At the root of faith is trust. Faith cannot be built without trust anymore than a water molecule can be built without hydrogen. Trust is a key element in the formation of faith. In the New Testament faith, belief and trust all come from the same root word. They are practically interchangeable.
In the Garden of Eden the serpent’s strategy for bringing about disobedience was to promote mistrust. Before Adam and Eve ever partook of the forbidden fruit they began to question whether or not God really had their best interests in mind. They began to question their trust in Him. The enemy does not need to get you to lose your faith. He only needs to get you to lose your trust.
We have a tendency to focus on obedience. Obviously, obedience is important. However, obedience does not come before trust. Obedience comes because of trust. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Obedience happens because we love God, and we cannot love Him unless we trust Him. What did Jesus say to His disciples just before the verse above? He said, “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14:14). Can you hear what He was saying to them? Trust Me!
I recently read an interesting observation: Before God gave the Israelites the words to obey on Mt. Sinai, He first made spectacular attempts to win their trust in Egypt. The foundation of their faith was not the commandments on Mt. Sinai. The foundation of their faith was the trust that they gained in their deliverance from Egypt (see Deut. 6:20). Can you hear Him again? Trust Me!
The sin in the Garden of Eden is the same sin that has taken place in the garden of each of our hearts. We did not lose the battle over obedience. We lost the battle over trust. When we distrust God we ultimately end up disobeying Him. Once trust is lost obedience does not stand a chance.
Yet, we have this spectacular picture in the New Testament. God did not leave us in our pitiful state. He actually came down and became one of us, lived among us. If that were not enough He chose to come not in royal splendor. Rather, He chose to come and serve us. If that were not enough He chose to come and die for us. There was much more in this mind-boggling display of love and humility than the remission of sins. He could have declared us innocent from His throne in Heaven. However, He wanted to do something more. He wanted to say something that many thought they would never hear again. He wanted to whisper loudly to us. Can you hear Him calling? Trust Me!
I do not know what it is that has stolen your trust right now, but perhaps analyzing that is not really how God wants to win your trust today. Perhaps he wants you to take the leap. We call it a leap of faith. But all of us know that more than faith, it is really a leap of trust. He is calling all of us to trust Him more today. But don’t trust me. Just listen. Can you hear Him calling? Trust Me!
Everything you say sounds good, but I don’t really think I can agree with all of it. I think there are plenty of people who have faith in God but who do not trust Him or don’t trust Him completely. Just so I don’t have to write a ton of material to support my statements, here’s what I have to say about faith vs trust.
I’ll admit to having trust issues with God, but then I have trust issues in general (it’s a long story). I realize the fault is in me and I’m trying to work on correcting it, but I fear it will be a lifelong process. I also don’t think that in order to love someone, you must trust them, or at least trust them completely. You may love your spouse, for example, but be aware your spouse has areas where they cannot be trusted, such as correctly balancing the checkbook. Or your spouse may be an alcoholic and you know you cannot trust your spouse around booze.
The point is, there are a number of statements you made and expressed as absolutes where indeed, there are exceptions. Of course, God does not suffer from deficits, so we cannot say that He is untrustworthy. But if we trust Him with our health, safety, families, and our very lives and then our five year old son acquires cancer, suffers, and dies, what happens to our trust in God?
I understand what you are saying, I just don’t think that trust is as easy as falling off the proverbial log.
Great article you posted, James. Perhaps my statement in the beginning about faith, trust and belief was misleading. The post is really more about the relationship between trust and obedience than trust and faith. So, it was more of an encouragement to, as you put it, get in the wheelbarrow.
Your post focuses on the Hebrew word. My statement about faith, trust and belief is a reference to the Greek words. They’re strikingly similar (pistis and pisteuo). However, there are six Greek words for trust. So, yes, trust is a little more complicated and nuanced than just taking the leap, especially if you are dealing with deep-seated trust issues. But for those who need a simple nudge I think that the post still speaks truthfully. For others it will not be enough. Thanks for the great feedback.
It’s probably just my nature, but for me, there’s nothing simple about a relationship with the Creator of the Universe.
James, I would say yes AND no. Therin lies the great dialectical tension in God’s relationship with us. According to Jesus it’s pretty simple, “Follow me.” But because “the human heart is deceitful above all things” our following becomes quite complicated.
I think this is one of the many reasons I don’t go to church. I remember Pastors (this isn’t personal) giving their message from the pulpit, creating the image that a life of faith was totally easy and simple and like rolling off the log. No struggles. No conflicts. And if there were, it’s because it’s your fault. I suppose that’s one of the reasons I’m a tad more attracted to Judaism since, using Jacob and the angel as a template, one is expected to struggle with God. In Christianity, it seems as if the point is having all the answers. In Judaism, it’s all about asking the right questions and then struggling with the answers.
Yes, but I am not sure that is as much of a Christianity vs Judaism thing as a Western culture vs Eastern culture thing. Judaism has held it’s Ancient Near Eastern roots, where as Western Christianity has bought into Western philosophy. Within Eastern Christianity it is much more common to encounter the wide open spaces of paradox and contradiction. Western Christianity has tended towards tacit answers and absolute binary opposites, which results in a closed, fixed and rigid system of philosphical assertions. We have reduced our view of God until there is no mystery left.
If you are willing to look for it you might be surprised to encounter the rich, mystical tradition within Christianity that is marked by the very characteristics you used to describe Judaism. I am not unlike you. If I would not have found those streams I would of died in the desert. Many blessings on your journey, James.