I recently heard a preacher pose the question “can God trust you?”. It’s not a question I’d ever contemplated but I’ve been wrestling with it since I heard it. When I scrutinize some of my prayer requests, it’s a question that requires significant introspection. God is good, able and willing to bless us because of His love for us. He has already given us the best possible gift, and we didn’t deserve it [Ephesians 2:1-6]. So, the issue is never God’s benevolence or ability to grant our requests. However, I think it’s prudent to ask ourselves if we can handle the responsibility that comes with the blessings we desire [Mark 10-35-38]. Lest we forget, God expects us to be responsible stewards [Matthew 25:14-30].
A secondary question worth asking is: “why should God grant my request?” I wonder, do we examine if our prayer requests advance God’s name, kingdom and will? Is there a possibility our requests are self-centred? James teaches that our motives hinder our prayers from being answered [James 4:1-3]. If so, how often do you examine your motives when you pray? Could you honestly say that if God were to grant your request for say wealth, influence, power or stature, you would use it exclusively for His glory? Do we like Paul see our lives’ purpose as fruitful labourers for the Lord [Philippians 1:22]? These are tough questions we must confront if we’re to take our walk with God seriously. As we’re reminded several times, Jesus saved us so that we may zealously do the good works His Father has prepared for us [Ephesians 2:10, Titus 2:14]. But, can the Father trust us to do the work?
Many of us are familiar with kids making preposterous requests. For instance, my 7-year old once asked me if he could drive my car. This isn’t a bad request in itself because it would be okay if he was 17 and could drive. However, he’s not capable of such responsibility. He would wreck the car, probably hurting himself and others in the process. I think a similar thing happens with us and God. He knows what we’re capable of handling and maybe He can’t trust us yet with the responsibilities that come with our requests. Therefore, I can understand why God withholds certain things from us. It’s actually a sign of God’s love and mercy to withhold something from us which could potentially lead to our downfall, irrespective of how passionately we ask for it.
The author of the letter to the Hebrews reminds us that God disciplines His children, and we would be illegitimate children if He didn’t discipline us [Hebrews 12:6-11]. This echoes the words of Jesus that the Father prunes the branches connected to Him so that they may bear even more fruit [John 15:2]. Discipline is never pleasant, something in us usually recoils at the thought of it. Nevertheless, discipline shapes character [Hebrews 12:11] and character is very important to God. For instance, we see the importance of character in the life of Daniel who served under three pagan kings in the Babylonian and Persian empires. He was above reproach [Daniel 6:4] and God trusted Him with influence and revelation. Could God trust us with the influence of Daniel or someone like Joseph – who became Egypt’s second in command?
Having seen the importance of character in the lives of those who have gone before us on the journey of faith, how much time do you spend on developing your character? Do you know what character traits a godly person ought to have? I have noticed in my walk with God that He reveals more to me about my character than any other aspect of my life. The truth is I could fight Him, and I sometimes do when I refuse to admit my character flaws and seek His help. However, it’s much easier to yield to God’s pruning because you don’t fight God and win.
Moreover, our destiny is to reign with Jesus Christ [Revelation 20:4]. For such responsibility, God, through sanctification, must make us like Jesus in all things, including our character [Romans 8:29]. Furthermore, God the Father exalted Jesus and placed Him far above all rule and authority, power and dominion…and placed all things under His feet [Ephesians 1:20-22]. He has also made Him mankind’s Judge [Acts 17:31]. This is how much God the Father trusts His Son, who is also our example.
One final thought on our trustworthiness. In every situation we find ourselves, God has entrusted us with something. The question is: “Are we responsible stewards of what has been entrusted to us?” For instance, if you’re a parent, God has entrusted you with your children. Are you the best possible parent you can be? In your place of employment, are you the best possible employee you can be? In your various relationships, are you the best possible person you could be? Am I? How much do I desire to glorify God in the situations He has placed me? Can we expect God to trust us with more if we aren’t diligent with what He has already given us?
As children of God, He has already entrusted us with His name which He highly esteems [Psalm 138:2]. Furthermore, God leads us in the path of righteousness for the sake of His name [Psalm 23:3]. It’s often said that our lives are the only gospels some will ever read. Therefore, how we conduct ourselves reflects on God, our Father. As such, God’s hand in shaping our character so that we represent Him well in the various situations of life is for His glory. Ultimately, everything we receive from God is also for His glory. I think God trusts us more when we understand and live out this truth. Are you living for His glory?