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Author: Ron Graham


Don't Trust These
—Trust Jesus

There are several things that people put their trust in, but those things are not worthy of trust. Instead trust Jesus. He won't let you down.

1 Don't Trust Yourself

Proverbs 28:26

"One who trusts in himself is a fool, but one who walks in wisdom will be safe" (Proverbs 28:26).

Jesus told the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collecter "to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt (Luke 18:9-14).

The Pharisee did not really pray to God. Rather, (translated literally) he "toward himself was praying" (Verse 11). His prayer never got out of his pride bubble.

We often hear it said, "Believe in Yourself". No, rather, believe in God and what you can make of yourself if you obey his word, trusting him completely and giving him the glory.

2 Don't Trust Virtue

Philippians 3:9

Paul wanted to "be found in him [Jesus], not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith" (Philippians 3:9 ESV)

The parable we mentioned above was for those "who trusted in themselves that they were righteous" The Pharisee extolled his own superficial virtues rather than God's absolute righteousness (Luke 18:9-14). Such 'virtue signalling' is a form of hypocrisy that has been around since Cain offered vegetables to God.

There are, of course, true virtues, those which Jesus showed to perfection. We should aspire to those virtues because they are genuine and therefore trustworthy. Jesus called us to do good even if we suffer for it. He left us an example that we should follow in his steps, trusting in him and his righteousness (1Peter 2:21).

3 Don't Trust Money

Psalm 52:6-7

"The righteous will see and fear. They will mock the evildoer, saying, 7 Look at the man who did not make God his refuge, but trusted in the abundance of his wealth and strengthened himself by destruction" (Psalm 52:6-7).

Jesus told a very rich man to give all his wealth to the needy. Seeing that the man became sorrowful, Jesus said, "How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!" (Luke 18:24).

The following passage from the Psalms shows why trusting in wealth has no good outcome.

"5 Why should I fear in times of trouble, when wicked usurpers surround me? 6 They trust in their wealth and boast in their great riches. 7 No man can possibly redeem his brother or pay his ransom to God. 8 For the redemption of his soul is costly, and never can payment suffice, 9 that he should live on forever and not see decay" (Psalm 49:5-9 BSB)

4 Don't Trust Lies

Ephesians 4:25

Paul says, "Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and tell the truth to his neighbor, for we are all members of one another" (Ephesians 4:25)

Every community depends on each of its members being honest. Whether the community is a church, a family, a town, a school, a political party, or some other community, there is no place in it for liars.

The community of the saved in heaven will have no liars or deceivers of any kind (Revelation 21:3,26-27).

Some people admire, and associate with, those "whose paths are crooked, and who are devious in their ways." (Proverbs 2:15). But there is no good to come of that. Don't associate with such people or trust what they say.

5 Don't Trust Idols

1Thessalonians 1:9-10

"...You turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come" (1Thessalonians 1:9-10 NKJV).

An idol is dead. It's only claim to life is that demons (evil spirits) might be attached to it (1Corinthians 10:20) That is all the more reason to turn away from idols and turn to Jesus and worship him. He is righteous and powerful to save us.

There is a poem in Isaiah, that is partly about a man who cuts down a tree. Half of it he uses for firewood to warm himself and bake bread. The other half of the tree he fashions into an idol to worship. He does not question whether it is a lie in his right hand, or whether he should fall down before a block of wood to worship it. (Isaiah 44:13-20)

NOTE: Things that accompany idolatry also are condemned in the Bible. For instance: "Your astrologers who observe the stars, who monthly predict your fate. 14 Surely they are like stubble. The fire will burn them up" (Isaiah 47:13-14).

6 Don't Trust Governments

Ephesians 6:12

Paul warns of evil at work among the rulers of this world, associated with evil spirits in high places. "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world’s darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" Ephesians 6:12 BSB

Many governments are anti-Christian. They ban and punish prayer, Bible reading, worship of Jesus, and preaching the gospel. Even the relatively minor government of the Sanhedrin opposed the apostles, commanding them not to speak in the name of Jesus. But the apostles said, "We must obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29,17-42).

Of course most governments are not entirely evil and also do good. Insofar as their law is good, Christians are commanded to obey and honour the law makers, police, judges, and military. As Paul wrote to Titus, "Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work" (Titus 3:1 NKJV).

Jesus encourages us to be cooperative with those in power. For example, "Whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two" (Matthew 5:41). "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s" (Mark 12:17).

We also need to pray, for governments. All of us can do this to make the evil fail and the good increase.

As Paul says, "I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1Timothy 2:1-4).

We can trust what is good in a government, but remember that many governments also have an evil agenda, and this we must not trust at any price.

7 Instead Trust Jesus

Proverbs 3:5

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5).

Long ago, Israel trusted in people who were really their enemies, and they even trusted those people’s idols. Prophecy looked forward to a better time. "In that day the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the house of Jacob will no more lean on him who struck them, but will lean on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth" (Isaiah 10:20).

Peter, the apostle of Jesus, preached in Jerusalem, "Let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ". Many responded by putting their trust (their faith) in Jesus, repenting of their sins, and being baptized for the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 2:36-39).

Jesus invites us to trust him and we cannot do better. "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls" (Matthew 11:29).


Webservant Ron Graham

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