Scripture: Romans 9:24-34
Observation: Paul shares that God has the ability to select those who would have a true relationship with him, both from the Jews and from the Gentiles. He talks about the “remnant” while quoting a scripture from Isaiah, which refers to a group of Israelites who would receive salvation. He ties everything together by focusing on the importance of faith and trusting in God, rather than simply keeping the law. He compares Christ to the rock in our path – we either build our faith by trusting fully in Jesus or we stumble over the message that faith (not what we do) is the key to a right relationship with God.
Application: I’m a big fan of icebreaker questions. By “big fan,” I mean I’m pretty much obsessed with them. Life is just better when you know the answers to life’s big questions, such as, “If you were an animal, what animal would you be and why?” and most importantly, “If you were an ice cream, what ice cream would you be and why?” (My answers: a bird because they’re light, full of energy, and can cover a lot of ground in a very short amount of time; chocolate covered pretzel because it’s sweet and a little bit salty but sometimes it’s a bit much for people.) Don’t you feel like you know me so much better now?! Introverts, beware….if I’m in charge of a group, we’re gonna do icebreakers and I’m gonna force you to give me an answer because I JUST NEED TO KNOW WHAT TYPE OF ICE CREAM YOU ARE AND WHY.
You’ve been warned.
While I love icebreaker questions, you know what I hate? Group games. Ugh. The human knot? Blanket name game? Scavenger hunts? No, thank you. And what I hate most of all: trust falls. Gahhhhhh.
Here’s the thing with trust falls: they take a lot of, well, trust. (I’m brilliant, I know.) You’re inevitably paired up with someone you don’t really know and therefore definitely don’t trust. If I’m not feeling lucky that day, I’m not falling into the arms of someone I don’t know. And even if I do trust them, how do I know they’re going to pay attention and catch me? What if they’re bored and need a good laugh and decide to just let me fall for the fun of it? There are too many factors I can’t control. Somebody give me a pint of chocolate covered pretzel ice cream and some stretchy pants and I’ll sit this one out, thank you very much.
Trust falls are risky. Trusting someone or something normally is.
It’s what the Romans were struggling with when Paul talked with them. Many of them had grown up obeying Jewish laws and traditions and were convinced that they were going to “get right” with God by doing what the law says. But it turns out there was a flaw in that plan. Here’s how Paul says it in verse 31 & 32:
“But the people of Israel, who tried so hard to get right with God by keeping the law, never succeeded. Why not? Because they were trying to get right with God by keeping the law instead of by trusting in him. They stumbled over the great rock in their path.”
The flaw? They were trying to get right with God…but they weren’t willing to do the trust fall.
How many of us want to “get right” with God, but aren’t willing to do the trust fall? How many of us want to hang on to control, hold on to what we know, cling on to what we can do, rather than step out in faith, trusting fully in God? I do. It’s my natural tendency. Because trusting someone – even God – can be risky. It can be scary, leaving us feeling paralyzed at the unknown. At times, it’s downright terrifying.
But you know what’s even riskier, scarier, more terrifying? Trying to do life on my own. Thinking I can control things. Assuming I’ve got it all covered.
Taking the trust fall is worth it. Paul finishes this chapter by quoting a scripture from Isaiah:
“…anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.”
If you trust in him, you’ll never be disgraced.
You’ll always have a safe place to fall.
In the fall towards a life recklessly abandoned to Jesus, you’ll find security, safety, and peace.
Whatever area of your life that needs a good trust fall, go take the fall today. I’m with you.
Prayer: God, I pray I can trust fully in you today. Every insecurity, doubt, and fear I have, I surrender it to you and pray I can do a full trust fall in area of my life to you. Remove any obstacle, anything in my life that hinders me from trusting you with every part of my heart, mind, body, and soul. Amen.