Trust in God
Trust in God, and the Peace, Security, and Confidence it brings, is such an important aspect of living the Vibrant Christian life -- and yet many of us really don't know what it means or what is involved in it. Hopefully this will help.
Almost without exception what is taught and passed off in the Christian world today concerning "FAITH", regardless of denomination, is really a cheap COUNTERFEIT. Faith is defined by most of the Christian world as "BELIEF" in God. We will see in a moment why "Belief" is not an adequate definition of "FAITH", but let me state, right from the beginning, that the best definition of "Faith" is "TRUST". Faith, or Trust, requires an object toward which it is directed (in this case "GOD") and therefore implies a "BELIEF" in God. One is hardly going to "TRUST" something they don't also "BELIEVE" in! But just because you "Believe" in something does NOT necessarily mean that you also "TRUST" (or have FAITH in) that which you "believe". This may seem more than just a little obvious, but many people believe that just because they Believe in God that that is the same thing as having having Faith in God. The two are NOT necessarily the same thing! A simple "Belief" in something does NOT necessarily translate into "TRUST" in that same thing NOR will that "Belief" necessarily translate into any kind of meaningful difference or change in one's life.
For instance; I "believe" that the President of the United States will do what he honestly thinks is in the best interests of the country. But my "believing" this about him does NOT necessarily translate into any kind of "FAITH" or "TRUST" that he will actually DO what is best for the country. My "BELIEF" in the President does not produce any kind of meaningful difference in my life (e.g. it does not provide me Peace or Security, etc.) nor does my "belief" in his intentions inspire me to take any meaningful Actions in my life. In short, my "belief" does not equate to "FAITH" (Trust). And when it comes right down to it, most people hold this same kind of belief in GOD. They "believe" in Him but they do not have "FAITH" in Him -- and, tragically, this translates into a very un-empowering experience in their Christian lives.
The Bible says that "without faith (trust) it is impossible to please God: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Heb. 11:6). Obviously, if you want to "Please God" you must Trust God, not merely believe in Him! God loves to have us Trust Him and to rest in the assurance that HE WILL provide for all our needs. Still, Trusting in God can be a difficult thing. Why?
The apostle Paul tells us that: "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). One of the main reasons so many of us lack FAITH (Trust) is because we don't spend much time "hearing" (reading and studying) the Word of God. You are not going to TRUST someone you don't KNOW very well are you? And since our initial knowledge of God must come from His Word, it only makes sense that we must spend Time in it. This is God's PRIMARY means of communication with us and we simply must spend time there, communing with Him, if we are ever going to come to come to the point of Trusting Him. But "Trusting God" involves MORE than merely spending time reading the Bible or listening to Sermons. Trusting in God involves taking Him at His Word and acting accordingly.
Yes, Trusting God can be a difficult thing -- especially when life throws you a curve -- when your plans don't work out, when you lose a loved one, when you or someone you love becomes terminally ill, when you lose your job, or when your whole world seems to fall apart! But Trusting God is really only as difficult or as easy as YOU make it. For instance, when a child knows that his/her parents love them and only want what is best for them, they don't have a hard time trusting them do they? Indeed, they hardly give it a second thought. They don't fret about whether or not they will have clean cloths to wear, shoes on their feet, a bed to sleep in, or food when they are hungry do they? They don't question whether their parents will be there for them or whether they will tend to their wounds. And what would You, as a parent, think if your Child were always "doubting" your Love for them and "questioning" whether or not you would be there to provide for them? Wouldn't you be deeply hurt if your child acted this way towards you -- always doubting your Love and not Trusting you to provide for their needs? Indeed, don't we actually expect our children to Trust us implicitly? And if we "expect" this kind of "Trust" from our children, does it come as any surprise to you that God is hurt when we, who claim to be His Children, do not Trust Him?
God has said: "Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?'... for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you" (Mat. 6:31-33). Let me assure you that the "Word" of God is far superior to the word of man. Indeed, when God speaks, it is as good as done: "He will not fail you or forsake you" (Duet. 31:6,8). You say you "Believe in Him" -- I ask you now, "Do you 'Trust Him'"? What kind of "FAITH" do you have? Is it one of mere belief or is it one of deep abiding TRUST?
It is pretty easy for us to convince ourselves that we have "Faith" in God -- that we "Trust" Him -- when things are well with us and everything is going our way. But the rubber really hits the road concerning what "kind" of faith we have when things aren't going our way -- when things aren't so well with us! That is when our "FAITH" is revealed -- and when it becomes evident as to just what kind of Faith we really have in God. Ask yourself: When things start to go wrong in my life, do I rest confidently in the fact that God is in control and that everything is working for good? Or do I immediately doubt God's Love and Care? Do I ask God "Why" this -- "Why me"? Do I curse Him when things go wrong? Be careful how you answer for God is not mocked -- He knows whether you really Trust Him or not -- and He will Test us in order to reveal TO US whether or not our "Faith" is the real deal or not (see Ps. 7:9; 11:5; Prov. 17:3)!
I really wonder if most of us living in the more affluent countries, like the United States, really have "FAITH" at all! True Faith, in this world, is a rare commodity. Jesus indicated as much when He posed the question: "when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" (Lk. 18:8). This is not just an incidental question. It is a question that should probe deeply into our motives as to our relationship with God. And the question our Lord poses sadly begs the answer "No". So this question of "what kind of Faith do I have" is really a matter of the utmost importance! It is actually a matter of life or death! Do I really TRUST God? Or is my Faith in Him of a lesser nature? Do I have Saving Faith, or is my Faith really of this world?
You see, most of us have been led to believe that all we have to do to be "Christians" is to "believe" in God, to "Confess" with our mouths that Jesus is our "Lord", and that this constitutes saving Faith. "Only Believe" is the cry of the modern Evangelical world! But this is perhaps one of the greatest injustices ever done in the "Name of Jesus" -- for it gives us a false sense of security and leads us into a life of complacency. How many professing Christians will come up before the judgment seat of the Lord and hear those terrifying words "Depart from me, all you evil doers . . . I never knew you" (Lk. 13:27; Mat. 7:23)? And all because we accepted the false gospel message which told us that all we need to do is to "Believe"! Dear "Believer": "the demons also believe, and shudder" (James 2:19)!
The PARADOX of Saving Faith: It is a "Paradox", humanly speaking that saving faith is exercised at the very times when circumstances would seem to suggest that our "Faith" (Trust) has failed us most miserably -- when according to the things of this World all the evidence is against us. You see, as Christians we have the distinction of being members of the KINGDOM of GOD while, at the same time, we find ourselves Living in a World that is diametrically opposed to that very KINGDOM. The Experiences of our daily lives are most often dictated by the Kingdom of THIS WORLD -- and those experiences are often difficult and trying. Jesus said "In the world ye shall have tribulation" (Jn. 16:33) -- we are not promised a life of ease and relaxation simply because we have become members of the KINGDOM of GOD. Rather, we have been promised a life of tribulation so long as we are living in THIS WORLD! BUT, we have also been given the assurance that CHRIST has Overcome this World and that, as those that are hid in Christ, we too can "Overcome" this World and its perplexities and even experience Joy and Rest even in the midst of Trials and Tribulations! And, while this may not make sense when viewed from the perspective of THIS WORLD -- it makes perfect sense, and is a FACT, in the KINGDOM of GOD!
It is NOT hard to fool ourselves into believing that we are TRUSTING GOD when things are going smoothly and well for us -- when we are not facing want for the necessities and pleasures of life here on this World. In fact, most of us are perfectly willing to TRUST GOD when everything seems good and right or when all OUR EFFORTS have seemed to have "paid-off" -- after all, "God helps those who help themselves" right? Wrong! The FACT is that God helps those who can't help themselves! And we are often permitted to face want and hardship and difficult trials in order to show us our great need for God's protection and care and to test our FAITH in Him for the things that we need the most.
It has been said that "The very time to exercise faith is when we feel destitute of the Spirit. When thick clouds of darkness seem to hover over the mind, then is the time to let living faith pierce the darkness and scatter the clouds. (EW p. 72:2)" It is when everything seems to go wrong and all that our human eyes can see is Defeat and Failure that the substance of our FAITH is revealed -- and these are the very times that we should TRUST GOD the most. These are the times when we should find the most REST for our souls. These are the times when we should be found confidently resting under the shadow of the the Almighty. But sadly, these are most often the times when we Trust God the very least.
We are living in hard times -- and things are only going to get worse because THIS WORLD is coming to its end. Many of us have seen our Jobs and our Pensions, our Retirement accounts and our Savings disappear before our very eyes. Many of us have lost houses and cars. Employers, families and friends seem to be failing us at the time we have needed them the most. And many of us are fearfully wondering where to turn and what we are to do next. THIS, my friends, is when we need to exercise our FAITH the most! This is when we need to lay our worries and our cares in the hands of our Loving Savior and to leave them there! God KNOWS what you NEED -- it may not always coincide with what you WANT but He has PROMISED, if we will but TRUST in Him, that everything we truly need He WILL PROVIDE.
God has called us to a HIGHER STANDARD and a HIGHER KINGDOM -- one in which the things of this life pale in comparison -- and HOW we react when things are NOT going the way we planned or wanted is what reveals which World (or KINGDOM) you really belong to. God has said: "the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God...For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life's span? If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith!...do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you" (Lk. 12:21-31 - emphasis mine). What EARTHLY Father, if he KNOWS that his children are in need, would not provide for them everything that they need? How then, can we doubt that our Heavenly Father - the Almighty God of the Universe - could not KNOW what we have need of? And IF He KNOWS, how can we doubt that He will PROVIDE EVERYTHING WE NEED?!! Where is our FAITH? Where is our TRUST in our Savior, our LORD, our Loving GOD?
I shudder to speak of our lack of FAITH (and I include myself in all this)! Jeremiah 12:5 says: "If you have raced with men on foot and they have tired you out, then how can you compete with horses? And if in a land of peace where you feel secure, then what will you do in the swelling and flooding of the Jordan?" In other words, if you have failed to TRUST God when things have been easy and good, how will you TRUST Him when things turn difficult and dark? And if your FAITH fails when things get rough, what Hope do you have? It was a lack of FAITH (Trust) that caused the disciples to FEAR on the Lake when the Storm set in (Mt. 8:26). It was their lack of FAITH (Trust) that caused the disciples to wonder how they were to feed the multitude (Mt. 16:8). It was their lack of FAITH (Trust) that caused them to fail in casting out the demon from the boy while they were waiting for Jesus to come down from the Mount of Transfiguration (Mt. 17:14-20). And it is our lack of FAITH (Trust) that leaves us so miserable when times get tough. It is our lack of FAITH (Trust) that leaves us -- CHRISTIANS -- Sons and Daughters of the KING -- so POWERLESS in this World (a World that has already been Defeated!)! How much pain our lack of FAITH (Trust) must cause our Savior and our God when He has been so Faithful and Good to us!
There is a quote from the book 'Mount of Blessings' (p. 71:2) that has meant a great deal to me in this regard and helped me immensely in the are of "Resting" and "TRUSTING" Christ when things have seemed to go badly in my life. Here it is: "The Father's presence encircled Christ, and nothing befell Him but that which infinite love permitted for the blessing of the world. Here was His source of comfort, and it is for us. He who is imbued with the Spirit of Christ abides in Christ. The blow that is aimed at him falls upon the Saviour, who surrounds him with His presence. Whatever comes to him comes from Christ. He has no need to resist evil, for Christ is his defense. Nothing can touch him except by our Lord's permission, and "all things" that are permitted 'work together for good to them that love God.' Romans 8:28." Let's face it, things did NOT always go well for Christ -- indeed, He was assailed by the Devil in ways that you and I cannot even imagine. Yet Christ maintained His TRUST in His Father and ACCEPTED everything that came to Him during His time on Earth as being only that which was ALLOWED to come to Him from God and as being only those things which would ultimately (not necessarily Immediately) result in a BLESSING for others. This "Blessing of OTHERS" is what the KINGDOM OF GOD is Based upon -- and is what everyone born into the Kingdom of God must submit to and live by. So, whenever things SEEM to be going badly for us, let's remember that these things have been PERMITTED to come to us in order to be a blessing either to US or to SOMEONE ELSE! So we can NEVER be UNHAPPY or UNGRATEFUL for ANYTHING that may happen to us -- for, in the END, ALL THESE THINGS MUST be working out for the BENEFIT and BLESSING of someone else! How then can we grumble and complain about anything that happens in our lives -- no matter how PAINFUL it may be? Jesus TRUSTED His Father, and that Trust resulted in the greatest BLESSING to Mankind that has Ever been. Shouldn't WE TRUST GOD just as Jesus did? Will not God BLESS us and others BECAUSE of the TRUST we have placed in Him? Is it not His Glory to BLESS those who put their TRUST (Faith) in Him? Isn't this a GREAT source of STRENGTH and COMFORT for us? Isn't this TRUST (Faith) that which allows us to have RESTFUL PEACE even in the midst of the worst Storms of our lives? Isn't this SAVING FAITH?
Have you ever thought that when you fail to Trust GOD you are really Trusting the DEVIL -- that you are really taking his side? Take count of the things that GOD has given you and take no thought of the things that the DEVIL has tried to take away! The Devil can have NO POWER over you except as you fail to TRUST IN GOD! EXERCISE your Faith --- TRUST IN GOD --- TRUST Him even in the face of everything that clamors against your ability to Believe that He is still in control and that He still cares about YOU! TRUST HIM over and over again in the midst of your circumstances and even in the midst of your DOUBTS! Away with the thoughts that He has forsaken you! Away with your perplexities and worries and cares! Away with the doubting words of others and the nagging temptations of the Devil! Away with ANYTHING that would come between You and your Loving Heavenly Father! Let the Devil be damned! TRUST IN GOD! Over and Over again, TRUST HIM, and SEE for yourself if your life doesn't CHANGE! See for yourself if you do not see perplexities vanish and a plain path before your feet! See for yourself if you don't find your anxieties and fears replaced with an abiding Joy and Peace! Trust Him, for He cannot fail you -- He has PROMISED!
"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.." (Prov. 3:5,6). "Trust in the LORD and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness" (Psa. 37:3). "Trust in the LORD forever, For in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock" (Isa. 26:4). "Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it" (Ps. 37:5).
If GOD be FOR US, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?...For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 8:31,38,39)
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