We are exhorted to trust God throughout Scripture. It is a biblical essential. A scriptural definition of trust in a single word is confidence, revealing that matters of trust toward God are inextricable of the term faith, a spiritual hallmark. My guess is that if you asked most Christians if they trust God or trust in him, they would say yes. But what does trusting God look like and how does one know they are confiding in him? That is my goal here, to envision it.
Trusting God is being a person of faith. Faith in God derives from hearing the words of God (Rom. 10:17), and the words of God explain what our reality is and ought to be. When things are not that way, we must look to God for change, whether we must prevail over something sinister or simply stand firm in a promise God himself made to us. Hebrews 11:1 offers us our most vivid definition of faith: “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” When we develop a life of confidence in God’s person, his ability, and his good intention for us, we will learn to rest in him and be unmoved by anything that would draw our attention from him.
Trusting God is being persistent in spiritual discipline. What is meant by spiritual discipline is the consistent practice of those classic disciplines, like prayer, meditation, and solitude, by which one draws near to God and is changed. The disciplines are nothing less than a refining fire when active in one’s life, and it doesn’t take much to practice them. This is so important now when the pace of life is fast and busyness prevails on everyone. The disciplines can act as one’s “tent of meeting” amid the noise and conundrum and so raise one above a reliance on themselves, their tasks and accomplishments, to keep them attuned to God’s voice and activity in their lives. Such is to daily rely on God for spiritual nourishment and to maintain a heavenward posture.
Trusting God is persevering in trial. I know many of us think trial is of the Devil, but God uses trial and the sequences of our lives to bring about his will. Remember these words: “Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (Matt. 4:1)—and these, speaking of the convert Paul, “But the Lord said to him (Ananias), ‘Go! This man is my chosen instrument…I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’” (Acts 9:15)? Perseverance will be necessary in completing God’s will for our lives. Further, perseverance is born of faith. James 1:4 explains, “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” It means that the person who wholly trusts God will allow faith to dictate how he endures trials.
Trusting God is waiting for his guidance. Sensitivity to God and his word is crucial because veering off course never comes with warning. It starts small and in undetected ways. Waiting on God’s timing will sometimes put us at odds with others, including other believers who don’t understand our faith and that we are marching to a different beat. Trusting God enough to wait for him means not accepting others’ permission to act where the Spirit hasn’t given us liberty to do so. But it means just what it means—to stand still and wait and be prayerfully patient and confident in the Lord’s purpose until he acts. Only then do we proceed.
Trusting God is serving without recompense. This is loving and giving and sharing, all while letting God keep accounts. It is doing good, as we’re exhorted in Psalm 37:3, without hoping for anything in return, or being intentionally selfless. Selflessness with others is righteousness that honors God and a statement of confidence in him to supply our own provisions. It’s a grand statement of faith, and we love these news stories when God turns his attention to bless the “blessor”. No act of kindness goes unnoticed by the Lord, and he promises to reward it (Matt. 20:4).
Trusting God is praising him. We magnify him above all things in life. We exalt and make him big in our own estimation, even when we are tempted to wonder where he is. We bow before his holy nature, his infinite wisdom, his good character, his loving grace, his glorious power. We sit and marvel at his attributes and that we belong to him, that he desires us and his affection is for us. Thus, we enter the eternal fellowship. Scripture shows us that praising God will change circumstances; most importantly, it will change us.