I have been thinking and praying a lot about faith and trust these days. Sometimes the two can be seen as, or thought of, as synonyms, but I have come to see them as not quite the same.
Faith is something that I have; it’s a belief that I hold to be true. Everyone has faith. Even fear can be seen as faith: faith oriented in a negative direction. Trust is what I do. It is the response that I make when I put my faith into practice.
As the above Scripture from James states, in the realm of discipleship, unless I put my faith into action, it can’t come to fruition. In fact, James tells me that without putting my faith into action by exercising trusting obedience, my faith is useless, or rather dead.
I can have all the faith in the world that when I go out in my driveway to start my car the battery has enough charge and the petrol enough spark to start the engine. But until I put that faith to work and trust both the battery and the petrol to work together to do what is promised, I can stand all day in the driveway waiting for the car to start by spontaneous combustion. I put my faith into action by inserting the key and turning it, trusting that my car will start.
Just being aware of the wonderful and powerful promises of God is not enough. Many of them are subject to the ‘If you’ of the Scriptures. The promises become reality when I trust that God will do what He has promised. Obedience is when I trust my faith in God’s promises and act. When this ‘simple-minded obedience’ (to use Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s phrase) is practised on a daily basis, my faith is built, resulting in greater faith, thus enabling greater trust, thus enabling greater obedience. And so it goes on. Thus faith relates to what I have; trust relates to what I do with the faith I have.
Prayer: Father, thank You for the promises You give me in my relationship with You. Forgive me for the times when I have not trusted You to fulfill what have promised and not trusted who You say you are. Help me to grow in stepping out and trusting You in all parts of my daily life, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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