My new ministry was at a large, sophisticated church just outside of Detroit. I confess—at only 36 years old, I felt more than a little intimidated in this congregation populated with high-powered automobile industry executives. With my securities running full bore, like a fool rushing in where angels fear to tread, I dove in. And of course, everyone was outwardly very kind: “Oh, we are so glad you’re here. Let’s go forward for the Lord!” But inwardly, I’m sure their thoughts were more like: “Who are you? What will you do to us? Can we really trust you?”
The tipping point for me came about two years into the ministry as I was driving home from a board meeting. I sensed that something had been different in that meeting. The elders were listening to me. What I was saying seemed to be carrying some weight, and we were interacting on a deeper level. I had crossed the bridge of their initial uncertainties and had gained their trust. I was no longer a question mark in their hearts but a known commodity.
Paul talks about the importance of relationships being built on trust in his second letter to Timothy. His circumstances were anything but great. He was imprisoned for his proclamation of Jesus and was concerned that Timothy be able to effectively and accurately guard the precious message of the gospel. And yet in the storm of his circumstances, he found an anchor—his unwavering trust in Jesus; a trust that Paul had experienced personally in His walk with the Lord.
I love the fact that Paul expresses his confidence in Jesus in relational terms: “I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard that which I have entrusted to him for that day.” Paul is all about doctrine, but at the very core of his belief structure is his unshakable trust in the person of Jesus. He tells the Philippians that everything else is “a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord (Philippians 3:8).” There is nothing dry or dusty about Paul’s theology. It’s all about what he knows and has experienced of Christ! And, in all that he has experienced—shipwreck, torture, imprisonment, ridicule—he is able to trust because he knows Jesus is true.
Having a proven sense of confidence in Jesus will change the way that you and I view life. The more you get to know Him, the more your trust will increase. The more you consider His character and the more you trace the pattern of His work across the pages of your life, the more you’ll know and be convinced that He is worthy of your trust. We may not know where our circumstances are going to take us, and we may not know what the future holds, but if we know Him, that’s enough.
Because He is, in the strongest, most wonderful terms possible, a known commodity!
- How is Paul’s passion for knowing Jesus expressed in Philippians 3:7-11?
- How does that passion fuel his confidence when he writes to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:8-14?
- What tangible steps can you take to get to know Jesus better today?