Disciples Trust God
Jesus commands His disciples to trust God, and trust also in Him (John 14:1). Such quick words off his lips on the night before He went to the cross. How fitting, for they would experience life in the middle of death and resurrection, with all their trust put to the test. It is the opposite of “letting their hearts be troubled.”
One of the marks of a disciple is trust in God. It may not start out as unwavering confidence, but trust becomes that. Because the Greek word pistis is translated as both “faith” and “trust,” it is easy to confuse the two, making them synonyms when they in fact have a different relationship.
Gerald May says that faith is inherently a risk. We have the freedom to choose faith, but each choice is risky. It becomes less risky as we discover that God can be trusted, that He is faithful to His character.
“Trust supports faith, and faith builds trust,” says May in Addiction and Grace. He gives the example of climbing onto a limb, risking that it is strong enough to hold. If he has previously been on the limb, he has some trust that it will hold. He still needs to make the choice of faith that it has not weakened since the last time, but this is less of a risk because of preexisting trust.
Trust is conditioned. Faith is unconditioned. Trust is conditioned by prior acts experience. Our trust in God grows because He has proven faithful in our past experience. The risks of faith we have taken have proven God trustworthy and faithful.
This is why in Scripture, we are also commanded not to fear or worry, but instead give our fears to God in prayer (Philippians 4:6). It is nearly impossible to take a leap of faith if we are hampered by fear. This doesn’t mean that fear is evil in itself, but we can allow fear of the uncertain to get in the way of making the next choice to put our faith in God. But if we have found God to be worthy of trust, fear cannot have its way. It cannot be our master. We must instead “continue to work out our salvation in fear and trembling, for it is God who works in us to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:12).