Not to us, O LORD, not to us! But to your name bring honor for the sake of your loyal love and faithfulness. O Israel, trustin the LORD! He is their delivere8and protector O family of Aaron, trustin the LORD! He is their deliverer11and protector. You loyal followers of the LORD,trustin the LORD! He is their deliverer14and protector. The LORD takes notice of us, he will bless–he will bless the family of Israel, he will bless the family of Aaron. He will bless his loyal followers, both young and old. – Psalm 115

One of the elements of the message on Sunday that struck a chord with me is the idea of relationship with Christ and that relationship requires trust. Trust is that one, indispensable element without which genuine relationship cannot develop. I need to constantly keep in this in my spiritual window or God can become irrelevant.

I heard again this week a couple of stories of pastors in very large mega-church environments, quitting their ministries and declaring that they do not believe in God anymore and are moving on to something else. It happens occasionally and, on the one hand, this is an unnerving shock when you hear things like this and yet on the other hand not so much anymore. These kinds of disturbing events remind us that our trust needs to reside in the person of Christ and not in people, regardless of their earthly status.

Why does this happen?There are certain divergent texts that propose some possible reasons for these things. Hebrews indicates that there are some who have tasted the full measure of Christ (shorthand) (Heb. 6:4-8) and then fall away find it impossible to renew them again to repentance. Matthew indicated that some people receive the word with joy but it never takes root and when faced with spiritual trauma, fall away (Matt. 13:20-21). Paul said some have shipwrecked their faith because they could not hold firm to faith and have a good conscience about it (1 Tim. 1:19). While these all have various perspectives it does indicate that these kind of scenarios were anticipated by God and revealed will happen in the Scriptures. Matthew also indicated that in the last days, because of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold. We face some ominous times and difficult challenges in the world we live. The question then is – how do we survive and thrive in light of these looming challenges?

Methodology is one thing, but Psalm 115 invites us to consider one key thing: trust the Lord. Now I get the fact that almost sounds like it begs the question: isn’t that the whole problem is a loss of trust. But actually I believe the issues are deeper than that. In order to trust God we have to treat God like He is a real person… really?! I am not kidding. The moment that God becomes a concierge to make us successful it is easy to lose sight of a genuine relationship with Him. He exists to make me successful. If He does not make me successful then I get disillusioned with God and wonder if He is worth following. When I lose sight of a personal relationship with Him I start using God rather than relating to God. When I start ignoring an intimate relationship with God I resort to moralism or a duty to religion rather than walking with God. When God stops being my life and He is there to simply secure my life, then we make ourselves out to be God and He is there to serve me rather than me serving Him. Once we start getting slippage that this is relationshipwith the God of the universe then this whole “Christianity thing” rises no higher on the scale than any other religion and God becomes a thing rather than a person to relate to.

Relationship is critical. I need to learn to trust Him even before I try and please Him. The core motivation for life is the massive privilege that I am related, a child of the most High God. No matter what happens on earth, someday I will look face to face in the eyes of my Savior and experience joy and delight beyond my ability to experience it now.

So are you committed to valuing this relationship? Are you committed, above all other things, to spending time at this relationship? Are you willing to sacrifice in order to make time for this relationship? We will never impress God with what we do for Him because what He desires is that we know Him. When we know Him and walk with Him we will bear fruit for God (Romans 7:4). How is your relationship with God? How meaningful is your time talking with God? How much is your life centered on Christ in everything you do? If we forsake Him we will struggle.

Pastor Brad.