we have seen.  In other words, God has given us sure evidence of his love - such as creating us each in his image, giving his Son to die upon the cross for our sin, and the "practical" things like the rising of sun in the morning and the moon at night.  Our writer gives us several instructions related to "trust" - reliance upon the strength, integrity, or ability of God.  The counter-reliance upon our own ability, strength, or integrity is simply unreliable because we have no basis upon which to trust - it has proven unreliable on numerous occasions.  Perhaps this is why Solomon points out the need to trust the Lord completely - with no semblance of trust in our own effort or ability.

Looking again at our passage, we see Solomon giving us the advice to not depend upon our own knowledge.  Knowledge is simply an acquaintance with some set of "facts" we have come to hang out hat on.  In other words, we have enough familiarity with something because we have been exposed to it often enough to say we have the "knowledge" of it.  Our own knowledge is limited by the various things we have been exposed to in life.  If we have never seen a flower open in the brilliance of the sun, we might just think they magically appear as "open" upon the end of the stem.  Yet, if we have observed the growth of the bud, then the slow, but deliberate expanding of the outer protection of that bud and the gradual unfolding of each of the petals which make up the flower, we begin to understand the beauty of the growth just a little more.  In the end, we really don't "understand" all of the mystery of the growth, but we have come to appreciate many of the "steps" in the process.  The only one who understands the growth completely is the creator!

Solomon gives us a little hint into having a "basis" upon which to form our trust.  He tells us to take every step before God, asking him what he wants - then trusting him that he will "deliver" on that request.  This is probably the most difficult thing to do because we "second-guess" God all the time!  We take our steps to him, but when he points out this step or that, we often question if the step is really necessary or "beneficial" to the end result.  Here is the crux of our struggle - we haven't come to trust completely upon the Lord to guide our steps, and to do it well.  Our challenge comes in learning upon whom we can "rely" (trust).

Two key elements of "reliance" Solomon targets - fear and respect the Lord.  First, fear the Lord.  We get this word all confused with the idea of "dreading" the Lord, so he gives us the second instruction to "respect" the Lord.  When we couple the two words, we see he is really telling us to anticipate the possibilities in his power, wisdom, and knowledge - not our own.  He isn't telling us to "dread" God, but to live in awe of the possibilities we have when we place our "reliance" in him.  He will reveal his ways - if we trust.

I don't know what struggles you face today, but I feel God is reminding both you and me of the importance of placing our trust in the one has proven himself as the basis of trust - him!  We can continue to hold on to the things or abilities of our own doing, but if we do, we will continue to struggle with the same stuff!  Just sayin!