7 Marks of a Disciple,

Developing a Trusting Heart

By Dr. Robert Jeffress

God promises that those who follow His commands will be better off than those who don’t. And we believe
Him . . . up to a point. We are usually willing to refrain from committing the really big sins such as murder or embezzlement, realizing that the potential consequences outweigh the benefits. Or, we obey in a particular area of life due to our lack of inclination or opportunity to disobey Him.

But when God asks us to surrender something we value or refrain from an experience we desire, suddenly we are confronted with a difficult choice. Even though God has promised that those who obey Him will be better off than those who don’t, can we really trust God to keep His promise?

We will never practice immediate, total, and joyful obedience until we first develop a trusting heart. A trusting heart allows our confidence in God’s character to govern our inward emotions and our outward behavior. What are the benefits of trusting in God’s love, power, and wisdom?

1. Trusting God’s love provides freedom from guilt over past sins. 

Are you confident of God’s love for you? Do you ever fear that God will dredge up some past mistake and use it as a reason to get even with you? Are you absolutely confident that God will welcome you into His presence when you die?

The key to “abiding” or “resting” in God’s love is trust, trusting that Christ’s death on the cross for us has resulted in God’s forgiveness of our sins. Paul linked the concepts of faith and inner peace (freedom from turmoil) in Romans 5:1: “Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

We can only experience peace with God when we are confident that we have been “justified” – a legal term meaning to declare “not guilty.”

It is Christ’s willingness to bear the condemnation from God we deserve that results in our forgiveness. Faith simply connects us to God’s forgiveness. Similarly, when we express genuine sorrow for our sin and believe that Christ died on our behalf, our “faith is [counted] as righteousness” (Romans 4:5). And the assurance that the barrier between God and us has been forever removed is the basis for our peace from the past.

2. Trusting God’s power provides freedom from panic about present circumstances. 

What is the biggest concern in your life right now?
• A spouse whose love has grown cold?
• A child living in rebellion against you and God?
• A financial need that is closing in on you?
• An illness for which the doctors say there is no cure?

Now, I want you to slowly and carefully consider the second question: “Is God capable of changing your situation if He so desires?” If your answer is “yes,” then you must conclude that He has some purpose in allowing you to experience your present circumstance. If He has the power to alter your situation, then He is in complete control of your situation.

Every storm that comes into your life is designed by God for a great purpose – the strengthening of your faith. However, it is important to understand that Satan desires to use the very same storm to destroy your life.

With every storm also comes a promise: God will safely deliver us through the storm to the other side, just as He delivered the disciples (Luke 8:22-25). God does not always promise to deliver us out of the storm, but He promises to lead us through the storm (Isaiah 43:2).

3. Trusting God’s wisdom provides freedom from worry about the future. 

Maybe like me, you can recall you were concerned about something in your future. And yet now as you look back you smile, realizing your fears about the future were unfounded. If you could have just punched the fast forward button to see what was ahead of you, you would have slept much more soundly.

But such a mechanism is not only unavailable, it is unnecessary to experience freedom from worry. Even though I can’t see what awaits me, God can see it, and He encourages me to trust in His wisdom and goodness (Jeremiah 29:11). God knows what is ahead of you, because He has planned what is ahead of you. His future plans for you are good, not evil. He asks you to simply relax and trust Him.

When your life is hanging in the balance, waiting and being still about your future seem impossible . . . until you know the God who ordained all. The Lord encourages us to “be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

God’s love, demonstrated by His forgiveness of your sins, means He would never want you to fall. God’s power means He is capable of keeping you from falling. God’s wisdom means He sees what is before you and will be there precisely when you need Him most.

You really can trust Him.

"The key to "abiding" or "resting" in God's love is trust, trusting that Christ's death on the cross for us has resulted in God's forgiveness of our sins."