Wk 1 | Trust God
Will we choose a pleasure-centered life focused on self-fulfillment, or will we give our lives away for a greater cause?
God invites us to ask what we are really chasing in life.
Jesus tells us we are to seek first the kingdom of God. (Matt. 6:33) How is this done? By loving God and loving our neighbor. (Mark 12:28-31)
How is this done? Jesus modeled it. Through sacrifice. (1 John 3:16)
*Story of a little boy who made a boat, lost it, and bought it back.
We know God’s love not just because He made us, but because He sacrificed for us.
The contrast between what Jesus has done and what the world offers couldn’t be more different. The world tells you to live for yourself; Jesus says to die to yourself. The world says to do whatever you want; Jesus says to cultivate the right wants. The world says to love yourself; Jesus says to love others as you love yourself. The world disregards truth; Jesus claims that truth is found only through knowing and following Him.
Who will you listen to? Who will you trust?
You have far more people speaking into your life than your parents or grandparents ever had at your age. Who will you trust?
How you answer this question influences every decision you make.
You may not understand why there are certain rules or why certain things happen, but you don’t have to. It starts with trust.
*GriefShare…talking about not having answers to our questions…We ask “Why? Why? Why?” Think about little kids and how they talk to their parents. What is the response when they ask “Why?” “Because I say so. Because I am the parent.” And that’s enough of an answer. We may fuss and throw a fit, but you know what? Our parents have a reason. And it’s rooted in their love for us.
We should trust our parents because they are older and wiser. They have been there and done that. You can learn from their mistakes instead of learning from your own. But there’s an even far greater reason you can trust them. Because they love you.
I want you to think about our heavenly Father for a second. Why should we trust God rather than what the culture around us is saying? Well, He is all-knowing, and all-good. But more importantly, He loves us.
1) He is all-knowing.
1 John 3:20 – For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.
Psalm 139:4 – Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
Psalm 147:5 – Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.
2) He is all-good.
How do we know He is good? Well, first, the Bible tells us so.
Psalm 145:9 – The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.
Psalm 34:8 – Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Psalm 107:1 – Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
Romans 12:2 – Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Secondly, we can tell He is good by how He loves us.
3) He loves us.
How do we know God loves us? Through His sacrifice.
John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
1 John 3:16 – By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
Will you trust this God?
How you understand the character of God shapes how you evaluate His commands.
In the garden of Eden, Satan tempted Adam and Eve, the first humans, by trying to undermine their confidence in the character of God. He wanted to sow seeds of doubt in their minds and hearts about God. Did God really have their best interests in mind, or was He keeping them from something better? After all, the fruit they weren’t supposed to eat looked tasty to the senses, striking to the eyes, and appealing to the mind (Gen. 3:6). If God were good, would He really keep something so attractive from them? Something they desired so strongly?
Adam and Eve listened to the crafty prompting of Satan. They ultimately lost confidence in the goodness of God, and ate the fruit. Sadly, they came to doubt the character of God, and while they may have believed their choice was good, their disobedience brought incredible suffering onto themselves and into the world.
We are faced with the same kind of choice today. The world offers “fruit” that looks pleasurable, fun, and satisfying. It is as if Satan were saying, “Did God really say sexual activity was only for marriage? Is sexual activity really that big of a deal? Does porn really hurt anyone? As long as sex is consensual, there’s nothing wrong with it, right? Are you really going to judge someone else for how they love? Why embrace a view of sex, love, and gender that seems so closed-minded? Isn’t the Christian sexual ethic unrealistic today anyway? Isn’t God holding out on you?”
Who will you trust? The way of the world or the way of God? This is foundational for us to consider at the beginning of this study and as we try to make our way through this culture.
The world will sacrifice you in a second. It tells you that your desires are most important, and then will sacrifice you the second you don’t believe exactly the same as them. You don’t matter to the world. You are a tool to be used, to be sacrificed to their ever-changing god. On the other hand, God sacrificed himself for you. Because of love He came and died by the hand of the worldly powers to offer you life. The world says, “Live for yourself.” God says, “Live for me. I died for you.” And the crazy thing is, one promises life and leads to death. The other calls you to die and leads to life.
I know who I will trust. The One who is trustworthy. The One who is all-good, and all-knowing, and who actually loves me.
The journey isn’t easy. It’s actually often harder than following the ways of the world…at least in the short run. After all, isn’t it easier to give in to sin than to resist it? Wouldn’t it be easier to adopt the cultural understanding of sex and gender than to stand in patient and loving opposition? Yes, of course it would.
But, I want to encourage you to consider the value of doing things that are difficult. I tell my son all the time, “You can do hard things.”
Difficult things are meaningful. Nothing worth having comes easy.
So, together, let’s begin the meaningful, hard, life-giving journey of truly loving God and loving people, and by committing to Him and following His plan for our sexuality, rather than embracing everything our culture tells us.