SCRIPTURE: Psalm 1
All of us struggle with putting our trust in ourselves rather than in God. It’s hard not to put our trust in our own control, in our own feelings, or our own strength. However, Psalm 1 tells us that those who trust in God are blessed. To be blessed, defined biblically, is to be fully satisfied because of God and his favor, no matter the circumstances.
In this Psalm, those who do not trust in God are described as those who “walk in the counsel of the wicked, stand in the path of sinners, and sit in the seat of scoffers.” The verbs here show a progression from walking to standing to sitting. We can interpret this list as a progression towards prideful trust in oneself over God.
The path towards pride begins with walking. Walking towards pride is to think prideful thoughts, such as, “God’s way doesn’t really matter” or “God’s not really in control here.” Walking progresses to standing. Standing in pride is to act in such a way that disregards what God has to say about himself, salvation, and life. It’s to choose to give in to the temptation. It’s to assert my control over a situation that I shouldn’t. Lastly, standing leads to sitting. Sitting in pride is to exist in a state of pride and self-reliance.
To pridefully trust in ourselves is to believe only what we can see, to follow only what we decide is true and right, and to rely on our strength, our intellect, and our emotions. Those who trust in themselves rather than God are described to be like “chaff which blows away”. They have no stability, no roots, no hope. On the other hand, when we ground ourselves in God’s Word and God’s way, this Psalm says we become like a tree firmly planted, producing fruit and prospering. We are stable and secure. We yield the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, and peace to name a few.
Finding stability and blessing amidst hard emotions or circumstances starts with our thoughts: choosing to trust in Christ and His Word rather than in ourselves. Then it progresses to our actions: obeying Christ and His Word because we trust in him. It culminates in a state of being: humble reliance on God and his wisdom.
PRAY: God, when facing hard emotions or situations, I often trust in myself rather than trusting in you. I know this runs contrary to true blessing and contentment. Help me to trust in You, not myself. Thank you that I can root my life in Your Word and in the Gospel. Thank you that I can find satisfaction, no matter the circumstances because I am completely known and completely loved by You. Amen.
REFLECT: Choose from one of the three situations and reflect on where you’ve been trusting in yourself rather than God. Ask God to help you trust Him in this area.
- Something unknown in the future you’re anxious about
- A decision you’re having to make
- Something that’s causing pain or suffering in your life