“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” (Psalm 34:8).

THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BELIEF AND TRUST. It’s one thing to give intellectual acceptance to a truth, but trust has to do with how much risk we’ll take. Would we stake our lives on what we believe? To use the old illustration, belief is accepting that someone could walk across Niagara Falls on a tightrope pushing a wheelbarrow, but trust would be getting into the wheelbarrow.

In regard to our faith in God, the main element that distinguishes belief from trust is the personal element. At some point, we have to pass beyond the mere acceptance of God as an idea and start putting our confidence in Him as a personal being. When Paul said, “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him” (2 Timothy 1:12), he was speaking of far more than an academic or philosophical acceptance of God’s existence. Paul dealt with God as a personal being — and he trusted the personal God he believed in.

But Paul was an old man when he wrote those words, and while his faith would have always been real and genuine, there can be no doubt that Paul trusted God more deeply and personally as a result of his years of experience. Passing from mere belief to real trust takes time. It doesn’t happen instantly or overnight. So we all need to be asking the Lord to do the same thing His disciples requested on one occasion: “Increase our faith” (Luke 17:5).

But our faith will not be increased by mere wishful thinking. A greater faith comes from experiencing that He is trustworthy in the actual living of our lives. David, for example, issued this invitation to those lacking in trust: “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good.” If we had a rebellious attitude, it would be wrong to test God, but He has always invited the humble seeker to make an honest, fair trial of Him and see that He can be counted on.

So learning to trust God is a process. We find ourselves having a deeper confidence in Him as we gradually take bigger — and riskier — steps. The more steps we take, the more we can see, looking back, that He has never led us astray. And as the weeks and months turn into years, we find that our trust has matured.

“Confidence is a plant of slow growth” (English Proverb).

Gary Henry — WordPoints.com + AreYouaChristian.com

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