Key Scriptures: John 2:1-11, Luke 5:1-11, Matthew 8:5-13, 23-27, Luke 8:43-48, Psalms 56:3-4, Psalms 112: 7, Proverbs 3:5, Psalms 37:5, Mark 11:24, Psalms 31:14-15, Psalms 60:12, Romans 10:9, Romans 4:20-21, Psalms 33:21, Isaiah 26:3, Genesis 15:6, Psalms 22:4-5, Proverbs 3:3-4
Guiding Question: How can we learn to trust God and become a person others can trust?
Optional Introductory Activity: Divide the students into groups of three to six students. All but one person in each group should be blindfolded. The person who is not blindfolded can only use his/her voice to complete the task. Each group must set a table for four people including pouring water in the water glasses. (Someone must hold the glass while another person holds the glass) Every person in the group must participate in some way. (Want to have more fun? Give them only 2-3 minutes to complete the task.) After the activity ask the students how hard it was to trust the other people in the group. What would have made it more difficult or easier to trust the others in the group?
Lesson: (Questions for the students are in bold italics.) After belief in God, trust and faith in Him are absolutely necessary for Christians. God shows His love to us in part by being trustworthy. What exactly are faith and trust? Faith is complete trust and confidence in God. Trust is belief in the reliability, truth, ability and strength of God. Sounds simple enough but read Luke 7:9 and John 20:24-29. These are only two of many verses in the Bible that discuss people who struggled with trust, faith and doubts. Now read Hebrews 11:6. What does it say is absolutely necessary to please God? Whom do you identify with more? Thomas or the Christian described in Hebrews? Why?
One way to strengthen our trust and faith in God is to understand the characteristics of someone who can be trusted. Then let’s see if they match what we learn about God in the Bible and how God works today.
- Reputation – someone who we can trust generally has a good reputation. Read Luke 5:1-11. Notice verse 5. Why is Peter questioning what Jesus asked them to do? Peter didn’t realize yet that Jesus was the Messiah. Jesus had no reputation – good or bad – that Peter knew, so Peter had a little trouble trusting Jesus. In fact, read John 1:45-46. Nathaniel only knew Jesus was from Nazareth – a small town. Nathaniel questioned if Jesus could be the Messiah, because people form Nazareth didn’t have a great reputation. Yet once people recognized that Jesus was the Messiah they knew God’s reputation and that of the promised Messiah. Their trust wasn’t perfect but they knew they could trust the reputation of Jesus.
- Consistently doing the right godly thing. Read John 2:1-11. At this point in time, Mary probably knew Jesus better than anyone. She knew she could trust he would do the right thing and would not let her down or let their host be publicly embarrassed. She knew she could trust Jesus.
- Keeps Promises – Read Matthew 8:5-13. The Centurion trusted Jesus to keep His promise. If Jesus only said the servant had been healed the Centurion trusted it had happened. Even Jesus commented on the strong faith of the Centurion for not asking Jesus to come heal his servant in person.
- Looks out for the best interests of others. Read Matthew 8:23-27. Jesus had consistently shown His love and care for the apostles and others. He expected the apostles to trust Him to take care of them during the storm, we will talk about why they doubted later, but Jesus had definitely looked out for their best interests. They knew that and should have trusted Him.
- Gives with no expectation of a reward. Read Luke 8:43-48. Notice that even through Jesus realized He had healed the woman by her touch of His robe, Jesus sent her on her way. In fact, read Matthew 8:4. There were times when not only did Jesus not expect a reward he told the person to keep it a secret. You couldn’t even accuse Him of Healing for His won power or glory. (God’s yes, but that is different.)
- Transparent and honest with godly motives. What examples from the life of Jesus can you give for these qualities? Almost everything Jesus said or did were great examples of these qualities. Of the six characteristics of someone we can trust, how many have you seen God exhibit today? Can you give some examples? (Note: some groups of students may need you to give them examples to get them started.)
If we know that God has these characteristics why do we still have trouble trusting Him? Here are several possibilities:
- We haven’t been able to trust the people in our lives. Since they are untrustworthy it makes it harder to trust anyone, even God. Read Numbers 23:19. What does this tell us we need to remind ourselves when we are tempted to stereotype God as untrustworthy?
- The problem seems too big for even God. Read Jeremiah 32:27. What things are we tempted to believe are too hard for God? When we distrust Him in this way, what should we remind ourselves?
- God is saying “no” or “wait” to our prayers. It’s easy to trust someone who always lets us have our way. What’s not so easy is to trust that God is wiser than we area when He doesn’t let us have our way or makes us wait a long time for what we asked. Why is it so hard to trust God when He says “no” or “wait”? Read Romans 8:28. What does it promise us?
- It’s scary to let God be in control instead of trying to control things ourselves. Read Proverbs 16:9. What does this tell us is happening even when we think we are in control?
By now you may be wondering how having faith and trust in God can make a difference in your like as a Christian. Read the following scriptures asking:
What does each passage tell us our faith and trust in God will help us deal with in our lives?
- Romans 10:9 (faith in our salvation)
- Psalm 56:3-4, Psalm 112:7 (our fears)
- Proverbs 3:5, Psalm 37:5 (know what to do or what we need)
- Mark 11:24 (faith that our prayers are answered)
- Psalm 31:14-15, Psalm 60:12 (our enemies)
- Romans 4: 20-21 (God keeps His promises)
- Psalm 33:21, Isaiah 26:3 (peace and joy)
- Psalm 22:4-5 (for deliverance)
- Proverb 3:3-4 (favor and good success in sight of God and man)
Skills Activity: Review the main parts of the lesson. (Depending on your students, you may need to spend more time during the activity helping them learn to differentiate between trustworthy and untrustworthy people or how to become trustworthy.) Give the students sheets to white paper and markers. Explain that in Europe a family crest would allow people to know the reputation of the person or family who was represented by it. Have the students design a personal family crest. (If they want to use standard symbols instead of their own use this website.) (Note: If the students are trying to break a negative family cycle have them design two crests. The first should represent their family’s current reputation. The second should represent how they want their reputation to be.) Encourage the students to share their crests and how they include the six element of trustworthiness.
Give the students the worksheet “Trust Evaluation”. Have the students list five or six general categories of people in their environment (Ex: teacher, police officers, pay day lender, landlords, gang member, football player etc.) Have each student check the categories of trust they think each person meets. Then read the specific details of a fictional person in each category. Make sure your scenarios are common in the environment for your student. Be sure to include “surprise” elements (may vary with student environment) – for example a preacher who has a problem with telling lies or a pay day lender who is honest. Have them share their thoughts and observations after the sheet is completed. End the exercise by having the students privately evaluate themselves using the same criteria.
Application Challenge: Read Luke 5:1-11 and Acts 2. Think about how Peter changed between when he first met Jesus and the Day of Pentecost. What had happened to make him more trusting of Jesus? How had he become someone who went from denying he even knew Jesus to preaching boldly about Him. One could argue that Jesus could trust Peter to be more consistent to his faith. What can you do to grow like Peter did?
Author: Thereasa Winnett