What do you put your trust in? If you completely trust God, and suddenly find yourself needing to turn completely away from God just to survive, or you suddenly find yourself turning completely away from God when the urge to sin overwhelms you, do you have to start completely over again rebuilding the trust relationship with God?
Is it possible to be a perfect man in this world? A man who never permits a single lustful thought to enter his head. A man who never lets his anger get the better of him. A man who never curses or takes the Lord’s name in vain. A man who never tells a lie, even a little white lie. A man who never allows a worldly interest or attention-getting thing take his eyes off of God. A man who might occasionally feel tired, grumpy, anti-social and too self-absorbed to make the effort to fully care about others, but nonetheless a man who remains focused on God and never commits any of the big sins.
I think that it is possible, but it may take a lifetime to get there. I don’t think that I am nearly as bad as I used to be, but I’m still not what God or Jesus would refer to as being truly good, either. I do think that I can’t begin to effectively help other people until I am almost completely free of wanting to indulge in personal fantasies and sins that see me willfully and knowingly taking my eyes off of God. The will to escape from the Lord’s will is almost utterly overwhelming. Of course, I can’t stay focused on God by operating solely on my own power. My own power is puny and weak. The things that I have accomplished of my own accord are negligible and hardly better than a baby’s scribbles.
When I say, “it is utterly impossible for me to ever be righteous,” I am speaking the truth because I am almost always thinking in terms of being righteous of my own accord. I still carry about with me these little sparks of ego that want so badly to accomplish a thing completely by myself without the help of God or anyone else, so that I can receive some kind of imagined future recognition by many people. Even the most lauded individuals, the ones who are pretty much historical sacred cows above the criticism of almost anyone, are still individuals being praised by other human beings, and may in fact seem utterly insignificant in God’s eyes compared to unknown heroes who did much great work with little or no fanfare.
The desire to find favor in the eyes of God is all-too-often conflated with the will to find favor in the eyes of other humans. God, however, has a completely different idea of how he might or might not decide to find favor with me. For starters, if I am able to accomplish many things that God wants me to do, I should be very clear that I never could have accomplished any of them without His help. I have to trust in God no matter what happens. Otherwise, I am simply trusting in God on a quid pro quo level, which is always a human level, and not a divine one. If God blesses me or God doesn’t bless me as much as I would have expected–either way, the blessing comes not as a result of how righteous I was or was not, but comes as a result of God’s abundance and will to give me many good things. God gives me what good things he sees fit to give me because he simply does. My lack of abundance may likely have been foremost due to my lack of a desire to fully accept all of God’s blessings. However, if I do reach a stage where I completely accept and welcome all of God’s good things for me, and God yet doesn’t bless me as much as others, then it should be of no concern to me, since my trust in God is not based on a quid pro quo kind of agreement.
I trust in God because any other way of being is unacceptable. I trust in God because that is ultimately what I was made for, made to do. If my trusting in God sees me doing things I hadn’t planned to do, I shouldn’t be alarmed, as long as I am completely certain that I am doing them because I was compelled to do them as a result of this trust relationship.