Issue: 2nd quarter 2015

Trusting and Pleasing God

Faith – Part 4

Trusting God is Important

Hebrews 11:6 is a significant verse: “And without faith it is impossible to please God…” (NIV84). The REV version says, “And without trust it is impossible to please him….” Why is it impossible to please God if we don’t trust Him? God created us, loves us, and wants the best for us. If we doubt that, we will doubt Him and not act on His commands or live the life He desires for us. We see this occurring every day in the lives of Christians who believe in God but who do not trust Him enough to overcome the fear or hesitation they have concerning His commands, and who consequently stop short of obeying Him. For example, when it comes to prayer, many Christians know God commands us to pray, but they don’t pray. They don’t trust God enough to obey Him rather than their feelings. Although this can be due to negligence or selfishness, it is often a trust issue.

If we do not trust God, we will doubt salvation through Jesus Christ, and we will not be able to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength as He commands us to. It is not strange that God is not pleased with those who don’t trust Him. After all, He has proven Himself to be trustworthy.

Belief in God is Not Trust in God

It is possible to believe in God without trusting Him. James 2:19 (REV) shows the difference: “You believe that there is one God. You do well. The demons also believe—and shudder.” Demons know God exists, but they don’t trust Him. That can happen to Christians too, but we should do what it takes so that our belief in God becomes trust in God. Trust develops because we come to believe the person is trustworthy and are convinced that they are reliable. This almost always comes from having a personal relationship.

There is nothing magical about trust. Trust is built over time. Personal relationships can start with a certain level of trust, but eventually the trust will have to grow from more and more personal interactions or understanding. Every relationship comes to the point where further trust is built by personal experience. God knows that we need to trust Him to please Him, and thus, He does things that help build our trust in Him. God acts to draw us near to Him. He is trustworthy and faithful in all His ways, and as we study His Word and obey it and enter into a personal relationship with Him, our trust in Him naturally grows.

Trust is Easily Destroyed

Although trust is typically built slowly over time, it can be destroyed very quickly. Someone can lie to us or hurt us in some way, or even just be unreliable or do things that do not make sense to us, and our trust in them is weakened or destroyed. That is why most ancient people were never required to trust their gods. The Greek and Roman gods were not trustworthy and did not demand that people trust them; they were deceitful, jealous, unpredictable, cruel, and even rapists and murderers. They were powerful and lived by the rule of “might makes right,” so they demanded worship—and if they did not get it, they sought vengeance against those who spurned them.

The God of the Bible is totally different from other gods. One of His great attributes is that He is trustworthy, so there are many verses that tell us to trust God. Psalm 4:5 (KJV) says, “Put your trust in the LORD.” God is trustworthy, and He keeps His promises. In fact, our God is unique among other gods because He makes specific promises and then is faithful to keep them.

Satan’s Attack on Trusting God

Satan knows how important it is that believers trust God and how harmful it is when they do not. God is a “team player” and desires for us to partner with Him in laboring in His kingdom. He has decided to do much of what He accomplishes on earth by working with people who trust Him. Satan knows that, so he uses many different strategies and wages a continual war to make God seem untrustworthy. Satan knows that if he can get a person to think God is untrustworthy, then the battle is won. If a person believes God is evil or unreliable, then he will not trust God.

God is loving and good, and any so-called doctrine that makes Him seem otherwise is misrepresenting the biblical depiction of the Almighty God and should be closely examined. [For more on Satan’s influence in the world today, see commentary on 1 John 5:19. For more on how mistranslated verses can paint God in a bad light, see commentary on Romans 8:28. For more on God not causing sickness, death, and disasters on earth, see Don’t Blame God, published by Spirit & Truth Fellowship].

Pleasing God is the Goal

Material success should not be the goal of our lives—finding the will of God for our lives must be of supreme importance. One of the reasons it is vital that Christians learn the Bible well is that we have to be careful what we ask for. If we set our hearts on getting things that are against the will of God for us, we may end up in frustration and doubt, or sometimes a demon will bring us what God will not, but it will bring lots of other consequences and baggage as well.

God wants us to have our needs met, but that is different from having wealth and power. God knows if we persistently ask wrongly it can leave us disillusioned or even allow a demon into our lives, so He warns us over and over against setting our hearts on material things.

  • 23:4 (NIV84): “Do not wear yourself out to become rich; be wise enough to restrain yourself.”
  • 28:20 (NIV84): “A faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished.”
  • Luke 12:15 (REV): “…be on guard against every form of greediness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things that he possesses.”
  • 1 Tim. 6:8-10 (REV): “…if we have food and covering, we will be content with that. But those who are determined to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and hurtful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, which some, reaching out for it, have been led astray from the Faith and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
  • 13:5 (REV): “Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have.”

Conclusion

As stated at the beginning of this article, pistis is a common Greek word and in phrases such as “pistis in Christ,” it means “trust.” The word “faith” has been so misused in the Church and in culture that it may take some time for our minds to adjust to the idea that a proper translation of pistis is “trust,” and we will understand the Bible much better when we think in terms of “trust,” not “faith.” When we properly understand that our part is to trust God, not “make” things happen by our “faith,” many good things happen. God becomes our Hero because He is the One who makes things happen—not us; we become more peaceful because we are not worried about how much “faith” we have when things we want don’t happen; we pray more because God says to “pray for” what we need and want; we become more thankful for the miracles and healings we do see instead of defeated about the ones we don’t see, in large part because we know they are due to God’s love and grace; we accept, and strive to endure through, our trials and tribulations, knowing that God says there will be troubles in this fallen world; and the Hope of the Next Life burns brighter in our hearts because we know it will be much better than this life.

God is trustworthy, so we trust Him. Our trust does nothing in and of itself; the power to do mighty things comes from God. God keeps His promises and does what He says He will do. He is the Hero. Let our trust be in Him.

About the author

John W. Schoenheit

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