Last time, in “Keep Your Mind Stayed on Him” we discussed Isaiah 26:3-4, concluding that our trust in the Lord is helped by staying our minds on Him. Typically we don’t trust the Lord; it is easier to trust in ourselves. God’s design, however, is that our trust is relational; our trust is built up out of a relationship with Him. Our trust is also not circumstantial, meaning that it is based on faith (i.e. that which is not seen) and not our everyday experience.
In Jesus, we find a perfect example of how to trust in difficult circumstances, modeled for us during Jesus’ trial. During his trial, Jesus was at peace, even though He was in difficult circumstances.
Jesus knew that “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) He also knew that he would be alone in the world, but not alone. “But a time is coming and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.” (John 16:32)
- Jesus desired God’s PURPOSE despite the presence of trials and difficulties.
Jesus made sure that in His heart and mind, He desired God’s purpose above all else in His life. We can see this in three attitudes that are a challenge for us but are the secret to trusting God in all circumstances.
- Jesus dwelt on the love of God. “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” (John 15:9) Jesus knew and experienced God the Father’s love, and in His mind, He was continuously reminded that He was loved by God the Father.
- Jesus sought the will of God (not His own will). Mark 14:36 “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Jesus knew his crucifixion lay ahead, and because He was human, He dreaded it. He knew that He would have to take on the sins of the world, be separated from the Father and die on the cross so that we may be delivered from sin and death. Seeking what we want for ourselves is our natural inclination (even for Jesus) and working at giving God’s will priority in our lives is a decision in our hearts and minds.
- Jesus lived to glorify God. “Now my heart is trouble, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” (John 12:27-28). He knew that God had sent Him into the world to die for our sins, in our place. Jesus said no to his human desires to glorify His Father. He made this statement about His life to God the Father in prayer: “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.” (John 17:4)
- Jesus longed for the PRESENCE of God more than His PROVISION.
We, as children of God, often look to God for provision and care. But Jesus longed for the presence of God in a relationship more than God’s provision of His needs.
In Psalm 131:2, David says that in difficult times: “But I have calmed and quietened myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child, I am content.”
When a baby cries, a parent will respond and give it a bottle. Children cry for their parents, looking for provision and care. A weaned child that cries is not looking to the parent for a bottle; they simply want the presence of the parent. David is saying that in difficult times, He quietens his heart and mind and longs for God’s presence like a ‘weaned child,’ rather than God’s provision.
We want to see this in our prayers. Often we treat prayer like a “panic button” which we are quick to press whenever we want provision. But quiet trust in the Lord starts to change a prayer life where the presence of the Lord and the relationship is more important than the provision from the Lord. The presence of the Lord is sought, so that the relationship can grow so that as the child grows, just like old people, we start to resemble the Person we spend time with.
Jesus loved God’s presence, and at that moment on the cross, when the sin of the world rested on Him, the last thing that Jesus cries out before His death is:
“About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ (which means ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’).” (Matthew 27:46)
God’s presence was more important to Jesus than anything else. How important is God’s presence to you?
Father God, thank you for this clarity in the thought processes of trusting You. It is true that we struggle to stay focused on Your love and to surrender our own will and desires. Help us to seek Your glory above all else in our lives, may everything we do and say be to glorify your name. Help me to focus on my relationship with You and Your Presence in my life. May Your purpose for my life become my priority despite what my current life and circumstances may look like. May my prayer life change so that it is not about what I want or need, but about my relationship with You.
- Have you ever considered that God’s purposes for your life have more value than your everyday comfort and provision?
- Examine your prayer life, are they the prayers of a weaned, or unweaned child? How much of your prayer-life is focused on your everyday provision and comfort? How much is focused on your relationship with God and the needs of others?