Robert Jeffress - Developing a Trusting Heart - Part 1
Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress, and welcome again to Pathway to Victory. One of my favorite features on my TV remote is the fast forward button. Whenever a program gets a little too slow or a little too intense, I can just skip ahead. Now, wouldn't it be nice if we had a remote control to skip over the parts of our lives we don't like? Well, no matter what struggles you're facing right now, God has provided a better option for getting through them. My message is titled "Developing a Trusting Heart" on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.
To begin with today, I need a volunteer. I need a female volunteer. Now, in the first service, one lady came bounding down the aisle. I think she thought this was "The price is right," but I do need a female volunteer, so ah, let's see. Sally, do you have a purse?
—. Okay. My childhood friend, Sally Deboard, come on up. Now, I want to be sure everybody knows this was not a plant, was it?
—. No, it's not. Okay, come over here and stand
—. On this side of me.
—. I can hit you with my purse. She's kind of sassy too, okay. Now, Sally, you don't know what I'm going to do, right?
—. No, I don't.
—. Okay, I want to be sure and get that cleared up. Now, I'm going to ask you to do some things in the next few moments, and if you do what I ask you to do, I promise that you will be better off when you leave this stage than when you came on this stage.
—. Do you believe me?
—. Yes. That was a little tentative, Sally. Well, again, I'm asking you to trust me that you're going to be better off.
—. Now, do you have a wallet?
—. Yes. How much money have you got in there?
—. I have a credit card and some something or other. Well, I want to see the something or other. I'll get arrested for your credit card. How much money have you got in there? I'm a little short for lunch. And it looks like you are too, oh, no, there's some 20's in there. You better stick with McDonald's. Well, that's okay. There's a 20 and 10, all right. Thank you very much. Now, that is a beautiful watch.
—. Thank you.
—. And I think Amy would like that watch, as I think about it.
—. Do you want my watch?
—. Could I have your watch
—. As well?
—. Sure, sure. Now, that is a beautiful ring. Is there a story behind that ring? That was my grandmother's engagement ring, and my mother put guard bands around it and gave it to me. You know, when Amy and I got married, we didn't have any money,
—. And I didn't have enough money
—. For a ring.
—. You want to rethink, Amy?
—. Could I go ahead, and could I have that ring as well? Sure, sure, why not? Now, why did you give me these things? Because I'm an idiot. As we will see proven in just a moment. All right, thank you very much, Sally.
—. Appreciate it.
—. Oh, okay. Or no, wait a minute, wait a minute, Sally. Now, I made you a promise. I made you a promise that if you did what I ask you to do, you'd leave better off. Now, these are mine, and I can do whatever I want to with them, but being the gracious person that I am, I'm going to give you your ring back, okay? Technically, they're Amy's. All right, well, I'm speaking for Amy here, and I'm going to give you your watch back. Thank you. And I'm going to give you your money back, okay. Because they're mine, I can do whatever I wanted to, but because you trusted me, I made a promise to you,
—. I also have a $100 bill
—. That I'm going to give to you as well
—. To go to lunch on as well.
—. Oh, thank you!
—. Thank you!
—. You bet! Now, she was very trusting, wasn't she? Now, besides being an idiot, why did Sally do what I ask her to do? At some level, she knew she could trust me. She knew at some level that I would do what I promised to do, that I would be sure that she was better off than she was when she came up here on the platform. In the early service, there was literally a member who came up, and she had $5 left. She had given everything else in the offering, and she gave me her last $5. I said, "Why did you do that"? She said, "Because it's more blessed to give than to receive, and I believe my pastor". So you know, our obedience has to do with our level of trust so often, and it's the same in our relationship with God.
You know, God says that if we do what he ask us to do, we will be better off than if we don't do what he ask us to do. Most of us will believe that up to a point. We believe God enough that we don't commit murder or embezzlement. We know that wouldn't be good for us. We may say no to certain temptations that we don't feel a particular inclination to fall into, but there comes a level at which we begin to doubt whether we can really trust God or not, and it's at that level of commitment, when God asks us to abstain from a certain behavior or to give something like a wedding ring or a watch or something even more valuable to us, then we begin to wonder can we really trust God that we're going to be better off if we obey him?
Last time we talked about one of the Marks of a Disciple was an Robert Jeffress - Developing An Obedient Heart]Obedient Heart[/url], being willing to do everything God ask us to do, not picking and choosing like a Buffet what we're going to obey, but obeying all things, but ladies and gentlemen, we will never be that obedient disciple. We will never obey God immediately, completely, and joyfully until we learn to trust God, and that's what I want to talk about today, how to develop that trusting heart that allows us to obey God in all things whatsoever he has commanded us. If you have your Bibles, I want you to turn to Colossians chapter three, Colossians chapter three. Today, we're talking about trust, but in the Bible, the word faith is the synonym for trust, and it's invaluable in a disciple's life.
For example, Habakkuk 2:4 says, "The righteous person shall live by," what? "By faith," or skip down to Hebrews chapter 11 verse six, "Without faith, it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him". Faith is indispensable, learning to trust God, but what do we mean by faith? What does it mean to trust God? I think the best way to understand what faith is is by understanding what it isn't. First of all, faith is not the ability to predict the future. Have you heard people say, "Well, I'm trusting God that my marriage is going to work out"? Or, "I'm trusting God that I'm going to get this job that I want". Or, "I'm trusting God that I'm going to get the raise that I've been desiring for so long".
They think that's what faith is, the ability to predict what's going to happen, and if we believe something long enough and hard enough, it comes to pass. That's not faith. That's presumption, okay? Now, faith is not the ability to predict the future. Secondly, faith is not the absence of any doubt. Sometimes we think faith means I can have zero doubt whatsoever. That's not true. You know, I think Sally, at some level when she was up here, she was uncertain what was going to happen, but she had enough faith in order to give me what I ask her to give me.
A few weeks ago, as you know, I made a quick trip to Israel for some meetings, and you know, I went on that trip. The reason I got on the airplane was I believed it had been solidly built by the Boeing company, and some negligent worker didn't leave a couple of bolts off the engine, that would cause it to fall off in the middle of the ocean. I believed in the competency of the pilot, that he wouldn't try to fly the jet while he was drunk and that he had a basic level of skill necessary to fly. I believed that our counter-terrorism experts both here and in Israel had tried to do everything they could to screen away would-be terrorists. I believed all of those things, but I didn't have 100% faith.
Before we left on the trip, I redid my will, and Amy and I went to the lawyer, and we redid the will because I knew I'd be flying over the Golan Heights, and I just wanted to prepare for any contingency. I didn't have 100% faith, but I had just enough faith to get on board that airplane. You know, God says, "It's not the quantity of faith that makes a difference". Jesus said, "If you have the faith as that of a mustard seed". A mustard seed was the tiniest seed in the vegetable world in Jesus' day. The faith of a mustard seed is enough to move mountains. It's not the quantity of faith we have. It is the object of our faith. So what is faith? Faith, I've defined as believing that God will do what he has promised to do and acting accordingly, acting accordingly.
Sally had enough faith, not 100%, but enough to give me what I ask her to give me. You know, when our girls, Julia and Dorothy, were younger and were at home, I wanted them to have confidence in me so that they would follow my directions. I wanted them to have confidence in my love for them, that I really did want what was best for them. I wanted them to have confidence in my power, my ability to take care of them and watch over them so they'd be free from anxiety about their future. I wanted them to have confidence in my wisdom, that I might know just a little bit more than they do, and they would follow my direction. I wanted them to have confidence in my love, in my power to take care of them, and in my wisdom. Should we be surprised that God wants anything less than that from us?
If we're going to obey God. Now, listen to this: if we're going to obey God in everything he ask us to do, we have to have complete confidence in God's love for us, that he really wants what's best, and his power to take care of us no matter what happens, and in his wisdom to know what is truly best. That's what it means to trust God, and that leads to the definition of a trusting heart. When we talk about developing a trusting heart as a disciple, what does that mean? A trusting heart is one that has or allows our confidence in God's character to govern our inward emotions and our outward behavior. A trusting heart, again, is a heart that allows our confidence in God's character to govern our inward emotions and our outward behavior. That is, we are so convinced of God's love, power, and wisdom that it frees us from inner turmoil and frees us to outwardly obey God.
Now, I want you to look at Colossians three, verse 15. This is exactly the kind of heart that Jesus had. Jesus was completely confident in God's love, power, and wisdom, and that's why he obeyed him completely, and he wants that same peace and confidence to govern our lives as well. Look at Colossians 3:15. Paul says, "And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which you indeed were called in one body, and be thankful". Now, there're two key phrases here we've got to understand. First of all, the phrase, "The peace of Christ". What does he mean, "The peace of Christ"? Well, he's talking about the peace that comes from Christ, but he's also talking about the peace that characterized the life of Jesus. God wants us to be free from inner turmoil and outer hostility so we can be completely at peace with God and obey him freely.
That's what he's talking about, the peace that characterized the life of Jesus. Look at Colossians 3:5. You know, the reason people chase after immorality and greed is because they don't have that peace. Now, Paul says, "Therefore, consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry". People chase after these new sexual experiences or more money because they lack this inner peace. They're looking for something more, and likewise, look at verse eight, a second list of negative behaviors, "But now, you also put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth".
People lash out at other people. They try to get even with their enemies, all because of this lack of inner peace, a confidence that God is in control. Contrast that to the life of Jesus. He completely was at peace with obeying God because he felt confidence in God's love and wisdom. John 4:34, Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work". He said, "I live for one thing, and that is to obey God, to follow his will for my life", and the reason he does that is because he has confidence in God's love, his power, and his wisdom. In the same way, when Jesus was hanging on the cross, being tormented by those who wanted to take his life, he didn't lash out in anger. Instead, 1 Peter 2:23 says, "While being reviled, he did not revile in return. While suffering, he uttered no threats, but he kept entrusting himself to him who judges righteously".
Jesus was so convinced of God's justice that he knew he didn't have to get even with his enemies. He knew God would take care of it in his time. Do you see what I'm saying? Having a confidence in God's love, his power, his wisdom, his character, that frees us from inner turmoil inside. It allows us to experience the peace of Christ. A trusting heart is one that allows our confidence in God's character to control our inward emotions and our outward behavior. Now, the second key phrase in that verse, Colossians 3:15, is "Rule in your hearts. Let the peace of God rule in your heart". That word rule in Greek is the word we get umpire from. You know what an umpire does in an athletic contest. He makes certain calls.
I read the story about an umpire's convention that was taking place, and after one of the evening sessions, a group of umpires got together for one of those late-night bull sessions in one of the attendees' rooms, and they were talking about how they made difficult calls in a baseball game, and one umpire said, "Well, I call 'em the way I see 'em". Another umpire said, "No, that's not right. You don't call 'em the way you see them". He said, "I call them the way they are". Third umpire spoke up. He said, "They ain't nothing until I call them".
You know, that's the way life circumstances are. We have all of these adverse circumstances that get thrown at us every day. Are they good? Are they bad? Well, the fact is, life's circumstances, especially adversities, are nothing until we call them. We get to umpire. We get to determine whether we're going to allow that adversity to completely upend our life, or we're going to allow it to be used for good, and what Paul is saying here is when difficulties come into your life, let the peace that comes from Jesus Christ have the final say. Allow your confidence in God's love, wisdom, and power to free you from anxiety about the future. "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts". That's what it means to have a trusting heart, and what I want to show you in the few moments we have left here today is how having confidence in God's love, his power, and his wisdom affects your past, your present, and your future.
First of all, write this down. Trusting God's love provides freedom from guilt over past sins. When you trust in God's love for you, it gives you a freedom from guilt over your past sins. You know, I remember reading years ago a biography of Walt Disney, 500-page biography, and far from being the cuddly uncle Walt that everybody thought he was, nice guy, he was really a monster to work for, apparently. He had a habit of firing all of his employees about once a month, completely firing everybody, and then hiring them back a couple of weeks later, and the reason he did that, he said, was to keep his employees on their toes, that they would work harder if they had the fear that they were going to lose their job.
Well, that might motivate some workers for a short-term period of time, but that doesn't work in the long term. The fact is whenever we are motivated by fear, it never helps our relationship with our superior. It's the same thing in our relationship with God. If we're always wondering does God love us? Does he hate us? Are we in his family? Are we out of our family? That is no way to build intimacy with God. In John 15:9, Jesus said he wants us to be assured of God's love for us. "Just as the father has loved me, I have also loved you. Abide, rest in my love". How can we know for sure that God doesn't hate us? How can we know for sure that at the judgment one day, God is not going to dredge up our past sins and hold us accountable for them?
Romans 5:1 has the answer to that question. Paul says, "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ". If you saw leading up to Billy Graham's funeral, there were a number of clips of some of Billy's past messages, but one they played repeatedly was a clip of his message that he preached here at our church some years ago, and in that clip, Billy was saying, "The world has no peace. There is no peace in the world. We will never have peace in the world. We'll never have peace with other people. We'll never have peace in ourselves until we are at peace with God," and that became the title of perhaps his best-selling book, "Peace with God".
Until you know all is right between you and your Creator, you will never experience peace. How can you have that peace? Paul says we have that peace "By being justified by faith through our Lord Jesus Christ". Now, that word translated by in your English Bible, the preposition is better translated through. We have been justified through faith through our Lord Jesus Christ. It's the same thought that you find in Ephesians 2:8-10.
If you saw the funeral service Friday, you heard Franklin say that his father had one scripture verse that he wanted read at his funeral service, and it was the passage from Ephesians chapter two that climaxes in verses eight to 10, "For by grace, you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast". How are we saved? We're not saved by faith. There's no amount of faith we could conjure up that could ever wipe away our sins. People say, "I'm saved by faith". No, you're not. You don't have enough faith to save yourself. We are saved by God's grace that we receive through faith. It's God's grace that saves us. It was God sending his only son, Jesus, the perfect Son of God, to die on a cross, to take the penalty for sin that we deserve.