What is the Connection Between Humility and Trust?
Chapter Six: Two Friends
1. 1 John 1:5-7: “This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” (NASB). There are several remarkable observations one can make about this passage, but let’s just concentrate on a few. First, John does not say that if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with him. But isn’t that what we would have expected? Of course, we have fellowship with him if we’re walking in the light. The unexpected thing—the really astonishing thing—is that we can now have fellowship with one another! Furthermore, that is the natural result of walking with him in the light. As if that were not enough of a surprise, John goes on to say that this walking-in-the-light-fellowshipping process also results in the blood of Jesus continuing to cleanse us from all sin (the present tense of the verb indicates a durative—an ongoing—aspect to it). In other words, walking in the light—with nothing hidden—results in genuine fellowship and in a continuous cleansing that is based upon Christ’s finished work on Calvary.
2. See, for example, Colossians 1:9-13. This extended passage, apart from being one often cited by those who advocate pleasing God over trusting God, clearly indicates that God has “qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light” (NASB). Paul goes on to say that God “rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (NASB). Somehow God has changed us so profoundly that we have actually changed realms! The one to whom we owe fealty has changed. We used to be a part of Satan’s kingdom; now we are a part of Christ’s. That sounds like a good deal more than something that is “merely forensic.” It sounds like an actual change of nature.
3. Romans 7:14, 18, 21.
4. 1 Peter 5:5 talks about clothing ourselves with humility toward one another. Few things are as indicative of true humility as allowing ourselves to be seen—really seen—by our brothers and sisters in Christ. Allowing oneself to be seen “warts and all” indicates one’s willingness to trust others to protect one’s weaknesses. Anything else, it can be argued, is pretense—or lack of humility. And, as Peter reminds us, that is called “pride.” “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
5. Once again, see Galatians 3:1-3.
6. John 13:34-35.
7. 1 John 4.19.
8. John 3:16, probably the best-known verse in the New Testament, illustrates the truth of this. It says, “God so loved the world that he gave …” The little word translated “so” here does not mean “so much,” although that is how most read and understand it. It actually means, “in this manner; in this way.” In other words, John says that God loved the world in this way, that He gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in him will not perish, but have eternal life. God saw our crying need—that we stood already condemned (see verse 18) before the Holy God. He loved us in that he gave his only Son to meet that need.
9. Joseph R. Cooke, Free For The Taking: The Life-changing Power of Grace (Old Tappan, NJ: Revell, 1975), p. 7.
The Great Wall
As an adult, Louise invested years designing and building one of the more exquisite self-protection structures around. She says, “I built the Great Wall of China.” But, behind this formidable wall, those relentless Inevitable Effects ultimately wore her out. When she could take no more, Louise started asking questions, and a friend began walking with her down the trail of Trusting God. Louise admitted her needs and that they would never be met unless she learned to receive love. In time, she began trusting who God says she is, and that ushered her right into The Room of Grace.
Not long after that, Louise began realizing the central role trust would continue to play in her healing and maturity. She learned the fundamental truth behind step four: The degree to which I let you love me is the degree to which you can love me, no matter how much love you have for me. That wouldn’t have been a problem for Louise, except the “let” requires trust! We cannot let another person love us unless we trust the person.
People who are unable to trust will never experience love. Ever. One can’t find a way through that particular cul-de-sac. Despite the years of abuse, Louise avoided that lonely life, because she learned to entrust herself to God and others. If anyone had reason never to trust again, it was Louise. But, she let people love her and her needs began to be met in a profound way. Grace, when it is conceived in trust, begets astonishing resolution, healing, maturity, and powerful influence.
Many people who deeply want to be loved are not loved, because they won’t turn that doorknob of Humility—“trusting God and others with me.” They stand out in the cold, outside The Room of Grace, in pain (and blame) because people don’t love them. But, Louise’s life demonstrates this truth: The people God wants to use to love you deeply and to meet your needs stand right on the other side of that door. Turn the knob.
There’s another dimension of receiving love that Louise’s story illustrates. Step five says, “I let you love me on your terms, not mine.” When Louise was first learning to receive love, she demanded that people do this or buy that or serve her in the way she deemed best. But, as she matured in receiving love, she realized that submitting to others to meet her needs required that she let them discern how to address her needs. In learning to receive love, we cannot forget that others are the ones with the strengths that can meet our needs. We are the ones with both the needs and the inability to meet them. Learning to let others love us on their terms is part of what it means to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
If, despite our need for acceptance and people’s moves to include us, we continually reject them because we want them to meet our needs on our terms, we will remain unloved and in the darkness of our unresolved sin. We cannot experience another’s acceptance, love, or guidance unless we let that person give us these things.
Will others meet our needs perfectly and will we trust perfectly? No. This is The Room of Grace, remember? “Grace is the face love wears, when it meets imperfection.” Learning to love perfectly or trust perfectly is not the point; rather, it’s learning to receive love. We can’t wait for perfect people before we trust people. That’s like standing in line at the DMV without a number and expecting prompt service. It ain’t gonna happen!
Further, when we on the basis of trust receive God’s perfect love for us, it pushes away our fear and teaches us to embrace the love that heals our wounds. In The Room of Good Intentions, where self-protection rules, we put everything in jeopardy—our healing, our maturing, and our reason for being on this earth. But in The Room of Grace we have learned that God won’t let us down, even when others do. When they turn away, we remember he won’t. He’s our safety net. He’s got our back. Trusting God frees us to move into these relationships. Trusting God frees our hearts to experience his safe, constant, intimate sufficiency. Louise would tell you that this solid strength of trusting God—who can’t let us down—allows us to move toward others in love despite the risk. And that propels us into a different dimension of living.