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How Do I Trust God?

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It is easy to tell someone in a tough situation to "trust God."  But how can I keep these words from becoming a trite pat on the back? Can you describe what that looks like?  Can you tell someone "how" to trust God in a given situation?    Let's take a moment and explore what God says trusting Him looks like, and what He says will happen if you trust Him.  Allowing God to tell you what "trusting in Him" looks like will both encourage and challenge you.  

 Famous verses for trusting God include Proverbs 3:5-6:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. (Pro 3:5-6 NAU)

 But, if you are an obtuse brick like me, you might need some more specifics.  So take a moment to read all of Proverbs three.                      

 In Proverbs 3, there are several “do not…” statements.  In the struggle to trust, I need guideposts and guardrails.  Guideposts point me in the right direction.  Guardrails keep me from wandering off the path.  By looking at these “do not…” statements, these guardrails, we will see what walking in the path of trusting in God looks like and they will become guideposts to follow.

1.) Don’t forget God’s teaching (Prov. 3:1, 21).

 Read your Bible.  We forget God because we don’t read the Bible.  The Bible is what God chose to communicate his truth to you.  “It is the flashlight by which you can explore any field.”  It is God’s yard stick.  Faith fails because we forget God and forget who we are.  Faith fails when you live by your own ideas instead of by God’s. Trusting God can be difficult when we are at a loss, confused or uncertain.  The Bible is full of God’s knowledge for your life.  Keep reading it, and you will have what you need for those difficult times—they won’t seem so difficult when you know what to do and whom to trust.

 2.) Don’t let love and truth leave you (Prov. 3:3).

Trusting God requires being faithful but not forceful.  The word “love” used in this verse is the same word God uses to describe his love for you.  It is loyal, and does not give up.  At the same time, it is kind and compassionate.  Trusting God with people can be difficult.  Sometimes the truth must be spoken, but it can be rendered useless without kindness and love. 

 3.) Don’t depend on you (Prov. 3:5, 7).

 Faith fails because I think I can handle it.  Faith in self is the beginning of many troubles.  There is only one God, and turning to him in EVERY situation is vital.  God is in the business of making crooked paths straight.  Verse six says to “know” him in all your ways.  One translation says “think” about him in all your ways, while another says “submit”.  Peter did not walk on water because he focused on himself.  The storm did not refine him or give him power.  It distracted him.  Only Jesus saves and empowers. 

 4.) Don’t reject God’s discipline and training (v.11).

Trusting God involves a new way of seeing every event in life. We understand that nothing is out of God’s control.  We also understand that a loving parent trains his or her kids.  It is the same with God.  You understand that every difficulty is used by God for your good.  God might be growing your faith, training your ability, or he may be confronting a sin in your life. 

 5.) Don’t fear when bad things suddenly happen (v.25).

Trusting in God, learning from the Bible, and understanding that God is in control for your good, teaches us not to be surprised when bad things happen.  You are able to explain why evil exists in the world, that it is the result of sin and rebellion.  When evil does happen, your knowledge and understanding of God become a foundation that keeps you from being shaken. You understand why the Bible calls God your Rock, your Strong Tower, your Refuge and Shelter.

6.) Don’t withhold good from whom it is due, when you are able (Prov. 3:27-28).

Trusting God might involve giving what you have to others.  It might involve doing something for others.  God doesn’t ask the impossible, but that you believe he can do the impossible.  Difficult times tempt us to hold onto what we have a little tighter, but God challenges our grip on this world.  Eyes of faith see possessions and abilities as being God’s.  He gives to you so you might give to others.  We trust in God, not in stuff or in our abilities.  Are you willing to give?

7.) Don’t be envious of others (Prov. 3:29-30, 31).

Seek to be content with what God has given you.  When you find yourself looking at your neighbor’s stuff or situation in life, you may be tempted to feel sorry for yourself.  The next temptation will be to chase after stuff God has not given you.  Your heart may be filled with jealous resentment against your neighbor.  It only gets worse.  Trusting in God in hard times requires being on guard against envy.  Take some time to remember what God has done for you, and then thank Him for it.  It is so easy to forget!

We need guardrails and guardposts in this walk of faith.  When you are told to “trust God” in any given situation, remember that it is not just a trite statement.  It is your life.  And when you have the opportunity to encourage someone else to “trust God,” communicate this truth in a loving way.  Spend some time and listen, and then gently point him or her to the One who loves us so much, at all times, and in all circumstances.

Posted by Joshua Holland with 0 Comments

8 Reasons Why Christians Don’t Spend Time With God (and 8 tips to help)

Never before have we been able to access the Bible like we can today – paper, audio, phone, tablet, computer, TV, even on your watch!  And yet, according to the Bible Society, only 14% of Americans are engaging with God’s word on a daily basis, while 83% of Americans profess to be Christians.

This statistic blew me away, and it reveals the awkward contradiction that many Christians know far too well:

  1. We believe that time with the Lord is important,
  1. We don’t spend much time with the Lord.

I confess that too often I fail to spend daily time with the Lord, and as I talk to others about it, I realize more and more that I am not the only one.

And I’m trying to understand why.  Why do we spend so little time with the Lord?

Reason #1: We don’t want to.

John Piper has a very blunt reason for why we don’t read the Bible.

“The reason we don’t read the Bible is because we don’t want to read the Bible.”

 According to Piper, if we wanted to do it, we would.  And there’s some truth in that, isn’t there?  We are driven by desire, and we often don’t desire God.

 Tip #1

 Ask God to give you a hunger for Him.  Ask God to help you to want Him.  Isn’t that a prayer that God would love to answer!

  

Reason #2: It’s difficult.

 G.K. Chesterton once said:

“Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.”

This could be adjusted to say:

“Regular time with God has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.”

 

 Tip #2: A 5k run is difficult when you don’t run very often.  This is why plans like ‘Couch to 5k’ are so helpful.  They slowly, but steadily increase the difficulty, where the pain increases ever so slightly, until you realize one day that you’ve just run 5kms!  The pint of all this is simply: start small.  Just spend 5 minutes a day.  Just read one chapter.  Just pray for one thing.

Reason #3: We don’t plan to.

 Don Carson said:

 “Much praying is not done because we do not plan to pray.”

If you don’t have a plan to spend time with God it’s probably not going to happen.  This was definitely true for me.

Tip #3: Schedule an event in your calendar for “time with God.”  It could be during breakfast, before bed – whatever works for you.

Reason #4: We don’t think it makes any difference to our lives.

 Shortly after I graduated high school I asked a friend of mine why we don’t spend time with God.  He had a very blunt response:

 “We don’t think it makes any difference.”

 If the benefits were clearer we might act differently.

 Tip #4: Ask God to show you how much you need him.  And read Psalm 1 – It’s a beautiful picture of what it looks like to constantly meditate on God’s word.

Reason #5: We’re easily distracted.

 When I was at Multnomah I conducted a survey for one of my classes, I surveyed 300 Bible college students and this was one of the questions I asked:

 “What is the biggest obstacle preventing you from spending (more) time with God?”

 44% of the students who responded to my survey said “I’m easily distracted.”  This was the biggest obstacle ahead of busyness (32%).

 Social Media has to be a factor in this.

 Tip #5: Turn off and remove all distractions (especially electronic ones).

 Reason # 6: We forget we’re engaged in a spiritual battle

Too easily we forget that the war has been won but the battle still rages.  And this battle:

“…is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.”  Ephesians 6:12 (HCSB)

Without the full armor of God we cannot stand.

 Tip #6: Read Ephesians 6 and be reminded of what we’re up against, and the resources at our disposal.  And “Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.”  Ephesians 6:18 (HCSB)

 Reason #7: We are unclear about the purpose of this time

There is often confusion about the purpose of spending time with the Lord.  If someone were to ask you “Why do you spend time with the Lord?” what would you say?  When I was conducting that survey I mentioned earlier, some students said it was out of duty.  But there was one response that stood out.  One student simply answered:

“Because He is wonderful.”

This quote from George Mueller has helped me – remembering that it is about relationship and the good of my soul.

“The first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was to have my soul happy in the Lord.  The first thing to be concerned about was… how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man might be nourished…”

Tip #7: The next time you spend time with the Lord, tell yourself why you’re doing it – be clear on the purpose, and let that purpose guide you.

Reason #8: We’re discouraged by past failures.

 

I have tried and failed new devotional habits at least a dozen times.  Each time I try to start again, there is a part of me that thinks “You failed last time, what makes you think this time will be any better?”  It’s hard to get going again.

 Tip #8: Praise God for His unfailing faithfulness.  “Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end.  They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!”  Lamentations 3:22-23 (HCSB)

 

Posted by Rodney DeJager with 0 Comments

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