Do we believe in something bigger than ourselves? If we don’t then our lives will be small, they will be restricted to what we can achieve or who we can become. Our abilities, our influence will be limited to the level of our own resources. For many, that may be satisfying enough but after a while it may leave us feeling frustrated as we think there is something more that we are missing out on.
There has to be something bigger than the circle of life which we create for ourselves. I believe all of us have an inbuilt desire to look beyond ourselves. We love looking to the horizon and imagining what is beyond, just over the edge that we can’t see. For each person that horizon may be in a different place but it gives us something to dream for, something to seek, something to lay hold of.
To pursue what is beyond the horizon requires trust. Trust is taking the steps we don’t think we can take. It’s going one, or many steps beyond what we think we’re capable of. It’s pursuing the ‘more’. Trust will enable you to take hold of the unknown future and begin to bring it into the present.
In Philippians 4:7 Paul tells us that the peace of Christ goes beyond our understanding. Wouldn’t it be great if, not only, we knew that peace but we could live in it continually. That’s quite a challenge. Somehow it must be possible to know it, perhaps not fully but to experience it in some increasing measure. This is where trust comes in. Can we trust the Father enough to lead us into that peace? Can we trust him enough to believe that he will work his purpose our for us?
There is a bigger picture for all of our lives. Very often we sense that this picture is beyond our reach and is over the horizon, we sense it’s there but have no idea how to find it, yet alone live in it. It’s a dream. This dream however can become a reality and I want to encourage you to believe that. Don’t let it remain a dream but begin to believe that what you yearn for can become something to live in.
The LORD will fulfil his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. (Psalms 138:8 ESV)
We’re very good at making plans, some of which happen, others fall by the wayside. There may be nothing wrong with our plans, they may be good for us, but they often come and go. God has a purpose for you and me that is eternal and will stand forever (Proverbs 19:21). His purpose is not so much the journey (although that can be important), rather it is the destination. Don’t worry if your journey is not linear. We make mistakes, we take diversions, we wonder where we are going and what is happening. The twists and turns of life’s journey can be confusing and cause us to doubt. We doubt ourselves and we doubt God.
He is not bothered about our diversions because his purpose is bigger and goes beyond our plans (however good they may be). His purpose is rooted in eternity and he’s promised to accomplish it. That’s where trust comes in - can we trust him enough so we lay aside our plans and allow him to lead us? He has begun a good work in us and he will complete it.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6 ESV)
A recurring theme of Paul’s letters is that we are ‘in Christ’, that’s our position as sons and daughters. It’s our true home. When the focus of our love is on him we will be drawn into a greater intimacy with the Trinity. Not only do we become secure in our relationship with him but we are also secure enough to begin to turn outward. We can trust God enough to start to consider others in a way perhaps, we’ve not been able to. We have a Father who cares for us and provides all we need (Matthew 6:25-34) and as we trust in that truth we can begin to stop prioritising our own needs.
Slowly we come to appreciate that life is not purely about us and our needs or desires. There’s a hurting world out there that needs to know the truth we know: that there is a loving Father who loves and wants to provide for his children. It’s love that causes us to trust and that love and dependency on the Father will do a miracle in our heart.
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Philippians 1:1-4 NIV)
The life of Paul inspires me. Despite his background and natural abilities he had learnt to be totally dependent on the Father. He had found that childlike trust went beyond his ability, his training and background. So much so that he even considered those things to be rubbish when compared with the greater glory of knowing who he was in Christ. He had found his citizenship in Heaven, he knew that he was loved as Jesus is loved. As we discover a greater revelation of this truth for ourselves we will be able to let go and trust.
Despite us feeling fearful or being scared there is a mystery about trust. The mystery is as we trust we become content, we find the place of rest that may have alluded us. We spend a lot of time, money and energy seeking to have more, to be more or to do more. A new phone comes out: better camera, more data, more storage, a faster processor and we must have it! Why? Because we believe it will make us more content. We work harder in order to be noticed, we want to be seen by others. Frankly we’re not content.
Contentment is deeper than possessions, ministry, titles or function. Contentment is the state of our heart so, like Paul, we can say that we are content whether we are in need or have plenty. We have learned to trust our Heavenly Father because he will meet all our needs according to the riches of his glory (Philippians 4:19).
Trust sounds so simple. Yet for many of us it is the complex process of letting go. It’s recognising that we can’t do it on our own, all of our striving will lead to frustration and cause us to be robbed of our peace. Trust says that our Father is bigger and our only response is therefore to have a childlike heart of rest and dependency on him. Trust takes us beyond what we can see as it enables us to reach over horizon and make the unknown our reality. For each of us that is different but I hope and believe you will find it exciting.
Walking As Jesus Walked
Jesus promises that, when we come to him and allow him to lead us to the Father, we will begin to live freely and lightly.