When I stop being confident that God is actively seeking my good because of Jesus I am putting myself in a place where it is very easy to fall to temptation.
I think this is actually the point James is making in James 1:16 and 17. He has been talking about trials and temptations and he wraps it up by saying, “Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good thing bestowed is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” In the middle of difficult circumstances it is very easy to begin thinking that maybe God’s attitude towards you isn’t as merciful as it used to be and then, once you start thinking that, you are very susceptible to temptation. You can not let yourself start questioning God’s goodness to you because once you do that, you are pretty much finished.
Think about the difference trust or lack of trust can make in any particular situation.
I’ll give you o ne.
You are really confident about God’s attitude towards you, that He is seeking your good and you are in a difficult marriage, your husband or wife is just complaining all the time or whatever, you look at your spouse and you have difficulties, but at the same time you are realizing that this person is part of God’s gracious plan in your life and that He isn’t messing with you but instead has allowed you to be put in this situation because He loves you and that He can and is actually taking all the difficult stuff you are going through and using it to push forward His good agenda for you.
You think like that, you are going to be pretty strong when temptation rolls around.
On the other hand, you stop trusting that God is in control or that He is working out good in that situation and you are going to start looking at your spouse as this major trial and that you deserve better and that this situation isn’t any good and poor old you and all that, and when temptation comes into your life and tells you all its lies, you are going to be so desperate that you are going to be pretty quick to believe it.
The funny thing with a lack of trust, it not only causes us to do things we wouldn’t do otherwise – it actually messes up our obedience as well. If we stop being confident that God is for us because of what Jesus has done and we start thinking that we have got to somehow get Him to like us thorugh what we do, our obedience becomes this big old sham where we pretend like Jesus is our Savior when we are really looking to ourselves and what we do for salvation instead of Him.
If we do church or really anything else without a belief that we are already accepted and loved in Christ, then and I am quoting here, “in all our doing good, we are really looking to something more than Jesus as the real source of our meaning and happiness. We are trusting in our being a good parent, or being a good spouse, or our moral uprightness or our spiritual performance, or our service to other people as being our real Saviors. If we aren’t sure God already loves us in Christ, we will be looking to something else as our foundational significance and worth.”
Which is why I am saying that one of the wisest things you can do every day, every moment, is go to God’s Word, read what it says, especially the promises of the gospel, and make it your top priority to believe it.
To rest in it.