Leadership

Trust no man…

It is better to trust the Lord than to trust people.  ~ Psalm 118:8, NCV

Do not put your trust in princes or other people, who cannot save you.  ~ Psalm 146-3, NCV

In the Italian Job, Donald Sutherland’s character has a quote that repeats throughout the movie, “I trust everyone; I just don’t trust the devil inside them.”

This quote is intriguing because it recognizes that there’s something within everyone worthy of trust and something else that is unworthy of trust.

The devil, aka the antichrist, is a spirit of selfishness. Selfishness is a concentration on one person: self. By virtue of concentrating on oneself, all others are disregarded. No one and nothing else matters especially if what they need is not convenient to the selfish person. Therefore selfishness is a destructive force.

Anyone who operates according to the devil inside them is working destruction on the relationships in their lives.

Potentially, that would be all of us. Everyone born into this world has this nature, commonly known as the sin nature, embedded within us. It is our job throughout our lifetime to overcome our sin nature and swap it with the Spirit of God.

From this time on we do not think of anyone as the world does. In the past we thought of Christ as the world thinks, but we no longer think of Him in that way.If anyone belongs to Christ, there is a new creation. The old things have gone; everything is made new!All this is from God. Through Christ, God made peace between us and Himself, and God gave us the work of telling everyone about the peace we can have with Him. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:16-18, NCV

A couple of weeks ago I was sitting on a bench in Central Park in front of a rock formation when a young couple walked up to the rock with the intention of climbing it. First, they started up a steep incline to the left of the rock with the young man leading the way. Half way up, the young man turned back and told the young woman, “This way is too difficult for you. Go back down. The climb up on the other side will be better.” They scooted back down the steep incline and walked across to the other side of the rock. The first ledge they could grip was about neck high to both of them. The young man reached up to brace his hands on the ledge and was able to hoist himself up with no problem. He immediately turned back to reach down to his girlfriend. “Grab my hand,” he said.

“No,” she replied, “I want to do it myself.” She found a rock to step on and started trying to push herself up from the rock at her feet while also pulling herself up by the ledge her boyfriend was leaning down from.

The boyfriend kept saying, “Trust me; grab my hand. Trust me.”

She kept saying, “No.”

I sat there listening to them, intrigued by the back and forth. Mostly because they had been almost halfway up the rock when he turned back and told her it was too hard for her. Only to take her to a side that was truly a physical challenge for her to even begin the climb – all the while telling her to trust him and rely on him.

In agitation, he said, “Why won’t you grab my hand? Don’t you trust me?”

“No,” she said, “I don’t!” With that outburst, she was able to finally boost herself up on the ledge. As she wiggled up on her belly, he stepped back in bemusement.

“Wow. Really? Do you realize what you just said to me?”

“Yes.”

“You don’t trust me?”

“No.” They both turned and continued the climb up the rock.

Thinking about this exchange in the context of this post, I believe had his concern truly been for her, he would have completed the climb while she was doing well on the other side. She had faithfully followed him step for step on the steep incline. But she wasn’t holding on to him. She didn’t need him to pull her up. I think he thought that meant she didn’t need him. His ego demanded a demonstration of her need for him, so he told her she couldn’t do what she was actually doing and put her in a situation that was more likely to make her depend on his strength. He was taken aback that she didn’t trust him, even though he had made a choice unworthy of her trust. However, I don’t think he saw that she honored his leadership by chosing to still follow him.

Now this may seem like a jump, but this story is a wonderful illustration of the need to trust God and not men. People operate according to their own motives. What’s good for them could be disaster for you. However, if we trust God with our lives, our relationships, and our daily situations, then even those things that were concocted without consideration for us will come to a good result for us. Therefore, if we speak to and trust the Spirit of God operating in the people we interact with, we minimize opportunities for the devil to sabotage our relationships with his spirit of selfishness.

The best way to operate according to God’s will in our relationships is to pray for the people who are leading us and supporting us. Pray for the people we collaborate with and share with. Pray for those we work with and those we only see in passing. Pray for our family, friends and neighbors. We are all fighting some vice in our lives and it’s imperative that we allow the Spirit of God to replace the spirit of selfishness within us. It’s imperative that we address and respond to the Spirit of God in people because the Holy Spirit is a protective shield against the attacks of the selfish nature.

Do not be fooled: You cannot cheat God. People harvest only what they plant. If they plant to satisfy their sinful selves, their sinful selves will bring them ruin. But if they plant to please the Spirit, they will receive eternal life from the Spirit.  ~ Galatians 6:7-8, NCV

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