Learning To Trust God
God has promised to meet your needs. We see examples again and again, in scripture and throughout history, of God meeting emotional needs, financial needs, physical needs, spiritual needs, relational needs, and every other type of need that could arise.
One of the Hebrew names of God is Jehovah Jirah, which means: “I am the God who provides for you.”
Our God who meets our needs… It’s not just something God does but it’s actually who He is. It’s not just a way that He works, it is the way that He works.
Philippians 4:19 “My God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.”
“…all your needs.”
Practically speaking, what is the boundary of God’s provision in our lives? What are the needs that He has specified in this verse? All means all. God will meet all your needs.
But you look around and obviously not everybody’s needs are getting met. Why is that? Is He just saying something that sounds nice, but isn’t true? Why is it that some needs seem to go unmet?
The Bible says there’s a “faith factor.”
Matthew 9:29 “…according to your faith will it be done to you.”
According to your faith; according to your trust in God… So how can I learn to have greater faith? How can I learn to trust God more?
Although faith begins with a decision, building faith is actually a process. Much like exercising your muscles will give them the chance to grow in strength and endurance, our faith must also be exercised. The more you use your faith, the stronger it gets. And the stronger it gets, the more God is able to bless your life.
Choosing to go to the gym can be easily avoided. I think we all have our avoidance behaviors set for things we don’t want to do. But unlike going to the gym, you don’t have to go looking very far for the trials that will cause your faith to grow. You simply need to recognize that it’s an opportunity, choose to have faith, and walk forward with God’s guidance.
1 Peter 1:7 “These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure.”
So what are the common tests in life that can be used to grow our faith? And what should we be asking to set our direction in a way that produces faith?
Four Life Tests
1. The Pressure Test
The question is: “How will I handle stress?”
Will I depend on myself or will I depend on God?
Will I turn to God first or other things?
Psalm 50:15 “I want you to trust Me in your times of trouble, so I can rescue you and you can give Me glory.”
God says, I want you to turn to Me in your times of trouble. What we often do is turn to everything else first to relieve stress rather than turning to God.
You vent to your friends, lash out at your spouse, take pills, drink, shop, seek pleasure, watch TV, eat comfort food, or whatever else, all in an effort to relieve your stress and find some sort of emotional or mental tranquility. But you’re not wired for those things to be effective. You’re wired for God to be your source of peace and strength under stress.
You have legitimate needs in your life that need to be met. The problem is you’re impatient and you make up your own plan, you don’t choose faith first. We do this all the time. We short-circuit God’s work in our lives. We short-circuit God’s blessing in our lives by going for the quick fix, the cheap thrill, the instant hit, the quick relief. We choose our own methods, rather than having faith in God’s methods.
Jeremiah 2:13 “My people have done two evils: They have turned away from me, the spring of living water. And they’ve dug their own wells, which are broken wells that cannot hold water.”
One—Turning away from God.
Two—Trying to meet your own needs apart from God.
What’s worse is that we then ask God to bless us as we walk away from Him! We choose a way that is out of line from what God directs; we dig our own broken well, and then we ask God to bless us even though we’re arrogant enough to think we know better than Him in the first place.
We do this with relationships, jobs, living situations, and other areas that God doesn’t want for us or with things we shouldn’t pursue, then we say a prayer like “God, I know the Bible says to do something other than this, or that this isn’t right, but I’m asking you to bless me or protect me from consequences.” Of course we’d never come right out and say it like that, as if God doesn’t know the position of our heart, but that’s essentially where we go with things that are clearly out of bounds.
God is not going to bless the relationship that you’ve tried to force His hand with.
God is not going to bless the plans you’ve tried to force His hand with.
God is not going to bless the job or lifestyle you’ve tried to force His hand with.
God will bless your reliance on His word.
God will bless your consistency with His direction.
God will bless your dependence on His strength.
What’s the antidote?
Isaiah 50:15b (NLT) “If you are walking in darkness, without a ray of light, trust in the Lord and rely on your God.”
When you are under stress… are you going to turn towards God or away from God? Will you choose to trust that God knows best and has the ability to help you?
2. The People Test
The question is: “How will I handle disappointment?”
Sometimes things don’t turn out the way you intend. Careers don’t turn out the way you dream. Marriages don’t turn out the way you hope. Plans don’t turn out the way you plan!
The fact is that life is disappointing a lot of the time. Most of the time, big disappointments involve other people. And the biggest disappointments of all come when someone hasn’t met a need that you really should be relying on God for.
Many of you have thought…
If only I could get married, then I would be fulfilled and satisfied…
If only my wife/husband would change, then my problems would be solved…
If only my children were different, then I would be content…
If only I had different parents, life would have been a whole lot better…
People are not the source of issues in your life. Where you put your hope and confidence, and how you choose to respond to people problems, is the source of issues when it comes to the ‘people test.’
The answer to your insecurity is not another person.
The answer to your inferiority is not another person.
The answer to your worries & your fears is not another person.
The answer to your depression, despair & discouragement is not another person.
The answer to your sense of failure is not another person.
The answer to your meaninglessness in life is not another person.
The answer to your deep dissatisfaction is not another person.
The answer is God.
When you expect other people to be your savior, you’re setting yourself up for massive disappointment.
Isaiah 2:22 “You should stop trusting in people to save you, because people are only human.”
Jeremiah 17:7 “Blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made Him their hope and confidence.”
What happens if you put your trust in God?
Isaiah 49:23b “Anyone who trusts in Me will not be disappointed.”
If you are facing disappointment today, let it be a warning signal that your faith tank is empty; use it as a sign that you need to realign where you have placed your hope and confidence in life. If you want to avoid disappointment, trust God. If you want to experience His blessed, trust Him and place your hope and confidence in Him.
3. The Persistence Test
The question is: Will I keep my commitments?
Commitments will shape most areas of your life. Your character will be developed through the commitments you have made, for better or worse. Life is about making commitments.
The problem we have today is that most people are half committed to a dozen things instead of being totally committed to the few things that really matter for now and eternity!
If you’re going to develop maturity you have to learn to make and keep meaningful commitments. The hallmark of emotional and spiritual maturity is that you make and you keep eternally-centric commitments.
Maybe you are in the commitment test right now. You’re being tested to see if you’ll keep a commitment that you made, or if you will align your commitments with what God says is most important in life.
Ecclesiastes 5:4 “If you make a promise to God, don’t be slow to keep it. God is not happy with fools, so give God what you promised.”
What commitments have you made to God that you have failed to keep?
- Reading your Bible?
- Inviting a friend to church?
- Getting involved in a ministry?
Ecclesiastes 8:5 (LB) “The wise man will find a time and a way to do what he says.”
The wise person figures out a way to keep his or her commitments. The weak person cops out. The weak person says, “I made that commitment, but I’m not going to follow through on that one. Times and circumstances have changed.” Weak people give excuses. Wise people find the time and the way to do what they say they will do.
This is a test. It’s a test of your character and it’s a test of your faith.
4. The Priorities Test
You will have this one many, many times.
The priorities question is: What will be first in my life?
One of the great promises of the Bible deals with this test…
Matthew 6:33 “Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and He will give you all you need from day to day if you live for Him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.”
You have legitimate needs in your life…
You have financial needs.
You have emotional needs.
You have relational needs.
You have physical needs.
You have spiritual needs.
They are legitimate. They are real and really need to be met. And God has promised to meet every one of those needs—IF you put Him first in every area of your life.
Here are three questions to ask to find out if God is really first in your life:
- What do I think about?
When I have free time what does my mind wander toward? Whatever you think about the most is the most important thing in your life.
- Where does my money go first?
The Bible says, “Where your treasure is, that’s where your heart will be also.” Where your money goes reveals your priorities.
- How do I spend my time?
What you’re willing to make time for in your days reveals what you believe is most important. It’s not what you say, it’s what you do!
- Are you going through the pressure test? And are you turning to Him, or are you turning to other things to relieve your stress?
- Are you going through the people test? How are you handling a disappointment? Are you realizing that God is a loving God and He knows what’s best for you?
- Are you going through the persistence test? Are you keeping your commitments? And are your commitments aligned with God’s values?
- Are you going through the priorities test? What do you think about? What do you spend your money on? How do you spend your time?
Some of you are saying, “I don’t think I’m going to pass this test. I’m tired, worn out, weak, and fatigued. I don’t think I have the energy to make it.”
Isaiah 30:15 “This is what God says: If you come back to Me and trust Me, you will be saved… and you will be strong.”
Notice two things: salvation and strength. “You will be saved and you will be strong.” ‘You will have the strength you need to do the right thing, if you come back to Me and trust Me.’ That’s a promise!
Not only that, but look at this…
James 1:12 (NIV) “God blesses those who patiently endure testing. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.”
When you depend on Christ when you’re under stress…
When you trust God’s when you’re disappointed…
When you keep your commitments even when it hurts…
When you put God first with your thoughts, money, and time…
God says two things will happen…
He will meet your needs and He will bless your life.