Step Towards Transformation
Proverbs 3:5: Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
It’s easy to trust God if things are going our way: we’re getting good breaks, our business is blessed, our children are healthy. That doesn’t take much faith.
But what about when things aren’t going our way; our prayers aren’t being answered, the problem isn’t turning around, we’re not seeing favor? Too often, we get discouraged; we think, “God, why aren’t you doing something? You can see that i’m being mistreated, my health isn’t good, i worked hard but i didn’t get the promotion.” We think that
That’s conditional trust when you say “God, if you meet my demands, answer my prayers the way i want, on my timetable, then i’ll be my best.”
The problem with conditional trust is that there will always be things that we don’t understand, something that’s not happening fast enough, didn’t work out the way we wanted.
Are you mature enough to accept God’s answers, even though they’re not what you’re hoping for? We’re not going to understand everything that happens; faith is trusting God when life doesn’t make sense. There’ll always be unanswered questions: why didn’t my loved one make it, why am i not getting better, why did this person leave? Some things are not going to make sense, but God wouldn’t have allowed it if he wasn’t going to bring good out of it; you may not see it at the time, but God knows what he’s doing. He has your best interests at heart; it’s not random, it’s a part of his plan.
Dare to trust him.
Illustration: What Is Trust? [Prov. 3:5]
To understand this verse, we must understand the fundamental difference between ‘believe’ and ‘trust.’
How many of you have heard of Jean-Francois Gravelet? He was born in France on Feb. 28, 1824. He died in London on Feb. 22, 1897. He is better known as Charles Blondin. Blondin was a tightrope walker.
Charles Blondin was the first person to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope, a 3 hemp rope, 1,100 feet long In 1859 and 1860 he walked across it 160 feet above the Niagara River, just below the falls, several times, each time with a different, daring feat: dressed in a sack, walking on stilts, pushing a wheelbarrow full of potatoes, riding a bicycle. One time he stopped in mid-section and cooked an omelette on a small portable stove.
If you stood in the crowd and he came up to you with his wheelbarrow and asked, Do you believe that I can push you across in this? undoubtedly you would say Yes. What would your answer be if he then said, Get in? Thats a different story!
Many, many people believe in the Lord Jesus. I dare say virtually all of you do. But many fewer people trust the Lord, are willing to get in the wheelbarrow.
Trust in the Lord means to be fully confident or sure; to be bold in action. With all your heart means with the centre of your being, at the deepest level, fully and completely.
God can see things in you that you can’t see in yourself. His plan for your life is bigger than your plan, but it may not happen the way you thought. God doesn’t take us in a straight line; there will be disappointments, loss, bad breaks, which are all a part of his plan.
But if you have conditional trust, you’ll get discouraged, and think, “why is this happening? I’m going to wrong way.” But God is still directing your steps;
Trust him when you don’t understand, when it feels like you’re going in the wrong direction. Sometimes, we want things so bad, that we’re not going to be happy unless it happens our way:
“i can’t be happy
Anything that you have to have in order to be happy, the enemy can use against you.
It’s good to be honest with God, tell him your dreams, what you’re believing for, it’s fine to ask, but then be mature enough to say, “but God, if it never happens, if i never get the promotion, if my loved one doesn’t make it, if my health doesn’t improve, i’m still going to trust you.”
We can get so consumed with what we want that it can become like an idol.
It’s all we think about, pray about, always on the forefront of our minds. Turn it over to God; pray, believe, then leave it in God’s hands.
Don’t get so focused on what you want that you miss the beauty of this day;
Everything may not be perfect, there are things that need to change, but God has given you the grace to be happy today. It’s very freeing when you can say, “God, it’s in your hands. I trust you, not conditionally, if it works out my way, i trust you unconditionally, even when i don’t understand it.”
The apostle Paul had:
2 Corinthians 12:7 (NLT)..7 to keep me from becoming proud, i was given a thorn in my flesh
This was something either physical or spiritual that he didn’t like; it was bothering him.
2 Corinthians 12:8 (NLT)..8 three different times i begged the lord to take it away.
But God didn’t remove it. Paul was honoring God, being his best, he wrote half of the books in the new testament; you would think that God would fix what was bothering him.
But God said:
2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)…9 but he said to me, “my grace is sufficient for you
He was saying, in effect, “i may not remove it just yet, but i will give you the grace to handle it.”
Don’t use that as an excuse to live sour, bitter. God has given you the grace to be where you are with a good attitude; you can enjoy your life in spite of what’s not working out.
Sometimes, the reason that our prayers aren’t answered the way we want is because
Unconditional trust says, “God, i don’t like it, i’m uncomfortable, but i’m smart enough to recognize that you’re God and i’m not. You’re on the throne, in control of my life, and you said that your plans for me are for good, you would lead me down the best path for my life. Even though i don’t understand it right now, i trust you.”
Are you living frustrated, unhappy, because something is not going your way? That’s conditional trust. You’ll live a lot freer, happier, if you’ll quit fighting what God is not changing, being upset about what he’s not removing.
Philippians 4:11 (NIV)..11 i am not saying this because i am in need, for i have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
It didn’t happen automatically; he made this decision, “i’m not going to live sour because God hasn’t removed this thorn. When he wants to remove it, he’ll remove it, but until then, i’m going to be happy where i am, thorn and all.”
The truth is, we all have some thorns, things that God is not changing. He could if he wanted to, he’s God, but since he’s not doing it yet, will you do like Paul, and be happy where you are, thorn and all, trouble and all, loneliness and all?
It takes a mature person to say, “even though God is not removing this, i’m still going to have a smile, be good to people, give God praise.”
This is what happened with the 3 hebrew teenagers in the scripture:
Daniel 3:12-18 (NIV)…12 … shadrach, meshach and abednego—who pay no attention to you, your majesty. They neither serve your Gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up.”… 14 and nebuchadnezzar said to them, “is it true, shadrach, meshach and abednego, that you do not serve my Gods or worship the image of gold i have set up?… 16 shadrach, meshach and abednego replied to him, “king nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 if we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from your majesty’s hand. 18 but even if he does not, we want you to know, your majesty, that we will not serve your Gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
That’s unconditional trust; “i believe that God’s going to turn this situation around, but even if he doesn’t, i’m still going to be happy.I know God is still on the throne; if he’s not changing it, he has a reason. My life is in his hands.”
Dare to trust him, not just when things are going your way, but even when you don’t understand it.
Psalm 138:8 (NLT)..8 the lord will work out his plans for my life
You don’t have to work it all out, make it happen in your own strength, try to manipulate people, fight all your battles; why don’t you relax, take the pressure off yourself, and let God work out his plan for your life? He can do it better than you can. He knows the best path.
That’s what these teenagers were saying; “we know that we’re not doing life on our own; the most high God is working out his plan for our lives.”
All the forces of darkness cannot stop what God has ordained: that sickness, trouble at work, disappointments, setbacks can’t stop it. You may have a lot coming against you,
But the good news is that you’re not alone, and you wouldn’t be thrown in that fire unless God allowed it. The enemy is not in control of your life; God is. He’s working out his plan; sometimes, it includes fiery furnaces, people who don’t like you, obstacles that seem insurmountable;
You don’t see a way, but since you know that the lord is directing your steps, you don’t try to figure it all out.
Illustration; A man named Jack was walking along a steep cliff one day when he accidentally got too close to the edge and fell. On the way down he grabbed a branch, which temporarily stopped his fall. He looked down and to his horror saw that the canyon fell straight down for more than a thousand feet. He couldn’t hang onto the branch forever, and there was no way for him to climb up the steep wall of the cliff.
So Jack began yelling for help, hoping that someone passing by would hear him and lower a rope or something. “HELP! HELP! Is anyone up there? “HELP!” He yelled for a long time, but no one heard him. He was about to give up when he heard a voice.
“Jack, Jack. Can you hear me?” “Yes, yes! I can hear you. I’m down here!” “I can see you, Jack. Are you all right?” “Yes, but who are you, and where are you? “I am the Lord, Jack. I’m everywhere.” “The Lord? You mean, GOD?” “That’s Me.” “God, please help me! I promise if, you’ll get me down from here, I’ll stop sinning. I’ll be a really good person. I’ll serve You for the rest of my life.”
“Easy on the promises, Jack. Let’s get you off from there, then we can talk.” “Now, here’s what I want you to do. Listen carefully.” “I’ll do anything, Lord. Just tell me what to do.” “Okay. Let go of the branch.” “What?” “I said, let go of the branch.” Just trust Me. Let go.” There was a long silence.
Finally Jack yelled, “HELP! HELP! IS ANYONE ELSE UP THERE?”
It may look like the end, but you have unconditional trust; “i know that God will deliver me, but even if he doesn’t, i’m still going to have a song of praise, an attitude of faith, live my life happy.”
Daniel 3:19-25 (NKJV)..19 then nebuchadnezzar was full of fury… commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. 20… bind shadrach, meshach, and abed-nego, and cast them into the burning fiery furnace… the flame of the fire killed those men who took up shadrach, meshach, and abed-nego… 24 then king nebuchadnezzar was astonished… “did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “true, o king.” 25 “look!” He answered, “i see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the son of God.”
What was that? God working out his plan for their lives.
But i wonder what the outcome would’ve been if they had had conditional trust, or if they had become negative and complained; we probably wouldn’t be talking about them today.
If you want to get God’s attention, if you want him to take you to where you’ve never been, and turn impossible situations around, do like these teenagers; “i know that God will deliver me from this fire, but even if he doesn’t, i will still honor him.”
When you live like that with unconditional trust , you take away all of the enemy’s power;
He’s expecting you to get upset, be worried, fall apart, live in self-pity. When you have unconditional trust, you can’t be defeated. You may have challenges that look bigger, stronger, in the natural you don’t have a chance, don’t be intimidated; the forces that are for you are greater than the forces that are against you.
Job 5:26 (TLB)..26 … like standing grain, you’ll not be harvested until it’s time!
You may get thrown into a fire but if it’s not your time to go you’re not going to go. God has the final say. Right now he is working out his plan for your life.
There may be some fiery furnaces.
Are you only going to trust him
Are you going to have unconditional trust? Trust him like these teenagers, even if he takes you through the fire.
Illustration Of Self: looking back over my life things haven’t turned out the way I thought. I had a plan, I had it all figured out. I told God what to do, when to do it, what I needed, who to use,how to get me there. I gave him good information my very best.
The funny thing is God didn’t take my advice. He had his own plan. What I found is God’s plan has always been better than my plan. His ways have always been more rewarding, more fulfilling, bigger than my ways. If God would have done everything I asked, answered my prayers the way I wanted, on my timetable, it would have limited my destiny. I wouldn’t be where I am. I couldn’t see it at the time. Didn’t make sense, seemed like a good thing but one day I learned what Isaiah said that God’s ways are higher than our ways, his plans are better than our plans.
Quit being discouraged over something that didn’t work out the way you wanted.
Don’t be frustrated because somebody left that you wanted to stay. God knows what he’s doing; you may not see it now, but one day, when you see what God was up to, you’ll thank him for not answering those prayers.
As long as you’re honoring him, being your best, at the right time, God will get you to where you’re supposed to be. It may not be where you thought; God is going to take you further than you ever imagined.
Pray and believe for your dreams, but let God do it his way.
Hold tightly to what God put in your heart but hold loosely to how it’s going to happen. Don’t get set in your ways. Don’t be discouraged because it hasn’t happened the way you thought.
God is working out his plan for your life
Illustration Of A Woman Driving At Night; A woman was driving home at night along a highway when she became aware that a large truck was tail-gating her. She slowed down to allow the driver to pass, but he slowed down to her speed. She sped up; so did the truck. Beginning to get nervous, she took the next exit. The trucker exited, too, and stayed right on her tail. She turned onto a main street, and the truck driver ran a red light to stay with her. Beginning to panic, she whipped into a service station, jumped out of her car and began running and screaming for help, the truck driver pulled in right behind her, jumped from the cab of his truck, ran to her car, jerked open the rear door, and pulled out a man who was crouching behind the front seat. From his high vantage point, the trucker had seen a would-be rapist hiding in the back of the woman’s car, unknown to her. What she perceived as a threat was really an act of kindness.
That’s the way God is.
If you’re only going to be happy if God does it your way, that’s not trusting, and you will be frustrated; why don’t you put your life in his hands?
He knows what’s best for you. He can see things that we can’t see.
Illustration Of A Water Bearer And The Pot; A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the masters house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water in his masters house.
Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.
After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.”
“Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?”
“I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your masters house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts.” The pot said.
The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, “As we return to the masters house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.”
Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again the Pot apologized to the bearer for its failure.
The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pots side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my masters table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.”
Each of us has our own unique flaws. We re all cracked pots. But if we will allow it, the Lord will use our flaws to grace His Fathers table. In Gods great economy, nothing goes to waste.
Some of the things in your life that are not working out right now, one day you’ll be thanking God; the closed doors, disappointments, delays are all working for you. Learn to embrace where you are. He’s given you the grace to be there with a good attitude;
If you’re going to pass the test, keep a smile on your face, don’t drag through the day disappointed.
Living worried, frustrated, disappointed, takes our passion, joy, and can keep us from seeing God’s favor.
God wants to see if we’ll trust him when we don’t understand it, and life doesn’t make sense.
This is what happened with Abraham; he waited 20 years to have his son isaac. You can imagine how Abraham felt when God told him:
Genesis 22:2 (NKJV)..2 then he said, “take now your son, your only son isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which i shall tell you.”
Abraham didn’t understand it, it didn’t seem fair, but he was obedient, and passed the trust test:
Genesis 22:12 (NCV)..12 the angel said, “don’t kill your son or hurt him in any way. Now i can see that you trust God and that you have not kept your son, your only son, from me.”
There will be times that God asks us to put our dream on the altar; when we show him that we can not have the dream but still be happy, we’re doing what Abraham did. When God sees that you don’t have to have it, many times God will give you back what you were willing to give up.
Illustration Of A Soldier: During world war 2, there was a young soldier in a library in Florida. While he was reading a book, he noticed all the handwritten notes in the margin. They were very thoughtful and heartwarming. He turned to the front of the book and it just so happened, it had the previous owner’s name and address. It was a lady named Holly that lived in New York City. He wrote her a letter introducing himself, telling how he was about to be shipped off overseas to Europe. The next day he invited her to respond and they could talk about the Book. Much to his surprise, he received a letter in return. For the next 13 months, they wrote back and forth again and again, getting closer and closer. They were actually falling in love. Yet they had never seen each other. He had requested a picture but she refused. A Year and a half later he was coming back home through New York City. This was their big opportunity. They were going to meet for the first time and go out to dinner. She said, “i’ll be waiting for you. When you get off the ship you’ll know it’s me by the pink rose i’ll be wearing.” Sailing back across the ocean he was so excited and so nervous at the same time. He stepped off the ship. The big moment finally arrived. This beautiful young lady came walking toward him. She took his breath away. She was stunning,tall, gorgeous, in great shape. She looked like a movie star. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. He was so taken aback by her, he didn’t realize she wasn’t wearing a pink rose. As she passed on by he finally came back down to earth. About that time this lady in her 40s walked up to him. She wasn’t necessarily attractive, had graying hair and just so happens she was wearing the pink rose. Disappointed but not showing it, he walked up to her with a smile. He saluted and said, “hello ma’am, you must be Holly. I’m so glad to meet you. Can I take you to dinner.” The lady said, “son, I’m not sure what’s going on but the young lady that just passed you asked me to wear this pink rose. She said if you invited me to dinner to tell you she’ll be waiting for you in the restaurant across the way.
It was simply a test.
Will you do the right thing when it’s hard, trust God when it’s not what you thought, when you don’t understand it?
Genesis 22:16-17 (NLT)..16 “this is what the lord says: because you have obeyed me and have not withheld even your son, your only son, i swear by my own name that 17 i will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore
When you do like Abraham, pass the trust test, God will not only give you the desires of your heart, he’ll do more than you can ask or think.
But Bro Melwyn , I am not a good person. How can God have something good for me.
Illustration Of What Sort Of Person Does God Use?
Imagine a group of people gathered before you. You need to select from among them those most likely to play a pivotal role in God’s plans for humanity. They are so at ease with you that they open up and share their darkest secrets.
Could you use them? I hope so, for they are the heroes of faith described in Hebrews 11.
Scripture shows that God uses very flawed people indeed!
Are you living frustrated because your prayers aren’t being answered the way you want, your plans aren’t working out?
Take the pressure off; God is in control. You’re not always going to understand it; if you did, it wouldn’t take any faith. I’m asking you to trust him unconditionally.