When I was growing up, I had a curfew. If I was going to be late, my father told me to call before I was late. He wanted to make sure that I was mindful of my responsibility, and the fact that I called before I was late did not necessarily mean that I was off the hook or that there would be no consequences. Dad was a fair man, but he also meant what he said and was not about to just let me walk all over his curfew. The rules and expectations were clear. What would happen if I did not meet them was not. My dad would impose whatever he thought necessary. If he chose, he could make my life much more difficult than whatever I gained by being irresponsible or disobedient or even the victim of circumstances beyond my control.
Through clearly stated rules and expectations along with consequences for disobedience, I learned valuable lessons that I still try to follow to this day. Rules mean something, and when expectations have been clearly stated, I need to be considerate of those who have the authority to impose them and follow them when possible, and if I cannot, I need to be mindful of the consequences for those impacted and for myself. When I kept those lessons in mind and made good choices, I got in less trouble and experienced a wonderful freedom rather than consequences.
Those who are under such rules often feel controlled or oppressed. Some who are younger, children or teenagers, might think, “I can’t wait to grow up, because then I can do what I want.” The problem is that such thinking is an illusion. Some higher authority other than self always exists – be it a college teacher, a boss, the government, or God Himself. For we who are Christians, we are never truly free to do what we want, even though we can make a choice to do what we want. Our lives were paid for with the very blood of Christ. We are under new ownership and therefore under new management. The Apostle Paul put it this way,
The moment we trusted Christ to save us from our sin, He placed His Spirit within us, and His spirit empowers us to live as God wants. However, like doing what we want and missing a curfew, our fleshly nature wants to do what it wants, yet the Spirit is always prodding us in a different direction – one of being like Christ. In fact, we cannot ever do what pleases our fleshly and rightly follow the Spirit’s leading (Gal. 5:17). We are to be holy as God is holy (1 Pet. 1:14-19), living lives set apart to His service, in humble and delighted submission and yieldedness to Him!
If our lives are not our own to live as we please, and if we are to live with God as our owner, then the question we each have to ask ourselves is, “Am I being trustworthy . . . to God?” Trust is earned when a responsibility is entrusted to another and that person fulfills that responsibility. Trust is what is earned when someone says they will do something and then does it. Noah Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary of 1881 says that trust is the “assured resting of the mind on the integrity, veracity, justice, friendship, or other sound principle of another person.” In other words, we are who we say we are, we do what we say we’ll do, and as believers, we reflect the nature of God and His work in all of that. Such is the nature of a godly life who recognizes that ultimately it is not what others think of us or even what we think of ourselves, but it is God’s assessment that most matters and therefore why we must be trustworthy (1 Cor. 4:1-5).
Trustworthy, or not? May we all ever strive to walk with a holy God and to obey Him in such a way that one day He will say to us, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant,” (Matt. 25:21).