What was Once Golden

Luke 6: 31

Treat people the same way you want them to treat you.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. That is the way many of us learned this adage. We were taught it is the “Golden Rule.” Perhaps many of you have also taught it to your children and grandchildren. I am thinking of it today in conjunction with “The One Commandment.” Both were spoken by the same teacher. I think of it too in light of James telling us to be doers of the Word, not mere hearers.

The Golden Rule is the fulfilment of the One Commandment to love one another as Jesus loved us. In a very practical sense, the Golden Rule is the extension of the One Commandment. When we put love at the forefront of our lives, we treat people well. One might say, Love requires us to treat others at least as well as we would have them treat us.

These are such simple lessons. They make perfect sense and are easy to teach others. The hard part is in remembering these lessons in everyday life. It is so easy to get caught up in our heads and thoughts that we forget to apply life principles. We are too busy “thinking” and orating that we forget to search our hearts and listen to the voice and teachings of our Lord. It is not that we intentionally minimize Jesus’ principles. We just fail to intentionally apply them. We are so busy in thoughts and philosophical ruminations that we don’t remember to check in with our Lord. We don’t ask him what the guiding principle is in a given situation.

We can think ourselves into a black hole. God has not taught us to be reasoning beings. We are to be believers and not of any philosophy or doctrine but of Jesus alone. We are supposed to follow him and his teachings. That means following the Golden Rule and the One Commandment. They should overshadow our thoughts and philosophies. It sounded so simple when we were children being taught this rule. It made perfect sense. Why now, as adults, do we find it challenging? Have we gotten too smart for our own good? Do we follow our reasoning instead of following Christ?

In these days which are increasingly complicated, the best advice we may hear is to go back to our roots in faith and lean, not on our own understanding and wisdom (Proverb 3: 5), but on that of the Lord; to follow in childlike fashion the words of Jesus. Most of us would relish some simplicity in life right now so here is my contribution to that end, follow the teachings of your youth in simple faith and trust. Call upon God to be the wisdom of your life and to provide answers. Be childlike in your following of the Lord. Let the Golden Rule guide your words and deeds. Keep it simple. Love others as Jesus has loved you. Treat them as Jesus has treated you. Give as Jesus has given. Now, doesn’t that uncomplicate things a little?

Sustaining Trust

Jeremiah 17: 7 – 8

Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD and whose trust is the LORD. “For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.”

What refreshing and comforting words we receive today from Jeremiah. The person of faith and trust is represented as a tree. Trees live a long time, longer than humans. In the Bible, they are contrasted with the grass of the field which is here today and gone tomorrow. The imagery portrayed in today’s verse is comforting, I believe, because it paints a picture of something that is not easily swayed by the winds of change or challenge.

He whose trust is in the Lord is connected with the source of life. When our lives are planted near the source of the living water, we, like the tree, draw in sustaining water. Our roots reach out and grasp the Father, Son and Spirit and through that connection they feed and sustain us. Life flows into our root structure through our intertwining with the trinity. This verse says that even in a drought or famine, our leaf shall not wither nor shall we fail to produce fruit.

The fruit from the tree comes from the blessing of the living water. As long as we are tapped into that water, it shall continue to produce fruit in us, even through times of hardship. When our trust is truly fixed on the Lord, we shall not fear nor shall anxiety have a root in us. We are blessed for “blessed is the [one] whose trust is in the Lord.” Even in the time of trouble, blessing flows through the root system of those who trust God.

Fear not, beloved. Your blessing is not from the world, neither is your sustenance. Life is in the water, the living water that Jesus promised us. Even in times of great trial, our trust in our Lord and God fills us with His provision and sustains our souls. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your understanding (Proverb 3: 5), but rather lean, in faith, on Him.

Trust

Proverb 3: 5

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

This scripture was brought to my mind recently and I saw it in a new light. Trusting the Lord is a favorite theme of mine both in my ministry and in my own personal life. I have a personal saying that I wish to walk in “radical trust in the Lord.” And sometimes I have been that deep in my trust, but I find it is a difficult place to stay. The world rushes in; my own thoughts take me captive and the next thing I know, I have let my trust slip.

This proverb points out how complete our trust in the Lord is to be. When we trust the Lord with our whole heart, rather than only part, then there is no room for any other emotion at all. There is no room for even one seed of doubt or one micro-ounce of fear. There is no questioning how He is going to provide the answer we need because we have completely abandoned the problem to Him. When we really trust the Lord with all our heart, then trust is all there is. All of your heart, all of your emotion, all of your thoughts are of easy reliance on our God and Father.

Read this verse again today, for the first time. Read it with emphasis on the word all. Picture a human heart and imagine yours completely full of trust. See that there is no room for doubt or fear. Let yourself feel that immersive trust welling up from inside of you and overcoming you entirely and enjoy a new level of trusting the Lord.

Little Drummer Boy

Proverb 3: 5

Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.

I watched the animated version of the Little Drummer Boy last night. In it, this scripture was demonstrated vividly.

The little drummer boy had a lamb which was very important to him for the animals were his family. One day the lamb was injured and all hope for its survival seemed lost. Then the drummer boy remembered that three wise kings traveled to town. Surely the wise kings would know how to save the little lamb. So, the boy took the lamb and sought out the wise kings. Finding one he implored the wise king to heal his little lamb. The king said, “I cannot help you but there is one here who can.” The perplexed drummer boy questioned, “The babe?” “Yes, go to him,” the king instructed, but the drummer boy hesitated. Looking to the wise man he said, “I don’t understand,” to which the king replied, “It is not important that you understand. Go to him.”

In two short statements in a children’s story, the entire theology of Christ is revealed. Go to him. If we do this one thing, all else falls into place. However, we, like the child drummer, don’t understand. We seek understanding when all we really need is simple faith. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart,” not all your head. We will never figure out the simple grace of our Lord. His peace and love are inexplicable in human terms. The best we can do is disengage from our processing centers and plug in to our believers, even when or especially when, we do not understand.

There is a reason the children of God are called believers rather than understanders or thinkers. Belief has a place in the mind but real belief, the kind that moves mountains, is a product of the heart. Little Aaron, the drummer boy, learned this lesson and it turned his whole life around. No longer was he an embittered soul. Instead he learned the meaning of love and faith. His desperation drove him to the infant king but there in the glow of babe’s love for all people, Aaron found the love he longed for.

We have opportunities every day to trust God with the challenges of life. Sometimes we think too much and block the flow of Jesus’ creative power. We only need loosen our grip and go to the babe. Just go to him and trust him to have the answers. Let him be the savior. You no longer have to work so hard. You don’t have to figure it out, you don’t have to understand. Like the wise king told the drummer boy, just go to him.

The Rich Young Ruler (Part 5)

Mark 10: 21

And looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him, and said to him, “One thing you lack . . . come, follow me.”

What was the one thing that the rich young ruler lacked? I believe it was a deep abiding trust in the Holy One. I think Jesus was preaching Proverb 3: 5 to him which reads; “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” We know that this young man was holy because he kept the commandments. We know that he loved God. That is why he kept the commandments. He had a deeper longing for God also. He was not prideful either. Those two are demonstrated in the fact that he ran to Jesus and that he threw himself at Jesus’ feet. He wanted to know how to come closer to God and was willing to chase down the man he thought could teach him that.

His problem was not that he had riches. Really it is not hard to get into heaven with riches. You just leave them behind here on earth. You go, they stay. No, his problem was that he had learned to trust in his wealth. He trusted in his skills. He knew how to live and be prosperous but his trust was in himself and his ability to take care of himself. Jesus called him to leave that life and his possessions behind and follow him. Peter, John, etc. left their goods behind and it did not seem to bother them much. They did not have their trust tied into their fishing nets. This young man didn’t know how to walk by faith though. This is what Jesus wanted to teach him. In the fourth chapter of Mark, Jesus compared the kingdom of God to seed which is planted and having been planted, after a time, yields a crop. He was trying to teach them all the law of sowing and reaping.

When Jesus called Andrew and Peter, he told them that he would make him fishers of men. In the rich young ruler’s case, he would have shown him how to sow and reap in the kingdom of God. He would have taught him how to make money by sowing, but also he would have taught him how he (the young ruler) could plant the seed of God’s word and reap souls saved and destiny bound. He could have become a great evangelist because he already knew the principles of business. He just needed to learn to operate as God and Jesus did. And he needed to learn what we are all still learning even to this day. Walk wherever Jesus calls you without fear or concern for your own livelihood. Do what he calls you to do and have no thought for your own needs. They are the responsibility of the Father. The rich young ruler couldn’t step out of his comfort zone and follow Christ. He couldn’t step out on that water and trust Christ to hold him up. He couldn’t go where Jesus called because of his fear and lack of faith and trust. Now the real question is, “Can we?”

Leaning

Proverb 3: 5

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

God has promised us that He will lead us and guide us making our paths straight. Well, that is great news! Here is the real key though. We must really learn to put all our trust in Him. We must abandon our own ways of thinking even to the point of abandoning our own understanding. Many of us have our security tied up in understanding things for ourselves. This is like jumping off of a height. All that we know about gravity and the consequences of such an action tell us that this is a foolish action. None the less, if God is telling you to take a step that you do not understand, you must just trust Him to bring you through. Do not require God’s plans to make sense to you. Don’t lean on your own wisdom and knowledge. We really aren’t that smart anyway. Rely on God’s ability to do what He promises. Abandon yourself, your plans and your will to Him. Trust Him to lead you into the fullness of all He has promised you.