Trust in God
About the Guest
Is your faith growing as you trust God more and more? Pastor Crawford Loritts reminds us that Abraham-like faith doesn't deny the reality of your circumstances, but trusts in God's promises in spite of them. Crawford explains how we can teach our kids to depend on Him, too.
Crawford LorittsCrawford Loritts (B.S., D.Th., Philadelphia Biblical University; D.Div., Biola University) was the senior pastor of Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell, Georgia. He has served as a national evangelist with the American Missionary Fellowship and the Urban Evangelistic Mission, and as Associate Director of Campus Crusade for Christ. He co-founded Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas. He is a frequent speaker for professional sports teams, including three Super Bowls and the NCAA Final Four...more
Pastor Crawford Loritts reminds us that Abraham-like faith doesn’t deny the reality of your circumstances, but trusts in God’s promises in spite of them.
Trust in God
Bob: As a parent—presumably, you want your children to follow in your footsteps if you’re walking by faith; but Crawford Loritts says, “They need to learn how to walk by faith on their own, and that may involve some pain.”
Crawford: Sometimes, the best thing you can do for your child is to allow them to experience for themselves—not just consequences—but the opportunity to trust God because we are going to be very dead. Our goal, as parents, is to point our kids toward Jesus and to point them toward the door—and they’ve got to serve Him.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Wednesday, February 3rd. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. What can we do, as parents, to help our children learn how to trust God on their own? We’ll explore that today with Crawford Loritts. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. We’ve been talking, this week, Dennis, about the subject of faith. I think, for a lot of listeners, the idea of faith comes down to: “How hard are you believing?”—you know? It’s kind of like: “How much oomph faith can I muster up? Am I really believing, or am I REALLY believing? If I want God to do what I want Him to do, then, I must REALLY believe it.”
Dennis: And if Jesus was here, He would have said, “You need to have the faith of the mustard seed,”—He spoke of something very, very small. It’s the object of the faith that makes the difference: “Do you trust, are you leaning into, do you have confidence in the God who created you?—that He is at work in you, and through you, and around you?”
Bob: So, when the disciples said, “Increase our faith,” they were really saying, “Increase our confidence in You.”
Dennis: Yes; and “…in our knowledge of who You are so I’ll trust You more.”
We have had with us this week Crawford Loritts, a good friend. Welcome back Crawford.
Crawford: Good to be back. Good to back.
Dennis: Do you think, Crawford—
Crawford: Yes, I am. I’m—actually, I found what you just said very intriguing because there is a sense in which our faith does increase—in the sense that the greater my understanding of God—
Crawford: —and the greater my confidence in His track record, in terms of what He has done, the more, on an emotional side of things, I can release my heart to believe Him fuller.
Dennis: I’ve come to those places in life—
Dennis: —where I’ve thought back—I’m going, “I’ve been here before.”
Crawford: Yes; exactly.
Dennis: “I’ve been here before. Just step out. Take the next step of faith. Lean into Him and trust Him.”
Bob: Well, we’ve already talked about how we talk about faith in human relationships My confidence in my wife’s character—
Crawford: Yes; exactly.
Bob: —in whom she is, as a person—
Bob: —in her trustworthiness.
Crawford: That’s right.
Bob: It’s more today than it was in our first years of marriage, not because she was less trustworthy then, but just because I’ve learned, over time, just how much I can trust who she is.
Crawford: Patterns of consistent, faithful behavior—and the question with our faith is: “Now, we’ve been inconsistent,—
Crawford: —“but has God ever been inconsistent?”
Dennis: And that’s what you write about in your book, Unshaken: Real Faith in Our Faithful God. And you define faith—at least, the closest thing you come to a definition in the book—and I like it because it’s two words—it’s God confidence.
Crawford: That’s right.
Dennis: And what I want to ask you is—we have a lot of listeners who are moms and dads, raising the next generation. They are concerned about how their kids are losing their faith / are losing their faith in this culture. What would you say is the most important thing you and Karen did in transferring your faith / teaching faith to your kids so they’d know how to trust God and have God confidence as they grow up?
Crawford: By not focusing on what will take their faith away but focusing on what will expand their ability to succeed—and that is understanding the Word of God—teaching them the Word of God at home—modeling it before them / applying God’s truth so that they focus on a God who is consistent, who never fails, and not on the battles of the culture.
Now, to be sure, certainly, we do have to talk about “How do you resist temptation?” and all these issues in life; but I actually think that—and this is not the first time that all hell has broken loose in a society or culture. Let’s just sort of push that down a little bit—I mean, when you read most of the letters in the New Testament, the moral climate was far worse, believe it or not, than it is today.
Crawford: And yet, what do we see? We see these apostles continuing in the truth of God’s Word, and praying for one another, and pouring truth into hearts and lives. So, I think that the greatest thing that we can do, as parents—and Karen and I tried to do it / now, we weren’t perfect—but to heighten the Word of God and God’s ability to step into every situation in their lives and let them see it—let them see the hand of God at work in your family. I really believe that that prepares them to combat and fight the issues in the culture.
Dennis: You have, in your book, seven ways to strengthen / to grow your faith—
Bob: —increase your faith; right.
Dennis: Yes; right. And I think this is something parents need to hear as they pass their faith onto their kids, but they need to hear for themselves too.
Crawford: Yes; absolutely. And I’ll just click them off: “To accept the reality of opposition,”—that your faith is going to be—there is no such thing as faith unless there is opposition, by the way.
Faith does not exist unless it is opposed. By very definition—you don’t just have faith / faith only exists because there is something you have to press through.
Dennis: Faith is like a muscle.
Dennis: A muscle needs weight—
Crawford: —it needs resistance.
Dennis: —it does—in order for it to grow.
Crawford: Absolutely. I think, secondly: “Stand ready to resist.” You expect the opposition / so you stand ready to resist. That sounds negative—but in the Bible, faith is defiance / it is not denial—but it is defiance. So, you resist—you resist, not in some little personal willpower, but based upon the Word / standing on the promises of God’s Word.
Then, thirdly: “You keep your focus—your mind focused and filled with truth.” It’s so important right now—I can’t tell you—if you’re going through a trying time, you’ve got to pour the truth of God’s Word in your head. We have to think rightly / we have to think from heaven’s perspective.
That’s how you build and strengthen your faith.
Dennis: And as you think about your kids, they need to have the Scriptures / the truth of the Bible imbedded in their heads—
Dennis: —and their hearts because they are going to run into a culture that doesn’t reward that truth. They need to know that it is right and that they need to obey it.
Crawford: Absolutely. You know, our son—there is an experience that he had. Our oldest son Bryan—he is now a pastor in New York City. When he was in undergraduate school, he had a financial need that we didn’t know anything about. He said, “Dad, I started to call you, but then, I remembered all those times around the dinner table when we would be praying about financial needs, as a family, and the Bible verses about God supplying all of our needs, and claiming those things, and Mom writing those things down. I started to call—then, I thought, ‘No, it’s my turn to trust God right now.”
Crawford: I should tell you—every time I tell that story, I sort of tear up. But that’s what it’s all about.
It’s—you give them the gift of God’s truth. I think: “Parents, don’t ever underestimate the power of God’s Word to grow and germinate in the hearts and minds of your kids—even if they are spilling milk while you’re having family devotions and one is slapping the other upside the head—but get that truth into their hearts and minds.”
Dennis: The assignment of a parent is to make a hand-off.
Dennis: You’re teaching your kids to be less dependent upon you and more dependent upon God.
Dennis: You’re on your way out, as a parent—it’s an 18- to 20-year exit strategy. I promise you—you’ve got to teach your kids how they—like Bryan did that time—learn to trust God in circumstances. That means they need to know who He is. So, you, as a parent—you are introducing your children to who Jesus Christ is, who God the Father is,—
Dennis: —and what the Scriptures promise, and what the Scriptures teach as true.
Bob: We’re talking with Dr. Crawford Loritts about what faith looks like. He’s written a book called Unshaken. You can go to FamilyLifeToday.com if you want more information about the book.
You were right in the middle of some of the ways we can increase our faith.
Bob: Continue with some of those; will you?
Crawford: Let me click those off—yes. The fourth one is: “Embrace the growth pains.” In other words, don’t run from the challenge, but run to God and allow Him to grow you in it. Don’t run from those gaps—you’ve got to press into those.
Number 5 is: “Stay in God’s presence.” That is the idea—the idea of worship, and prayer, and seeking Him in the midst of the challenge.
Number 6 is: “Associate with faith-filled people. “Now, I’m not just talking about those folks who are just optimists, but people whose lives have been characterized by trusting and believing God. Stay with them because faith is contagious.
Then, number 7: “Act.”
Faith is something that we do. Faith is not theoretical—you’ve got to pull the trigger. As I’ve said so often—faith is a verb, even when it’s a noun.
Dennis: I like what you said there on number4—I’ve got to comment on it—“Embrace the growth pains.”
Dennis: Now, think about it—all of our kids, as they grew up, had the growing pains; you know—the bones are getting longer / their hormones are kicking in. They are going to grow up, and the spiritual journey that you are engaging your children in will have some growth pains.
Dennis: Don’t rescue them from the challenges.
Crawford: Yes. And Christian parents—I’ve got to tell you—one of my biggest fears, Dennis and Bob, is that I actually think that we confuse godly parenting with God’s role in our children’s lives. We can actually stand in God’s way. Our job is not to replace God.
Sometimes, the best thing you can do for your child is not give them what they are asking for—
Bob: Back off.
Crawford: —to allow them to experience for themselves—not just consequences—but the opportunity to trust God because we’re going to be very dead. Our goal, as parents, is to point our kids toward Jesus and to point them toward the door—[Laughter]—and they’ve got to serve Him.
Bob: We’ve got to tweet that right now. [Laughter] “Our goal, as parents, is to point our kids to Jesus and point them toward the door,”—tweet that for me; okay? [Laughter] That’s great!
Dennis: And just so there are not any listeners listening that think he just said you can do that with a three-year-old—that’s not—
Crawford: No; no!
Dennis: —what he’s talking about here.
Crawford: Now, if he’s 33, you probably should have done that a few years ago. [Laughter]
Dennis: But your assignment, as a parent, is to teach your children to become independently—
Dennis: —dependent upon Jesus Christ.
Dennis: They have to have their own faith!
Dennis: That means, at points—Crawford, I want you to talk about this—at points, you have to let them fail. You have to trust them enough.
I had a meal with a friend recently, where he was talking about his son in college. His son called and wanted to go do some things. He and his wife couldn’t agree on whether or not to let him do it. You know, those are those calls that parents—they go, “What’s the right thing to do?”
Well, I can’t tell you one-size-fits-all; but I do know this—you have to be training your kids—especially, while they’re home—to do what’s right and to obey when they’re facing the challenges that want to rob them of their courage.
Crawford: Absolutely. And the way that you give them the gift of a wholesome independent dependence upon God—I love that line—is number 1: “You’ve got to give the gifts of consequences.” You know, pain is a great teacher. I think you have to give them the gift of consequences.
But I also believe that you need to not institutionalize your fears by restricting them for what they could trust God for—
—give them the gift of opportunity. Don’t be fear-based because you’re afraid of something—you’re afraid of them failing, you’re afraid of them not having enough money, you’re afraid that they’re going to do something you don’t understand. Listen—listen, you’ve got to stand back and give them the gift of consequences and give them the gift of opportunity. “Well,” you say, “What happens if they fail?” Well, you go to them and you say: “Thank God. What did we learn? Let’s get on our knees. Let’s write this down, and let’s trust the Lord that we don’t do this again.” But you’ve got to give them that.
Dennis: One of the things, Crawford, that you talk about—that I think every parent needs to hear—is how you tie the growth of our faith to sacrifice.
Dennis: We will face issues that are going to demand that we step out / trust God, and it will cost us something.
Crawford: Yes. Just as there are unintended consequences in every choice and decision that we make, there are glorious blessings when we sacrifice for the noble and right things.
Sacrifice is core to faith—it’s part of life. Faith—it’s just connected with sacrifice. I can get into the whole theology of that—it’s centered around the cross—the sacrifice of His Son so that we get the benefits of grace and freedom / of God giving up His only Son on our behalf—these kinds of things.
Dennis: And what I want our listeners to hear—especially parents—“Don’t protect your kids from what their faith is going to cost them.” This little piece that Crawford’s about to share right now—this needs to be a key part of the hand-off, as you take the baton of faith out of your hand and place it in your children’s.
Crawford: Here are the five lessons on faith and sacrifice. One: “It is one thing to trust God while we’re waiting for something, but it’s quite another thing to trust and obey Him after we receive it.” So, even after we receive from God, you’ve got to hold it with an open hand.
The second lesson is that: “While the test of faith may become more difficult as we walk with God, the rewards are more wonderful.” You have to keep in mind that faith is always rewarded. In a certain sense, sacrifice is relative—yes, I give up something; but God is going to make sure that what I have done in His name and given to honor His Word is always rewarded.
Bob: Second Corinthians, Chapter 4, says that, in this life, we will experience light and momentary afflictions which are producing—
Crawford: —an eternal weight of glory.
Bob: —an eternal weight of glory.
Bob: So, that’s exactly what you’re talking about.
Crawford: Absolutely. And third: “There are tests of faith that defy logic and that we want to resist.” The truth of the matter is that, from time to time, God calls us to trust Him for things and to do things that don’t make a lot of sense. This is a little bit of a hobby-horse with me. We keep over-correcting things. We want to make sure that our decisions, and faith, and all of this is logical / it doesn’t look stupid or crazy—
—but the truth of the matter is—as the three of us sit around this table—we’ve got a lot of history.
Crawford: There have been times in our lives where God has clearly led us to do things that don’t make a lot of sense. Is that a consistent pattern? I think not; but there are times in which God says: “No; this doesn’t make sense, but stand back. You’re at the Red Sea—watch Me.” I think we need to be very careful that we don’t—in our desire to sanitize faith—we don’t reduce faith and rape it of its supernatural force.
Number 4: “True faith holds nothing back from God—nothing.” That includes—our family should not be our idols. We’ve got to be careful—everything is laid on the altar before Him. That’s what God had to teach Abraham by offering up the promise:
“Don’t hold anything back from Me.”
Bob: Okay; but hang on—what does that mean for me, as a dad or as a husband today, when you say, “My family should not be an idol, and God should be a priority”? When do I turn my back on my family to follow God?
Crawford: I think there are two things that I am trying to say here. Number 1—I do not dictate to God what He should do with my family. That’s what I mean by—I stand back and I place their future / and I don’t over orchestrate my kid’s future. I don’t orchestrate who they should be, what they ought to do, what schools they should go to—all of that. I place the decisions in their hands, between them and the Lord, and I don’t over orchestrate that.
The other side of that is this too—I’m very careful—now, family should be a priority; but family should not be the fourth member of the Trinity. You’ve got to be very, very careful—you know, there are justifiable sacrifices that must be made.
Crawford: And part of their development is to understand that sometimes:
“No; no, Dad is not going to be at that baseball game.” “Why?” “Mr. Jones is dying of cancer.”
Bob: Yes. There is a Kingdom assignment there.
Crawford: “There is a Kingdom assignment, and I’m going there,” and “It’s right for you to look up at the stands and see Mom and not see me tonight.”
Bob: Now, there were not many games you missed when your boys were in sports?
Crawford: Not many—but I missed a few, and I don’t feel sorry for it. I think that we’ve got to be very, very careful that we’re not teaching, by our practice, that family is more important than our devotion to Jesus.
Bob: One of the ways I’ve had to learn that and apply that in my marriage has been—there are times when pleasing my wife would have meant not doing something I felt like God was really calling me to do. Now, that is rare—
Bob: —but there are times when she was saying, “This is what I want,” and I’m thinking, “God wants this.”
Bob: Times with my kids—when they were saying, “This is what I want,”—
—and I’m thinking that “God wants this.”
Russell Moore said it this way—he said, “It’s better to make a decision that your wife, five years from now, will look back and say, ‘I’m glad you made that decision.’ She might not say it today, but you want her to be able to look back and say, ‘I didn’t feel like it at the time, but you made the right decision.’” We don’t always do that right, as husbands.
Crawford: No, we don’t; but we should do that. Again, you know what we are saying here is—obviously, family is first; but family is not God. There are times in which you’ve got to model the greater passion and the greater commitment.
Dennis: Yes. I don’t know about you two guys, but I’ve always done what Barbara’s said—so it’s not been a problem in our marriage. [Laughter]
Bob: I’d like to call an eyewitness on that one. [Laughter]
Bob: I think there is testimony to the contrary.
Dennis: What is number 5? [Laughter]
Crawford: Well, number 5—well, yes: “Sacrificial faith is liberating because, when we release to God what He has given us, we disengage ourselves from this world and affirm our complete soul allegiance to Him.”
That’s what Romans 12:1-2 is all about. When you live in that delightful place, that’s when faith becomes powerful, and rich, and real, and personal, and dynamic.
Dennis: And I hope you’ve gotten the message, as a listener: “Without faith, it is impossible to please Him.” Are you growing your faith? If you are not, why not?—maybe, you should get a copy of Crawford’s book, Unshaken.
In closing today, I want to say, “Thank you,” twice—first of all, to you Crawford, for your faithfulness, and your gift in preaching and teaching, and turning this into a great book. Personally, I need this book. I told you that privately, before we came in here—facing some choices in my life that I need to be reminded, “You need to walk by faith.”
A second group of people I’d like to thank, though, are our Legacy Partners.
When you give, you make a broadcast like this possible.
Dennis: Now, think about that. There are some advertisers who put other radio hosts on the air on secular radio, and they’re paying so that that broadcast can be on. They’re not representing God or success in life; but when you—as a Legacy Partner—give, you make this broadcast possible. We could not do what we do, here on FamilyLife Today, without people standing with us on a monthly basis.
And I just want to say, “Thanks,” to all the Legacy Partners—you know who you are. Wish I could reach through the radio and shake your hand, offer you a cup of coffee, and sit and sip it with you for a while. But this broadcast—today and previous ones that you’ve heard—you’re helping put good stuff out on the air. This is worthy of transmission.
Bob: Well, it may be that some of our listeners would want to make the decision today to become a Legacy Partner. We’re hoping, during the month of February, that we will see—
—we’ve kind of boiled it down to 20 families in every state where FamilyLife Today is heard. If there were 20 families in each state, who would say, “We’d like to help sponsor FamilyLife Today for our community,” that would be a great boost for us, here at FamilyLife.
It’s simple to do. All you have to do is go to FamilyLifeToday.com. The information is available there on becoming a Legacy Partner; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY and say: “I’m a long-time listener. I’m ready to join the team and help make this ministry possible with a monthly contribution in support of FamilyLife Today,”—again, the website, FamilyLifeToday.com; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY.
When you get in touch with us, be sure to ask about getting a copy of Crawford Loritts’ book, Unshaken—all about faith. You can order that from us, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com; or you can request it when you call 1-800-358-6329. That’s 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.”
Now, a quick “Congratulations!” to our friends, Carlos and Melissa Paredes, who live in Dallas, Texas. They are FamilyLife Today listeners who have been married ten years today. In fact, Dennis, this is a couple who hosted an Art of Marriage® event in their local church. So, we want to say: “Congratulations to you. Thanks for investing in the lives of others and partnering with us to do that.”
We are all about anniversaries this year. This is our 40th Anniversary as a ministry. So, we’re trying to recognize the anniversaries of FamilyLife Today friends and FamilyLife Today listeners. We’d love to highlight and make special note of your anniversary. Go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com, and tell us your anniversary date. We’ve got some ideas for you on how this year can be your best anniversary year ever.
And again, thanks to those of you who support this ministry.
You’ve made a lot of anniversaries possible over the years, and we are the proud sponsor of a lot of those anniversaries.
Now, we hope you can join us back again tomorrow when we’re going to talk about dads going on dates—and not with their wives—with their daughters. We’ll talk about daddy dates tomorrow. Hope you can tune in for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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