I Do Not Trust in Jesus

In a recent interview I was asked, “How did you come to trust Christ?” My answer was even shocking to myself: “Actually, I have to admit that I do not trust Christ much of the time. I have found that oftentimes Jesus asks more of me than I am willing to give him.”

Now, I think I know what they were asking me: “When did you get saved?” But my heresy runs deep and I have a hard time understanding that question anymore. In my tradition it is common for people to “get saved” many times in their lives. Usually it first happens in Sunday School as a child, then again at youth camp, then again the next year at youth camp, then again the next year of youth camp . . . and perhaps even again when you get a family of your own and “start taking faith seriously.”

Instead, I can’t help but think to myself “When am I not being saved?” This journey with Jesus means I am constantly being saved . . . saved from myself, from my selfishness and complete disregard for the poor, broken-hearted and annoying. I see salvation as a process, not a moment. It is an ongoing and confusing journey of confidence and self-doubt, arrogance and divine-doubt. It is not in the past tense but always in the present.

My faith is not in a past moment of emotion with every eye closed and every head bowed, but it is “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 1:6)

So if I am honest with myself (something I truly hate to do), I admit I often have a profound disbelief in Christ.That is, if I can stop creating the fake self I like to parade around on Facebook and at church just long enough to get a glimpse of the true me, I see a life of disbelief and a head filled with “belief.” But the Bible does not allow for belief to be mental assent.

If you have come to the conclusion that Christ has been raised from the dead but your everyday, walking-around-town life is not a source of grace and a place of resurrection for the people and communities around you, the Bible does not call that “belief” it calls that “disbelief” at best, “hypocrisy” at worst.*

So, yes, sometimes I believe in Christ. And when I look back on those moments I am grateful to see him at work in my life. But no, most of the time, I do not trust in Jesus. Most of the time my life looks no different than the atheist and agnostic.

And I have a feeling that by my willingness to admit that, I am being saved yet again.

*Similar to Rollins’ notion that many Christians don’t believe in the resurrection (see here — from 6min–8min).

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9 responses to “I Do Not Trust in Jesus

    • I definitely resonate with the paradox of faith and doubt in the same breath; “Lord, I believe… help my unbelief”. The New Testament introduces us to multiple characters who echo this tension. And ultimately to the Divine Embrace of a nail-scarred hand.

      Thanks for you transparency, and the challenge to look deep within.

      – Jay DePoy

  1. This reminds me of a paper I once wrote on the question, “How and When is a Person Saved?” I appreciate your effort to capture the reality that salvation is a process. We see Paul used the word “saved” in all three tenses (past, present, future) and there seems to be both an ‘objective’ salvation and a ‘subjective’ salvation throughout the NT. I like to believe that what happened in the Christ Event is utterly objective. And God’s grace has given me this lifetime to live into it.

    One thing you said was interesting: “Most of the time my life looks no different than the atheist and agnostic.” How should our lives look different from those who don’t trust Christ as Lord of the cosmos? That is a tough question. For me, I think it should entail the kind of love and grace toward others that Christ showed (and hence we’re living John 13:34). And also, I think that living simply is a clear way to distinguish our lives as trusting in the simple Messiah. Anyone have other ideas?

  2. I appreciate your point. Doubting has been overly ‘demonized’ in our modern Christianity that force us to put up a front of certainty that is not really there. And it is spiritually unhealthy. But I was reading a Spurgeon sermon on Exodus 12:13 the other day and he said something that was enlightening. To paraphrase, he said something like, “It is not our tears over our sin nor our repentance that saves, but the efficacy of blood of the Lamb…” I think this is a good reminder not to swing too much into doubt, that there still is a level of certainty for salvation that does not hinge on my trust.

    • I agree Paul — we need more proclamation surrounding the point that it is Christ who saves, not our tears or guilt. This is exactly the security that allows me to doubt.

  3. I swear I think these very thoughts every day. Thank you for understanding the doubter’s plight and wording it so eloquently. …. If I am BEING grace and love and mercy to those around me, I am being saved by Jesus. To be hatred, bitterness, and judgment to those around me …. it’s obvious my heart isn’t tuned into Jesus. Wow.

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