EPIKOS CHURCH - REAL PEOPLE. REAL STORIES. AMAZING GOD.
I know i can trust Him but can Jesus really trust me? Since He is the all powerful God of the universe does it really matter anyway?
“Because of the miraculous signs Jesus did in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration, many began to trust in him. But Jesus didn’t trust them, because he knew all about people. No one needed to tell him about human nature, for he knew what was in each person’s heart.”
This is a very sad verse to me because we are seeing the beginning of Jesus' ministry and He is doing miracles like crazy and crowds of people are beginning to throng to Him. Jesus knew that people were only following Him because of the miracles not because they wanted to change their lives. He knew that eventually they would turn on Him, when the nature of His purpose, kingdom and the requirements of being a true follower would come to light.
This story causes me to ask the question: "Does Jesus trust me?" He knows what is in my heart, he sees my actions, hears my words but even more - He knows the secrets of my heart. Does what He see cause Him to trust me? Or am I like one of those followers who just hang around because they want to get something from Him or because there’s nothing better to do for right now? What would Jesus be looking for in the heart of a man that would cause Him to trust him? Here are a few thoughts.
1. Honesty. David cries out to God in Psalm 51 saying: "You desire truth in the inward parts.” So often we try to hide or color as beautiful our ugliness. Honesty has to do with humility. I know the truth about myself, not just what I want others to see or even the version of myself that I desire. Honesty sees what currently is according to the revelation of the Holy Spirit and His Word, and then in humility cries out to God for grace to be transformed to the image of Jesus. Honesty has the ability to admit where I am and yet declare in faith where I am headed.
2. Integrity. Jesus blasted the pharisees because they acted spiritual but in reality they were selfish and evil. He called them "whitewashed tombs” (Matthew 23:27) outwardly beautiful but inside they were full of corruption and death. Integrity is being the same inside and out, in private and in public, at home or with “church people”. We are strong on the inside and don’t cave in to pressure or persecution. We keep our word even when it hurts and our word is our bond. None of this shifty, crafty double talk that keeps people guessing what we mean and keeps our options open in case we change our minds. Can we be trusted?
3. Sincerity. This reflects a heart that is pure. Jesus said that the pure in heart were blessed and that they would see God (Matthew 5:8). Sincerity of heart has no secret agenda or hidden motive. A “what you see is what you get” kind of a person. You never have to wonder when their real agenda will surface. They don't love you to your face and tear you apart in secret. They live through their heart and love is their motivation. These are the kind of people that you never have to second guess where they are coming from, you already know because they are who they appear to be.
4. Sacrifice. These are the kind of people that you can depend on. Jesus told His disciples repeatedly that if they wanted to follow Him they would have to leave everything else behind. Salvation is free - but it will cost you everything. He told us that if we weren't willing to forsake everything to follow Him, then we aren't worthy of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 10:37-38). A follower of Jesus understands that the prize is worth the cost and the reward outweighs the risk. We understand that Jesus is advancing His kingdom here and invites us to join the cause. This person sees the Church as the Bride of Christ and is willing to do whatever is required to make her beautiful and win for the Lamb the reward of His sacrifice.
5. Faithfulness. Proverbs 20:6 says: "Many claim to have unfailing love, but a faithful person who can find?" This is so true. As conventional wisdom says, "Talk is cheap.” When the smoke clears, who is still standing with you in the battle? This faithfulness gets tested on a regular basis. Jesus will put us in situations where we are disappointed and discouraged and where He seems distant and our prayers don't seem to be answered…these situations test our faithfulness. Do we follow Jesus for what we can get from Him or because we are devoted to Him and in love with Him?
6. Surrender. We want to follow Jesus but keep our rights. Over and over again the Apostles called themselves "slaves of Jesus.” They were slaves by choice not by compulsion. A surrendered person is honest about where they are at (sincerity) but they yield to the plan of God and say "not my will but Yours be done." Surrender is where we come to the place that we love and trust Jesus so much that we give Him absolute control over our lives, our hearts, our stuff - yes, even our time. Surrender means we desire God to be glorified more than our own success.
7. Intimacy. This should be the ultimate goal for a follower of Jesus. Like Paul said in Philippians 3:8-11 "Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ...I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death…”
The most important thing in all of life is to know Jesus, not just know about Him, but to really know Him. To talk to Him and have Him talk to me. The relationship Jesus wants to have with us is a deep, trusting friendship, where He tells us His deep, secret things. "I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn't confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me." (John 15:15). John 2:23-15 says it this way, “Because of the miraculous signs Jesus did in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration, many began to trust in him. But Jesus didn’t trust them, because he knew all about people. No one needed to tell him about human nature, for he knew what was in each person’s heart.”
Can Jesus Trust Me?
Lets do our part to be a follower that Jesus can trust. I desire to have Him share with me His secrets, to be trusted by him to such a degree that He invests in me for the good of His Church and His kingdom and He is confident that He will get a good return on His investment. “Friendship with the LORD is reserved for those who fear Him, and He makes known to them the secrets of His covenant.” That is what I want!
Lets do our part to be a follower that Jesus can trust. I desire to have Him share with me His secrets, to be trusted by him to such a degree that He invests in me for the good of His Church and His kingdom and He is confident that He will get a good return on His investment.
Pastors Phil Harris of Epikos Church in Bend, Oregon.