Have you ever wondered how to trust God, or what trusting God even looks like?
I struggle with trust – a lot. It’s hard for me to trust others. I believe this is because it’s so painfully challenging to trust myself at times. Yet the Lord continually whispers, “Trust Me.” I know I should, and I want to, but sometimes I’m not quite sure how.
As we’ve walked through the book of Luke to examine the examples Jesus gave of prayer (see additional posts here and here), we run smack into His pure, heartfelt trust of God the Father. Right there in Luke 22:39-42, as Jesus prepared to face the cross – the most gut-wrenching hours of His ministry – His prayer demonstrated whole-hearted, sold-out trust.
He went out and made His way as usual to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed Him. When He reached the place, He told them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” Then He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and began to pray, “Father, if You are willing, take this cup away from Me—nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.” (Luke 22:39-42 HCSB)
Jesus was about to experience torture as He lay down His life. It was not something He looked forward to, in fact, He prayed, “Father, if You are willing, take this cup away from Me”.
Have you faced something difficult – one of those things you could see coming and knew there was no way to dodge it? I’ll bet you prayed similarly to Jesus, such as . . .
“Lord get me out of this!”
“Rescue me, Father!”
or “Please, Lord, no!”
Rarely, I’d surmise, do our honest pleas for deliverance lead into proclamations of full and total surrender.
Jesus’s did. His next words are the most profound: “nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.” Jesus trusted God, His plan, and His purpose. The Son knew the Father’s will was best and would be fulfilled. And so, Jesus surrendered His own desires to the will of the Father. What a beautiful illustration of trust.
Trust rarely happens instantly. It comes through bonding and connection. It’s something typically earned rather than granted. The trust that Jesus displayed in the Garden of Gethsemane stemmed from a close-knit relationship with His Father.
As God’s children, we can reach that level of trust too – where if He asked that we give Him everything we would comply, knowing His ways are right, true, and best. Here are 5 points that lead to trusting Him more:
How to Build Trust in God
- Know the Word of God. As much as possible, spend daily time in God’s Word. Become familiar with its overall context and teaching. Meet God in the pages of the Bible and learn about His character. The Bible says:
- Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him (Proverbs 30:5, HCSB).
- Let Your faithful love come to me, Lord, Your salvation, as You promised. Then I can answer the one who taunts me, for I trust in Your word. (Psalm 119:41-42, HCSB)
When we know God’s Word, we naturally come to point two…
- Know God. As His nature and character are revealed by His Word, our eyes begin to see Him revealed in everyday life. In His Word, we discover:
- “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways.” This is the Lord’s declaration. “For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9, HCSB).
- For I know the plans I have for you,” – this is the Lord’s declaration – “plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11, HCSB).
- Those who know Your name trust in You because You have not abandoned those who seek you, Yahweh (Psalm 9:10, HCSB).
- Know our calling. Discovering the purpose God has for us while we are on the earth helps us adopt an eternal rather than temporal focus. Jesus said:
- “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent me.”
- You did not choose Me, but I chose you.I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you. This is what I command you: Love one another (John 15:16-17, HCSB).
- Know the Spirit. When we acknowledge Jesus as our personal Savior, the Holy Spirit immediately dwells within us. We have full access to His counsel and guidance. Sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s leading is key to trusting God. Scripture teaches:
- But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit – the Father will send Him in My name – will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you (John 14:26, HCSB).
- I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will place My Spirit within you and cause you to follow My statutes and carefully observe My ordinances (Ezekiel 36:26-27).
- Know your History. Remember trust is earned. When we look back at our lives and consider the way God has protected us and prepared us for a time such as this, our eyes are opened to His trustworthy nature. The Bible describes several occasions of remembrance, such as:
- Go across to the ark of the Lord your God in the middle of the Jordan. Each of you lift a stone onto his shoulder, one for each of the Israelite tribes, so that this will be a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ you should tell them, ‘The waters of the Jordan were cut off in front of the ark of the Lord’s covenant. When it crossed the Jordan, the Jordan’s waters were cut off.’ Therefore these stones will always be a memorial for the Israelites (Joshua 4:5-7, HCSB).
- And He took bread, gave thanks, broke it, gave it to them, and said, “This is My body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me (Luke 22:19, HCSB).
Trusting God: Decide and Do
Trusting God involves practical application… deciding and doing. It is surrendering to the will God knowing that He is for you. God is your ally, your advocate, your friend. Knowing that He is intimately involved with each and every situation you face, knowing that He is fulfilling His plan and purpose for you (and your loved ones), helps us to turn our back on fear and worry and turn wholeheartedly toward God and His ways. When we can say, “Not my will, but Yours, be done,” we know we are trusting Him.
Jesus modeled it beautifully in His prayer and He lived it out with His life. As we go and do the same, we’re sure to experience His peace and joy in ways we never imagined.