Be careful of great claims, especially claims of faith. Just before His arrest, Jesus said to His disciples, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, …. Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” Well, we know the outcome. Peter did deny his Lord, and was crushed. We try to say about some temptation, “I will never do that again.” “I will be strong and resist.” But then we fail, and like Peter, are crushed. We really never want to hurt or deny our Lord, but the world, the flesh, and the devil press in on us, and we yield. The great truth of Scripture is that grace and forgiveness are always available. We can be, and are restored when we repent. So, we don’t make any great claims of faith, but humbly trust the Lord for each day.
There is a British comedy we enjoy watching on Public Television. It is done quite well, and we have been following it for years. There is one aspect that makes it way into almost every episode, that is the lie. The characters will find themselves having to answer a difficult question, or give some reason for something they do or do not want to do, and they make up a lie. It usually gets them in trouble, but it is still the first response they usually make. It is always a temptation. We want to look good. We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. It’s so easy to shade the truth in our favor. After all, they are only “little white lies.” Which is a lie itself. Yes, it is hard at time to make truth our rule for everything we say and do, but it is a vital virtue to be cultivated. It is only out of truth that trust comes. God was quite serious when He gave the command not to bear false witness. It is hard at time, but it is the best policy for life.
Psalm 131 is one of the shortest, but yet carries a powerful message. “My heart is not proud, O LORD, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, put your hope in the LORD both now and forevermore.” Life gets very complicated. We joke about solving the world’s problems, but we know we can’t. We fret about things that will probably never change in this world, things we have no power to deal with. The Psalmists cautions us against arrogance in thinking that we are greater than we are. And there it is again, that child like trust in the Lord. We do what we can in the sphere in which we have influence, and leave the rest to the Lord. Even in the busyness of your days, let you soul rest quietly in Jesus.
God is a God of order and peace. In creation He did things in a necessary order, light first, then solidness of earth, and so forth until He come to a time of rest. Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Peace I leave with you. My peace I give unto you.” His desire is that we have that same order and peace in our lives. It is not always easy. I find that I often have six things going around in my head at the same time. All important. All requiring some kind of fairly immediate attention. And I’m a person of lists. Without a list things get forgotten. God has given us a good lesson in creation, first things first. Do it, then move on. And above all, Jesus lesson to His disciples to live in His peace. There are very few pressing things today that really are going to matter a month, a year, from now. We are a people loved deeply by the Father, saved in the blood of Jesus Christ, and guided daily by the presence of the Holy Spirit. Let us learn to trust in that more, and live in His peace.
Can you imagine receiving an instruction from the Lord like Abraham received? “Leave your country, your people, and your father’s house, and go to the land I will show you” (Genesis 12:1). We would have to be pretty certain that it was the Lord who was speaking, and even then, would require a tremendous amount of faith and trust. We are told that Abraham (Abram, at that time) obeyed, and from that obedience a great people of faith was born, beginning a line that would lead to the Messiah. No, it is difficult for me to imagine receiving that kind of instruction from the Lord. Nevertheless, it is the kind of trust our Lord is asking of us. Jesus said, “Do not worry about your life. Your heavenly Father knows what you need” (Matthew 6:25-34). This is not a command to leave our home, but we are called to trust the Lord for all parts of our life, and not be afraid. It is this faith the Lord seeks in all of us.