Obedience to God is one of the most important ingredients to living a successful Christian life on earth. But since Scripture reveals that God does indeed test those He loves, what do you think the primary purpose is for His testing? Is it primarily obedience that He is looking for? I don’t think so. Looking at the sum of His word, I believe His main objective is TRUST. He wants us to develop and increase our trust in Him.
Why is trust so important? Because it reveals our estimate of God’s character. As an illustration, when Adam and Eve yielded to Satan’s temptation, their actions spoke louder than any words they might have uttered. They were saying in essence: “God is not dealing fairly with us. He is not just and loving. He is not to be trusted.”
The English definition for the word trust is: a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.
Satan is never far away from the believer when he or she is being tested by God. Before His earthly ministry began, Jesus was confronted by the devil several times.
Interestingly, in Spanish, the word for devil is diablo. This comes from the Greek translation diabolos (English devil) and it literally means “slanderer.” To slander someone means to defame ones character. This is important to know because this is Satan’s primary activity.
First and foremost, Satan defames the character of God Himself. Hence his original question to Eve: “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” Satan implied that God was unfair and unloving and that what God had said could not be trusted.
Satan implied that God was shutting Adam and Eve out from a “higher level” of knowledge which would open up to them if they tasted of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil. Satan’s goal was to undermine their trust in God’s goodness… when in actuality, God had already provided them with everything that was good, beautiful and delightful.
When Adam and Eve allowed mistrust of God’s goodness into their hearts, they moved first to disbelief in God’s word. Next, they took action that reflected their disbelief and lack of trust, by an act of disobedience. There were three stages in their fall: mistrust (intellect), disbelief (heart) and disobedience (action reflecting heart).
Through faith in the name of Jesus Christ, God has provided a plan that reverses the downward process of the fall. His plan of redemption replaces disbelief with faith, disobedience with obedience, and mistrust with trust.
Faith in God’s Word is what leads us to obedience in the first place. But the process is not complete until faith has evolved into trust. What is the difference between faith and trust? Faith is action that reflects what our heart believes. Trust is an attitude of choice.
I think a helpful illustration of the difference between faith as an act, and trust as an attitude, is provided in Psalm 37:5 (NKJV). “Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.”
To “commit” describes an act of faith. “Trust” describes a continuing attitude that follows the initial act of committing. After Committing and Trusting is accomplished, God takes over: and this verse says, “He will bring it to pass,” or “He will do it” (NAS).
A simple illustration might be purchasing a ticket on an commercial airline flight. You hand your money to the agent and receive a boarding pass and receipt. That is committing. After that, you don’t worry and fret about whether you’ll be allowed onboard the flight. The line may be long, the flight may be full, but if you are in possession of the boarding pass with a seat assignment, you just relax and know you have your assigned seat waiting for you.
You simply put the boarding pass in a safe place and relax near the gate. That is a simple example of trust.
Many Christians take the first step, an act of faith, but then they don’t maintain an attitude of trust. Many believers find it easier to trust in an airline boarding pass than to trust our God in heaven! As I’ve mentioned, a primary purpose behind God’s testing is to produce trust in us. God already knows our heart, but He desires to reveal our heart to us and help us develop what is missing.
Trust was developed in the life of Job. In the midst of all his trials Job affirmed: “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”
In addition, trust enabled Job to lift his eyes above the realm of time and to catch a glimpse of eternity and the resurrection: “For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!”
Let’s talk about the new birth as it relates to trusting God. Our salvation from sin is not complete until it has undone the effects of the fall and produced in us this level of trust. This may require us to go through many testings. It is vital that we do not lose sight of God’s end purpose: to produce in us an unshakable confidence in His absolute trustworthiness.
Jesus Himself has provided us with the most awesome example of trust. In fulfillment of God’s plan, He was handed over to wicked, cruel and godless men. They mocked Him, flogged Him, spat on Him, stripped Him and nailed Him to a wooden cross. Eventually Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Yet in all this – His trust in His Father’s faithfulness never failed. Then, with His last breath He proclaimed, “It is finished…” Jesus then yielded His spirit back to the Father in complete fulfillment of His purpose in coming to earth. Hallelujah!
What do we do when we are in the middle of His test? How do we respond if we cry out to God in prayer and He seemingly does not answer? Can we still trust His faithfulness?
God is more concerned with our character than with our achievements. Achievements are important but they do not trump character development. Achievements have importance in the realm of time only. Yet, character is eternal. It determines what we will be when we enter into eternity.
Remember, God will not permit us to be tested beyond what we can bear. He will not expect of us what He required of Jesus—perhaps not even what He required of Job. Nevertheless, every test we undergo is designed to mold our character until we have become mature, as His disciple, and become who God created us to be.
It reminds me of the prayer my grandfather prayer over me all my life. “Lord, help Dale become all that You want him to be.” I heard gramps pray that prayer a thousand or more times, and each time it challenged me to do exactly that… to become all that God wants me to be.
As you are going through your tests from the Lord, keep in mind that… “Blessed is the man who endures temptation [testing]; for when he has been proved [approved], he will receive the crown of life.” James 1:12.
With God nothing is impossible!
“I start crying just talking about god so I can only imagine how this guys emotions are! He actually saw our HOME!” – Smoothy
“Most excellent presentation. Thank you God in Jesus name! May we continue always to endure to the end and to worship you in spirit and in truth. Hallelujah!” – Becky
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