This week, I’m publishing a series about the kind of “exercise” that helps churches remain (become) healthy. (If you haven’t read it yet, here’s the “introduction” post.) This series goes along with my series from last week called “A Healthy Diet for the Church.”
There are many different types of exercise which go above and beyond the normal things necessary for existence. This series focuses on three such exercises: 1) trusting, 2) giving, and 3) proclaiming. In this post, I investigate how the exercise of trusting is necessary for a church to remain (become) healthy.
As with the other aspects of “exercise” in this series, trusting God is one basis for the existence of the church. There is no church without faith in God, that is, without trusting God.
But, remember, when Jesus was talking to the epileptic boy’s father, the father said, “I believe; help my unbelief,” or, “I trust you; help me when I don’t trust you.” (Mark 9:24)
Thus, when the church “exercises” it’s faith (or trust) people learn to trust God even more as they live their lives.
It’s one thing to trust God for eternal salvation, but it required even more faith to trust God with money, decisions, disagreements, jobs, spouses, children, etc. Even James, when writing his letter to scattered Christians, put helping brothers and sisters in need in the realm of trusting God. (See James 2:14-17.)
When someone (a church leader perhaps) feels he/she needs to be in control of everything (a church meeting or teaching the church perhaps), it demonstrates a lack of trusting God. When someone (a wealthy business person perhaps) finds it necessary to invest in their business or portfolio before helping others, it demonstrates a lack of trusting God. When someone never finds the time to teach others or proclaim the gospel because they’re not “gifted” in that way, it shows a lack of trusting God.
Trusting God reaches into much more than these kinds of things that some would normally consider “spiritual.” As we learn to trust God even more, we find that there is no difference between “spiritual” and “secular” matters, but instead God is present and working through all situations and in all circumstances. But, it requires us to continually and increasingly trust God to both recognize his presence and to submit to his working.
Don’t confuse this kind of trust with agree with certain facts about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, Scripture, etc. That’s not the kind of “faith” I’m talking about, and it’s not the kind of trust (i.e., faith) that we read about in Scripture.
Instead, I’m talking about an active faith (trust) that affect every aspect (or a growing number of aspects) of the life of someone who is following Jesus Christ. Now, this kind of trust will also affect what we think, believe, or confess about God, but that thinking, believing, and confessing is not the extent or the defining characteristic of trusting him.
Consider this passage for instance:
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23 ESV)
There are five different aspects of “faith” in this one sentence (a command, actually). 1) Holding fast, 2) confession, 3) hope, 4) without wavering, and 5) he who promised is faithful. The first four depend upon the final one. The only reason that we can “hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering” is because we trust God because he is faithful to do what he promises. In other words, we can trust God, therefore we do not waver in what we believe, hope, or confess concerning him.
At a time when a person’s “faith” is determined by their attendance at meetings, participating in Bible studies and other programs, or giving to organizations that benefit themselves, we need more Christians and churches exercising a trust in God that goes beyond these religious expressions into every area of our lives.
What would you add to my discussion of trust in God as an exercise to help the church remain (become) healthy?