Unfortunately, I rarely can afford the real thing . . . I don’t wear designer clothes. My wedding ring contains the only diamond I own. My beauty regimen consists of cheap products from Target–no fancy name-brand cosmetics here.
There is one thing I cannot afford to have if it is counterfeit: Trust. Specifically, trust in God. I can’t afford fake trust.
I have tried fake trust before. It has looked like this: I encounter a trial. I say the appropriate Christian cliche to myself or others, “I trust the Lord.” Then, I quickly fall into worry, anger, demands to get my own way, hurtful responses towards those I love, and self-protecting solutions–all which compound my problems. Sound familiar? Probably.
The problem with this kind of trust is that it always fails. My faith falters. Peace eludes me. I make sinful choices. Why? This trust fails because regardless of what I say, the object of the trust is ME, and I will fail me every time. The object of my trust must be GOD, and GOD ALONE. Apart from Him, I will never walk wisely and victoriously through suffering.
Throughout the Scriptures, we see that biblical trust is active reliance on the one true God. Think of Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, and Ruth. Consider Samuel, David, Elijah, Daniel, and Esther. Remember Mary, John the Baptist, Peter, Mary Magdalene, Stephen, and Paul. These are just a few of those who have gone before us, walking wisely in this world by not trusting God merely with their WORDS, but with their ACTIONS. Their trust was genuine.
Genuine biblical trust is a combination of knowledge, belief, attitude, and action: Knowledge of the character of God, Belief in the truthfulness of who God is and what He is like, an Attitude of humble confidence in the Lord, and the Action of submitting to God’s care–“casting all your anxiety upon the Lord, because He cares for you.” (I Peter 5:7)
“So,” you may be asking, “HOW am I to ‘cast’ my cares on the Lord? HOW am I to respond to a trustworthy God? What does trusting God look like in every day life?”
To answer these questions, I encourage you to read and print the following list, and then put it somewhere you will see it regularly. When you find your mind wandering (or marching) down the path of worry and despair, turn around and follow this path of active trust as you “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (II Corinthians 10:5):
1. Acknowledge and believe the truth about God’s character. Recount the attributes of God. Remember His deeds of faithfulness throughout the Scriptures, in your own life, and in the lives of people you know. Literally list all the ways that He has been faithful. In prayer, begin thanking Him for who He is and what He has done. If in your distress you are unable to do this, pray the Psalms. “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
2. Confess your unbelief and lack of trust in Him. Admit to the Lord your lack of trust. Ask Him to forgive you for your unbelief, worry, fear, anger, etc. Find rest and comfort in His promise that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9)
3. Cry out to God for help. Ask your Heavenly Father for a steadfast heart that is loyal to Him despite your circumstances; “Unite my heart to fear your name.” (Psalm 86:11) Also, pray that He will move in your situation in very specific ways; “In everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
4. Rely on the encouragement that comes from Scripture. Read the Word. Listen to it. Memorize it. Think on it. You will be renewed as your mind is transformed by God’s Word. His promises are the lifeblood for strengthening your faint heart. If you are at the point at which you don’t know where to turn in the Bible, read any of the Psalms, stopping to think and pray through the verses that encourage you in your situation. “My soul weeps because of grief; Strengthen me according to your Word.” (Psalm 119:32)
5. Obey God’s revealed will in Scripture. If God has given a command or a principle in Scripture that applies to your situation, then obey it. Glorify the Lord in your life by doing what He commands. Accept God’s wisdom, even if it is hard or doesn’t make sense to you. Obey His Word, and leave the results to Him. “Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you will be My people, and you will walk in all the way which I command you, that it may be well with you.” (Jeremiah 7: 23)
6. Focus your attention on God and the eternal. Focus . . . refocus . . . and focus again. We are creatures of habit who often return to trusting ourselves and focusing on our troubles. If that is where you find yourself, walk again through this path of trust that I have outlined. Trusting God wholeheartedly takes practice! Direct your attention to the unseen: who God is, what He has done, His promises, His commands, His salvation, His glory that awaits you, and His very presence today. ”Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:2-3)
Fully trusting God in the midst of our troubles can seem like an impossibility, especially when our trials appear insurmountable and our own weaknesses seem over-powering. But, God does not command us to do anything that He will not give the grace, strength, and ability to accomplish. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)
Lean hard on Him. He will not fail you.
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