The Holy Scripture frequently speaks with emphasis on the importance of believers putting their trust in God. One would think that those who claim to believe in God will not have any problem trusting that God. But this is far from being common amongst profess believers.
But what is trust?
Trust is assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something. To trust is to place confidence in or rely on. To be confident is to be without any doubt. A feeling of trust in someone or something. A person’s confidence is to be placed or based on someone or something.
Do you have confidence?
What confidence do you have or on what is your confidence placed?
Do you have self-confidence?
You place your trust in yourself because you are good-looking and charm anyone to do whatever you want?
You are so rich that you assure yourself that whatever happens, you have enough starched that you will never lack any good thing of life?
You are so skilled in what you do that every commends you, want your opinion on everything as the admiringly call your “the expert no one can do without?”
You are good looking, your smile lights of the gloomiest places, everyone wants to be around you if only just to bask in showers of the light of your beauty?
You have so much wealth that were you to live a thousand years and spend millions daily will not put the lightest of dents on your pocket?
You are so powerful that everyone obeys you as they see you as some god who can do and undo?
You recognise puny wisdom and ability you have and hold unto God who has all wisdom, has the power of the unbreakable, whose will must be done in His creation, and who infinitely loves you?
One can on enumerating endlessly. But now you get the drift of where we are going.
Is your confidence in the ephemeral things of life or in the giver of all good gifts?
Believers make numerous decisions every day, many often without thinking. Situations often arise that challenge the confidence of the believer in Christ. The basis of decision-making is then called into question. And suddenly the usually self-assured person is not sure anymore! Worse still, whatever affects your confidence will affect your quiet (peace) and rest.
Believers in Christ are assailed daily by things and situations that challenge their faith, that attack the foundation of their faith, and usually in attempts to make their faith tumble over. Unfortunately, many times, without thinking deep enough, many give-in to such situations, stumble and before they realise it, they have lost their peace and quiet.
But how can this be when the foundation of the believer is the Lord Jesus Christ? (1Cor 3:11).
But of utmost importance is what happens when the believer is faced with issues or situations that are serious and that cannot be wished or prayed away immediately. What happens in a situation that cannot be wish away, and is such that if nothing is done, or if something is done wrongly, the consequences many be damaging? That is almost the time the person finds out that he is not as trusting in God as he had thought all along!
Why place trust in God?
The believer should place his trust in God because of who God is.
In the physical world people always have grounds or reasons for trusting in whatever they place their trust. Such would usually have an attitude of self-assuredness that may not even be supported by the object of their trust.
Trust is placed in such object of trust because of the perceived value as to what can be benefited by the one place his trust. Hence, trusting is not free but is more like a merchandise that seems to be on sale to the highest bidder. Unfortunately, such object of trust often prove to be unreliable if not outrightly deceitful.
But believers in Christ are on a surer ground if they place their trust in God.
But how many know why they should place their trust solely in God and nothing, no one else?
Not placing trust in humans is not suggesting that you should be suspicious of everyone around you or not relate to others. Rather, it is that you should let God be the ruler over your life by your daily lifestyle of trust and obedience to Him.
Who God is
The existence of God is assumed known by the creations of God. So, the Holy Scripture did not attempt to prove the existence of God. We know that God exists through what He has created as seen in Hid creation, and from the revelation knowledge He has given to man in His written word.
The believer’s trust in God should be nurtured by His revealed truth,
“19That thy trust may be in the Lord, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee. 20Have not I written to thee excellent things In counsels and knowledge, 21That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; That thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?” (Pro. 22:19-21).
And so, from God’s revelation knowledge in the Holy Scripture we know that:
- God created the heavens and the earth and everything in them (Gen 1:1; Ps 33:6; John 1:1-3; Col 1:16-17).
- He is the Almighty powerful God
- God is the only God and the one truly unique, (Isa 43:11; 44:6; 45:6).
- God is the only one who can save
- And His word is comprehensively powerful and effective (Ps 19:7-11).
“7The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. 8The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. 9The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever: The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. 10More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. 11Moreover by them is thy servant warned: And in keeping of them there is great reward.” (Ps 19:6-11).
There is a long list of those who placed their confidence in God in Holy Scripture. For example, King Hezekiah and the people of Judah were delivered from the onslaught of the overwhelming forces of Assyria (2Kgs 18:13-19:37).
However, our Lord Jesus Christ is the supreme example of someone who placed His confidence in the only true and living God.
As in all true things in biblical Christianity, the supreme example for every child of God is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Author and Finisher of our faith. He supremely trusted in His Father and was a faithful witness to His Father all through His earthly ministry.
Also, the pages of Holy Scripture are replete with many who while claiming to believe in God placed their confidence elsewhere: Judas Iscariot (Mat 26:14-16, 47-50) and Demas (Col 4:14; 2Tim 4:10) are examples.
Benefits of placing your trust in God
God has done so much good for His, and in particular, believers in Christ. Christians should therefore be willing to serve without asking for reward. But the reality is that many insist on benefits and oftentimes, benefits before service. While they may not ask openly, often in their mind is the question, “What will I gain or how does it benefit me?”
But thank God that He has not asked His people to seek Him in vain (Isa 45:19). God handsomely rewards His children for their trust in Him in diverse ways.
Placing one’s confidence in God presupposes the existence of a genuine relationship between the person and God. Ideally, such trust should not be rooted in desire for reward but rooted in the desire to be grateful for who God is and what He has done in salvation history for mankind.
How to demonstrate and express the placement of your trust in God
There are numerous ways of demonstrating one’s trust in God. Few of such include:
Demonstrate your trust in God through praise and worship
Throughout the history of the people of God praise and worship has always been a major way of expressing their trust in God. It is one means of expressing their gratitude to a saving and merciful God.
The Psalms are one enormous signpost to the central role of praise and worship in the life of the people of God during the Old Testament period. They are replete with numerous wonderful expressions extoling the lofty virtues of the God of all wonders, the only true and living God of not only Israel but of the whole universe.
Even the ungodly may acknowledge God when he sees His work. When king Nebuchadnezzar saw the miraculous deliverance of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego he praised the living God (Dan 3:28).
Demonstrate your trust in God through persevering in your faith
As we continue on the Christian journey of faith, the Lord Jesus Christ is our worthy example of perseverance in faith in face of adversity:
“1Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” (Heb. 12:1-3).
Christians are admonished further to,
“35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. 36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. 37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. 38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. 39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” (Heb. 10:35-39).
Demonstrate your trust in God through knowing and holding on to the promises of God
- God promises to never leave His own (Heb. 13:5).
- He promises to make things work out for your good (Rom 8:28).
- Nothing can separate the genuine Christian from the love of God which is in Christ (Rom 8:31-39).
The example of backsliding Judah
God spoke to the people of Israel who had turned away from His true worship were still claiming to be worshipping Him. Many had abandoned the true worship of the true God of Israel. And those who have not had a hodgepodge concoction of multitudes of gods with Yahweh the true God.
God spoke simply to them to remind them of what He had offered them even in their backsliding or apostate state:
“For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: And ye would not.” (Isa 30:15).
God offered them a great offer for their own good,
“In returning and rest shall ye be saved; In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength”, but God says “And ye would not”.
In other words, they rejected God’s offer and His way out for them and continued in their backsliding.
Notice the sequence of the offers made to them by God: “returning; rest; be saved; quietness; confidence; your strength. I believe the same offers are available to any believer who is in a backsliding state today.
So, let us take a closer look:
These people had a serious problem which was the consequence of their disobedience to God. They then compounded an already bad situation by going to Egypt to seek for help (Isa 30:1-2). This happened because their trust was not in their God.
Because they were in the wrong place (they had turned away from God), they took the wrong turn, went in the wrong direction and arrived in Egypt where all they could get would be the wrong counsel with which they would then make wrong plans which would in-turn push them deeper into more trouble.
But God did not leave them to drown in their problem. Rather, He offered them a simple solution, a solution so simple they might have laughed in the face of the messenger of God who delivered God’s message to them.
Is it not the same with the simplicity of the gospel?
The solution was, is, and will always be the same to every backslider:
This simply means repent. Repent of your wayward and unprofitable ways. Turnback from your idols and false worship. Stop ascribing evil to God. Stop loving sin and ungodliness. Come back to God with the desire to want to know and obey Him.
To rest is to settle down. To stay settled. Freedom from activity or labour.
They were to rest in God. They were to stay settled in God. They were to know, believe and rest in the truth that God was for and with them. If they rest in God, they will cease from fruitless and ungodly activities that will only worsen their situation. If they refuse the rest in God, they will only continue in the wrong direction that will take them deeper and deeper into enemy territory and rulership.
To be helped. To be accepted. To be victorious. Remember this was referring to people of God. Though they were in the backsliding state, they were still the people of God. Hence, it is not about their salvation but their restoration to good relationship with their God.
If they repented and returned to, and rested in God, God will accept and save them. They will be delivered from their enemies and their troubles.
It is in repentance and rest that you will be saved.
To be at rest. To be at peace. To be settled in both spirit and body. The person who is in “quietness” is the one who in the midst of the trouble is so settled in spirit that he prayers fervently.
To trust. To cause to rely. While confidence is the state or quality of being certain, trust is the assured reliance on the character, ability, strength and truth of someone or something. The object of the confidence or trust or certainty is crucial.
The object of the trust should be God and not you or some other false god, for it should be obvious to all that only God has proven to be reliable and trustworthy to all His creation.
The quality or state of being strong. Power to resist force or of resisting attack. The force or power in comparison to others, with the focus on the majestic awe ascribed to the one possessing this power. Your power to of resisting attack.
This combination of returning, resting, quietness and confident trust brings us believers in Christ into a freedom we have not had whilst trusting other things. It brings the Christian into victory and secures that victory.
When we follow God, His voice come to us from the front loud and clear. But when we turn aside from following Him, the voice of God recalling us comes from behind (Isa 30:21), for instead of us following, He now pursues us as the lost sheep the shepherd seeks to find and save.
One cannot be quiet unless one has confidence. And assurance is not based on optimism about your own abilities, but it is an inward peace based on God’s righteous work in you as His child.
This confidence is not self-confidence, for that would be false security and a reliance on something unreliable. For according to the counsel of the word of God,
“A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: But the fool rageth, and is confident.” (Pro. 14:16).
And so, God commands His own,
“23Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Neither let the mighty man glory in his might, Let not the rich man glory in his riches: 24But let him that glorieth glory in this, That he understandeth and knoweth me, That I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: For in these things I delight, saith the Lord.” (Jer. 9:23-24).
The foundation of true confidence
We find then that true confidence is based in its entirety on God.
- It is thus based upon the word of God (Acts 27:22-25), not on feelings;
- Upon Assurance of who God is (2Tim 1:12), an assurance that enables the believer to be sustained in trials and suffering (1Pet 4:19; Ps 10:14);
- Upon Trust (Pro. 3:5-6; Heb. 11:6), anything else leads to ruin (Heb. 3:17-19);
- Upon the Promise of Christ (Phil 1:6), of who we are told,
“24 but this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” (Heb. 7:24-25).
The foundation of false confidence
False confidence needs to be guided against as its presence can be so subtle as to be difficult to detect. False confidence is confidence based on anything else other than the living God.
Hence, false confidence could be based on numerous things some if which include:
- Profaning holy things buy misuse (Lev. 10:1-2; 1Sam 4:5-11; Dan 5:2-31);
- Presumption (Lev. 10:1-2; Num. 14:40-45 cf. Deut.1:43);
- Pride (1Sam 17:43-44).
- Personal position and power (Isa 30:12);
- Personal beauty (Ezek. 16:13, 15);
- Personal righteousness (Ezek. 33:12-13);
And such as put their trust in any personal endowment are considered to be fools (Pro. 28:26);
You should nourish your confidence in God
Trust (confidence) in God is not static. It is dynamic and grows. It grows through proper nourishment. We are commanded,
“let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Heb. 10:22).
“21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence towards God. 22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” (1John 3:21-22).
Hence, our trust in God is from God and also is nurtured by the means provided by our God.
You nurture and grow your confidence in God through feeding on His revealed truth, the Holy Scripture. The Christian is to desire the sincere milk of the word (1Pet 2:2). He is to do the word not just hear (Jam 1:22, 25). He is to grow spiritually through the use of the word (Jam 1:22; 1Pet 2:2).
As the Christian takes in the word regularly, he gets transformed, his mind gets renewed, the true new creature in Christ begins to show forth as his lifestyle begins to mirror biblical standards thus honouring and glorifying God.
Through regular prayer, sharing the gospel of Christ with others, putting into practice what is revealing to us in the word of God, we grow in our trust in God and are the better for it.
Trust in God is nurtured by the understanding of the revealed truth of God as revealed in Holy Scripture. Such trust in God finds expression in a life lived according to the purpose of God. However, there are those who place their trust in other people or things rather than God of which there are many examples.
I encourage you to put your trust in the only true and living God, Yahweh, God of Israel, the creator of the whole universe through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. My prayer is that He will receive and uphold you in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
There you have it. If on reflection you conclude you are in the backsliding state, please do not stay there. Arise and hid what the LORD commanded Israel and by extension, all backsliders,
“For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: And ye would not.” (Isa 30:15).
Again, notice the sequence of the offers made to them by God: “returning; rest; be saved; quietness; confidence; your strength.
Act now and the LORD will receive and restore you.
Please, note that all the above concerns believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Those referred to as born-again Christians.
To the unbeliever
But this has been about the believers in Christ. Those who have made peace with God through the propitiation of Jesus Christ. They are the one being exhorted to live true to their calling in Christ as they wait for His second coming.
But what if you are an unbeliever? What if Christ is not yet your Saviour and Lord? What if you are not yet born of the Spirit?
Then the above does not yet apply to you. You are yet outside the fold of believers in Christ. And you cannot be expected to please the Lord and to do things that are only possible with the enablement of the Holy Spirit.
Perhaps you are saying you what to be part of the wonderful people of God who are the disciples of Christ. You want an end to the enmity between you and God.
And having read this piece you see the possibility but are wondering how you can change your situation.
You are asking, “How do I come into the fold of believers in Christ seeing I do not yet know Christ?”
Truly, there is a way out for God has made provision for you too.
By becoming a born-again child of God as demanded and provided for by God:
The invitation has gone out to all human beings including you reading this piece.
Accept God’s verdict concerning human beings:
“All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). And that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
That is, in the opinion of God, we all fall short of His standard. Further, our sin has earned a deserved wage which is death or separation from God in hell.
But while we are still in our sin, God took the initiative to reconcile us with Himself as we are told:
“But God commendeth His love towards us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Yes, while we were all still in our sin, God showed His love for us by sending His only Son, Jesus Christ to die for us. God gave Jesus Christ to the whole world (John 3:16). So, all we need to do is to accept that Christ has died for our sin by standing in place of us.
We do this by doing what the word of God commands all would-be believers:
“If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10). “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).
Everyone who appropriates the sacrifice of Christ is acceptable to Him. And He Himself extended the invitation to all:
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30).
So, I encourage you to appropriate the finished work of Christ and confess Him as your Saviour and Lord NOW!
I prayer that God will accept you into His household through Christ in Jesus’ Name, Amen.