The church is a body made up of people. My mom once said to me, tongue-in-cheek, “Church would be perfect if it weren’t for the people.” But if you didn’t have people, you wouldn’t have the church. How do we reconcile the need to function as a viable part of the social church with the need for an individual one-on-one relationship with God, one which must supercede all other relationships and attachments in our lives?
“But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man” (John 2:24-25, ESV).
Oswald Chambers made some important comments on these verses, and I have found them rather helpful.
First, on page 152 of My Utmost for His Highest, He says,
Put God First in Trust. Our Lord trusted no man; yet He was never suspicious, never bitter, never in despair about any man, because He put God first in trust; He trusted absolutely in what God’s grace could do for any man. If I put my trust in human beings first, I will end in despairing of everyone; I will become bitter, because I have insisted on man being what no man ever can be–absolutely right. Never trust anything but the grace of God in yourself or in anyone else.
Man will let us down. And we will become disillusioned. Worse still, we become bitter when we continually look to imperfect people and are continually disappointed by them. And bitterness is a perpetual state that colors our lives for a long time until we finally find healing and get rid of it. But God is faithful. “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6, ESV).
On p. 212, Chambers discusses disillusionment, but he treats it as something we need rather than something to avoid! (The header for this section is “The Discipline of Disillusionment”.)
Disillusionment means that there are no more false judgments in life. To be undeceived by disillusionment may leave us cynical and unkindly severe in our judgment of others, but the disillusionment which comes from God brings us to the place where we see men and women as they really are, and yet there is no cynicism, we have no stinging, bitter things to say. Many of the cruel things in life spring from the fact that we suffer from illusions. We are not tru to one another as facts; we are true only to our ideas of one another. Everything is either delightful and fine, or mean and dastardly, according to our idea.
The refusal to be disillusioned is the cause of much of the suffering in human life. It works in this way–if we love a human being and do not love God, we demand of him every perfection and every rectitude, and when we do not get it we become cruel and vindictive; we are demanding of a human being that which he or she cannot give. There is only one Being Who can satisfy the last aching abyss of the human heart, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. Why Our Lord is apparently so severe regarding every human relationship is because He knows that every relationship not based on loyalty to Himself will end in disaster. Our Lord trusted no man, yet He was never suspicious, never bitter. Our Lord’s confidence in God and in what His grace could do for any man, was so perfect that He despaired of no one. If our trust is placed in human beings, we shall end in despairing of everyone.
Release date: By 19 November, 1991