By Ryan Shaw
Progressing in the life of faith requires we consistently grow in trust and dependence upon God. Being able to trust God is a foundation to experiencing the blessings of His Kingdom. Every follower of Jesus has different capacities and is in a different stage of his or her journey of trust.
To compare our level of trust in God with another’s is foolish and will only hinder us. Instead the Lord cares only about what stage of the “trust” journey we are presently at and the importance of demonstrating and growing that trust accordingly.
Jeremiah 17:5-10 teaches us immense truth about the concept of maturing our trust:
Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, In a salt land which is not inhabited.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.”
The prophet Jeremiah speaks these words straight from God’s mouth against the kingdom of Judah. The Judeans were trusting in human alliances to protect them instead of God.
They could produce no fruit and were utterly barren because of misplaced trust. Depending on our own success and relationships to others will always leave us as failures in God’s estimation.
God will not let us put the kind of trust in people He reserves for Himself. The person who puts ultimate confidence in an individual or group, according to God, is “cursed.”
This can get tricky because the Lord uses people and alliances to further His purposes in and through us. Yet we are never meant to look to any of these as our source, but only as instruments God used at that time.
Others may come and go, but our hearts are not to be moved because we are confident in God, not them. Message bearers get sidetracked when they place too much trust in people. God will not allow this and will continue to test us to make sure our trust in Him is firm and growing.
Conversely, those who fulfill the lone requirement—to trust in the Lord—are “blessed.” These make God their confidence looking beyond the human agent being used to convey His faithfulness.
Believers living this way are like trees planted by water. They drink deeply of the living water and receive comfort and enjoyment because they are inwardly secure as they rest in God’s trust.
These do not strive or let fear grip them when things get hard and the going gets tough. Instead when the “heat” comes, as it always does, and the challenges and obstacles increase, the one trusting the Lord will not fear or become anxious.
They can face drought or other natural and very real negative circumstances and not be anxious. How is this possible? Their hearts have been tried over many years of trusting God and not in others, and He has proven faithful time and time again.
They have not gotten bitter against God over the years because things didn’t go as they planned. They maintain a tender spirit eager to please the Lord by keeping their trust centered in Him.