The Lord loves us but he does not entrust himself to us.
But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. John 2:24 (NIV)
We see this in Jesus’ relationship with his disciples. They were with him wherever they went, yet he did not entrust himself even to his closest disciples. Consider James and John, two of the closest. There is the time they want to call down fire on a village for not having received Jesus or the time they ask for a place on His left and right in heaven. Though they had asked,
We want you to do for us whatever we ask, Mark 10:35
Jesus had not entrusted himself to them. He was free to do what was right.
When people are being emotionally abusive we need to keep our emotional distance. This is hard when they are friends or family. When Jesus would not entrust himself he was protecting himself from those he was closest to, and yet could not trust to act honourably.
This principle extends to the Lord’s relationship with us. I too can be abusive in the way I relate to Him. I call myself His friend but then presume on him with demands that do not reflect His love. The Lord will of course be gracious to me, but will not entrust himself to me while he knows this is in me. I am challenged to relate to my Father in love, respecting and trusting Him, so that He can extend deeper friendship to me.
One thought on “Trustworthy to Jesus?”
I just received this comment on my e-mail, and thought if one is confused then others will be as well, so I will post comment and answer –
Thanks for your latest blog post, there’s one part that is definitely a timely word for me at the moment. However there’s another bit I don’t quite understand and was hoping you could elaborate on it for me please.
“This principle extends to the Lord’s relationship with us. I too can be abusive in the way I relate to Him. I call myself His friend but then presume on him with demands that do not reflect His love.”
Can you give examples of this please? I don’t disagree, I’m just struggling to understand practically what would, and wouldn’t, reflect this in my life and walk with God.
I hope this makes sense. Thanks for your blog that is so often very thought-provoking.
Now it is back to me with an answer –
The Biblical answer that most clearly summons up this form of abusive request is the one of James and John that they sit at Jesus’ left and right side in heaven.
The request itself is presumptuous and aimed at self. I am sure there was some clever justification to explain how it would further the kingdom, but when one stands back from it, it has greed written all over it. This is often the case of requests set before God in our day by those in ministry. On the surface they look as if they are furthering the Kingdom of God, but all too often one cannot miss the fact that the person making the request is going to look awfully good at the end of it, and that there is no hint of any associated cross.
The way the request is made is heavy with manipulation. In Mark they begin with, “Please do whatever we ask.” In Matthew, it is their mother who introduces the request, which in the culture of the day made it a request that was difficult to refuse. This too can be seen in some theologies of our day. There are people who seek for the means to pray in a way that almost guarantees Jesus will answer in the affirmative. There is a pursuit of the power of prayer without any consideration for the one to whom we pray.
It is difficult to give examples because by its very nature this is an issue of the heart, however here is a small example: I have been praying daily for a publication to be produced. It has been stuck for months in the doldrums. Eventually, I begin to sense that my heart is too connected to the publication and I quietly let it slip, and took it off my prayer list. Four or five days later I received an e-mail from the designer re-initiating the whole thing. When I let go of my demand for my will to be done, the Lord was happy to step in and breath life back into the project. He was the one who began the project, but while I had a grasp on it, he was not free to take it down the paths he thought appropriate. My demanding attitude was driving a wedge between Jesus and myself, a wedge of distrust.