“Do you know Jesus?” “Oh, yes! I love God.” And that seems all right. And it can be all right. But it also can be a very deceitful, dangerous twist. What am I possibly talking about? Loving God — dangerous? In a multitude of ways, Scripture shows us that we are to: Trust God “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord” (Jeremiah 17:7). “Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord” (Proverbs 16:20). “Trust in the Lord and do good, dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture” (Psalm 37:3). “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him” (Nahum 1:7). “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you” (Isaiah 26:3). “This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all, especially of those that believe” (1 Timothy 4:10). And Love people “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31). “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them, expecting nothing back in return” (Luke 6:35). When asked how often we are to forgive: “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven! (Matthew 18:22). Seven being the number for perfection and completeness, that’s a whole lot of forgiving. It’s forgiving that requires a love much greater than any we can muster if we’re not trusting God to bring his fruit — love — to blossom in our lives through the work of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22). That sounds difficult, but not dangerous. Here’s the twist: how much easier it is for us to love God and trust in people. You see, loving God puts us in control of our relationship with God. We find it comforting to give him love, not having to consider the salvation given us by God’s grace, as a gift. (“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.” Ephesians 2:8). When it comes to gifts, the receiver has absolutely no control, and no choice but to acknowledge the gift giver. Likewise, trusting people gives us control, because we all know that people will fail, so there really is no faith at risk. (“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in people” (Psalm 118:8). “Fear of men will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe” (Proverbs 29:25). It’s so much more comfortable knowing pretty much how things will turn out, and not having to face that challenge that comes with trusting God. How much power we are giving Satan, with this twist on God’s way! By failing to trust God, and by failing to love others, we miss opportunities to show others God’s great gift to us, salvation, and redeemed life forever. Instead, let’s keep on trusting God and loving others.
≈≈ Written by — Rev. Linda Lee Karanja-Sebastian ≈≈
See Bruce Larson in How to Reach Secular People by George G. Hunter III, 1992