Did you bring a sister with you? We hope you have your journal too. Because it’s time to talk about Trust.
We spent last week studying aspects of God’s character which make Him trustworthy. Begin today with a prayer of praise. Use the attribute of God that means the most to you when it comes to placing your trust in Him. If your with a group (defined by two or more) praise Him out loud in one accord conversational prayer. If you are solo today and in a place where you can pray out loud. Praise on.
The first faith action we talked about was Believe and the five foundational rocks of what we believe:
- We believe in one Holy God, a Triune Being — Father, Son & Holy Spirit.
- We believe God is God and there is no other — He is who He says He is.
- We believe we are sinners in need of a Savior.
- We believe Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is our Savior — crucified for our sins, in His sinlessness He was resurrected, and when we accept His gift of salvation we are brought back into right relationship with God.
- We believe God wrote a book, the Holy Bible, a living Word through which we come to know Him and receive guidance, wisdom, and knowledge by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Saying we believe is not enough. Knowing what we believe is not enough. We must believe with our heart. When we believe with our hearts we will act on our beliefs. Belief in action is trust. Trust is a major building block of faith. Our actions show where our faith lies.
Trust — Why It’s Important
Read: Matthew 7:24-27
God’s Word tells us trusting Jesus is the only sure place to build our lives. The only place that will stand up during a storm.
If Jesus represents rock, what represents sand? What are the things of this world we tend to trust that will give way?
What have you placed your trust in that caused (or causes) your life to be shaky?
My husband. I used to trust my husband to keep me safe and secure. To make good choices in his driving and when to get off the lake when a thunderstorm loomed on the horizon. This made for many anxious times that drove a wedge between us. I placed my trust in him, but he wasn’t trustworthy. Eventually God revealed the problem: me. I was placing my trust in the wrong person. My husband can’t keep me safe. Only God can. I was placing my husband in the position only God was to hold.
By accepting God as trustworthy and bigger than my husband’s driving or discernment. My life became much more secure, steady. Because I was trusting in the One who could truly keep me safe instead of an idol with feet of clay.
Where are you in your trust with God? Do you trust Him more than you did a year ago? five years ago?
Personal experience is the primary way we will build a trusting relationship with God, but we also talked about how others in our community of faith can help us trust God from their personal stories.
Do you depend on other people’s experiences to determine where to place your trust? What has been your experience with seeking advice from others when it comes to trust?
I have a weakness when it comes to trusting others. In my life I have trusted too much. So when the discussion with my sister came up on trusting others, it went something like this…
Her: How do you find out if you are going to like a product? Don’t you ask others?
Her: Don’t you read reviews or Consumer Reports?
She continued to ask questions that led me to realize a couple of things. First, it takes me years to develop trust when it comes to faith. You see, I’ve been one of those people whose been sucked in by those I deem more “spiritual” than me. It is not that I believed every word they said, but more like I viewed my own spirituality as inferior. I’m ashamed to admit, it is actually a form of idolatry. I went to them first instead of God which was a recipe for disaster.
Second, getting others opinions on people or things feels like gossip for me and it can skew my entire perspective. I witnessed this just recently in my life. Someone close to me began a relationship with another. Many wanted to give me their opinion of the situation… tell me what they thought. I decided quickly not to hear any of it. Not because they were not trustworthy, it might have been true information but I don’t think it was how God wanted me to make decisions in this situation. I’ve learned the hard way. I have to trust God first… go to Him first… allow Him time to answer when I seek Him. When I do, not only does He answer, He often gives me confirmation through someone or something.
We’ve established that people are not good, but we can always trust…
God is Good
If God is good and in control: Why do bad things happen to good people? This question troubles many. It’s even used by atheists to make people doubt the existence of God. For Believers this question sends many of us into a series of “ummms” and “errrrs,” eventually leading to an: I don’t know. It is something uncomfortable about our faith. Reconciling an almighty good God in a broken world.
We live in a secular world where good should only bring health, wealth, prosperity, and happiness. Why do bad things happen to those who love Christ? And where is God in all the turmoil?
Read: Psalm 10:14
Do not underestimate God. He is in control of all things and His purpose is good. He desires to move all people into a close, committed, trusting relationship with Christ.
God sees trouble and grief. The Hebrew word ra’ah translated as see in Psalm 10:14 means not only to observe but also intellectual seeing (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words). God understands trouble and grief. Through Jesus He has personal experience. He knows what difficulties do in our lives.
Ra’ah can also refer to looking after or supervising something (Vine’s). God supervises, selects, the trouble and grief that come into our lives. This disturbing concept does not sound good. But we must remember who God is, His abilities. The Almighty, All-knowing, Sovereign Lord chooses difficulties tailored just for us. Does He create trouble? No! But He allows trials to grow us up in Christ Jesus.
What does the Bible say about how God works to fulfill His purpose in our lives?
- Isaiah 48:10
- 1 Peter 1:6-7
- James 1:2-4
Trouble, grief, trials, afflictions. In God’s economy they have a purpose and it is all good.
Consider the seasons when you have been drawn closer to God. What were they?
The story of Joseph, Jacob’s son, is a clear picture of God using unjust trials in a life to bring about good. Not only for Joseph, but for all His people. (Genesis 37, 39-50).
At the end of Joseph’s story his father is dead and Joseph’s brothers are panicking that in the absence of their father Joseph will finally seek revenge for the harm they had done to him years earlier. What Joseph says reveals the depth of his trust in God.
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. — Genesis 50:20 NIV
We can see Joseph as a foreshadowing of Jesus who ultimately suffered the greatest injustices in order to make the way for many more to be saved.
We need to learn to trust God as good, even with what we perceive as bad.
God Knows Best
We can trust God’s ability to help us in any situation imaginable. But do we? Do we trust Him to use His abilities as He chooses?
How do you feel when God doesn’t come through in a situation the way you think He should? The way you hoped He would?
Sometimes we think we know exactly how a situation needs to be handled. We may even take things into our own hands. When we do this, we put more trust in ourselves than in God.
Let’s look at what God says about those who trust themselves.
Read: Proverbs 28:26
We have learned wisdom comes from fear of the Lord (Psalm 111:10). When we have a proper respect for His power and abilities and willingly trust Him with them, then we are walking in wisdom.
In the book of Daniel, the testimony of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego gives us a great picture of all out trust in God (Daniel 3). They understood and trusted God’s ability and His authority to use His power however He chose. They feared God and God alone. During the exile, they served as administrators over the province of Babylon under the rule of King Nebuchadnezzar. At one point, the king set up a large golden idol in Babylon and commanded everyone to bow before the idol. Those who didn’t would immediately be thrown in a fiery furnace.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego would not bow. The king was furious and had them brought before him. He gave them a final ultimatum: fall down and worship or be thrown in the blazing furnace.
In the face of death, these three men gave a stunning answer to the king.
Read Daniel 3:16-18 to hear what they said.
They trusted God with their lives. They trusted His ability to save them and they trusted His decision to save them or not. This kind of complete trust in God is what keeps us at peace in an unpredictable and untrustworthy world.
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
Isaiah 26:3 ESV
Do you have the faith and trust to pray, Your will be done? (Matthew 6:10)
It took me a long time to come to a place where I could comfortably pray: Your will be done. I always imagined that God’s will would be the worst thing. The hardest thing. Only by praying it and learning to trust and obey, have I come to the point I gratefully pray: Your will be done.
I would love to say I pray, “Not my will but yours” without trepidation. But, I’m just not there yet. I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Something bad to happen to destroy all the good. I mean take a look at Jesus praying in the garden, it didn’t look too promising. I don’t believe Jesus knew the future, what would happen step by step. He was full of sorrow and grief. And I’m often the same way when I pray His will above mine. It means letting go of my way, accepting whatever may come. Trusting Him may never take away my angst, and that’s OK. Faith is continuing to trust in spite of how you feel.
He alone has the perfect answer to any problem, even before we ask. Learn to trust God’s abilities, including His ability to know when to act and when not to.
Relying on God’s Strength
Read the introductory verse to Day 4 out loud. You’ll find it below:
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Is there a place in your life where you trust in your own strength or that of the world? Have you thought about what would happen if it failed?
Our strengths — physical, emotional, intellectual — are not only inferior to God’s but they are temporary. Our bodies and minds will fail, they wear out or become diseased, they are not meant to last.
When we become Christians we gain access to His perfect, eternal strength through trust. God expects us to trust in His strength.
Read: Matthew 18:3-4
Jesus calls us to become like little children. What strengths do children have? physically? intellectually? emotionally? politically?
None. They are physically small and weak. They possess little knowledge. Their emotions are fragile and totally transparent. They have no influence in the world or even their community. They are weak… and dependent.
Do you have trouble thinking of yourself as a dependent child with all their weaknesses? Explain.
The world tells us to hide our weaknesses, strive for power, wealth, beauty and strength. God calls us be like children, dependent, transparent and full of trust so He can be our strength. We must come to the point where we realize, in the great, cosmic, universal perspective of God, we are nothing apart from Him.
Truth and Consequences
Truth has consequences. Accepting truth leads to life. Rejecting truth leads to hell.
Has the influence of relativism (rejection of the idea of moral and spiritual truth) crept into your thinking and life? How?
Where do you go when you are seeking truth?
God is all about truth.
Read: John 4:23-24
Worship of God is based on truth. What does it mean to you to worship in spirit and truth?
There are consequences for rejecting truth.
- Romans 2:8
- 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10
In a culture where truth is relative, how can we help others know the truth and be saved?
God is true, He is real, He is holy. Because God is who He is, there are eternal consequences for rejecting His truth.
Truth, strength, ability, character. We’ve looked at these aspects of trust and how they relate to God.
After this week of study, are you willing to trust Him in an area of your life where you haven’t before? where? with what?
Whether or not we like it, people are watching us. They see us go to church, hear us profess to be Christians, and they watch to see if we are different. Is our faith evident in our life? Do they see us trust what they cannot see or understand? We are witnesses for the truth of Christ.
We pray this week of study has emboldened you, encouraged you to take new steps of faith based on trust in God. May each of us be like the psalmist who penned:
I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him. —Psalm 40:1-3 NIV (emphasis added)
To wait patiently means we trust Him to show up.
Trust God’s character, ability, strength, and truth. Trust what He’s doing in your life. Others are watching. What others see as a product of our trust is obedience.
Next week our faith action is: Obey.
Father God, increase our trust in You. Free us from fear and our own understanding. Open us up to the truth of Your goodness, grace, love, and knowledge. You do know best. Grow us to trust You with our lives and the lives of our loved ones. In the character of Jesus! Amen.
Have a great week.