Faith vs. Trust

Faith vs. Trust

 What is faith? And how does that differ from trust? As similar as the two are, I can’t help but think they are different. And different in a very significant way.

I’ve spent a lot of time recently with that question rattling around in my head and I figured if I blogged about it that it might help clear some things up…at least in my own mind.

I’ve known for many years that the scriptural definition of faith is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) But I guess I’ve heard that definition so much that it no longer really explains things for me. So, I went to the good old fashioned dictionary (well… In short, faith is belief without proof. I think that’s a pretty good definition. Short. Concise.

But what about trust?

The same dictionary defined trust as reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety of a person or thing. In other words, trust is belief based on previous action or history. You trust because you have evidence or proof.

You can destroy or erode trust. You can build trust. You have to earn trust. When you fail in a relationship, you’ve destroyed whatever trust you’ve built up. And that trust isn’t easily or quickly rebuilt. In fact, if you fail again, that rebuilt trust isn’t just damaged…it’s destroyed all over again.

But faith…what about that? Can you earn faith? Can circumstances cause you to lose faith? I don’t think so. I believe that faith is a decision you make. You choose to have faith or you choose not to.

Let’s say you’re with a group of friends and you are going to bungy jump off a very high bridge. You stand and watch as your friends, one by one, launch off the bridge and soar through the air finally caught by the elastic cords and slowly reeled back in. No problems, no accidents. Now it’s your turn. Do you have faith it’ll be fine or do you trust it’ll be fine. I believe this is trust. You are confident because you’ve seen it work with others. But the first one to go? That was all faith.

Why is this conversation important? Because of Hebrews 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”

It doesn’t say that without trust it is impossible to please God. It’s faith. It’s believing without proof. So when we as Christians are approached by non-believers asking “prove God is real,” we can say…it’s not about proof. It’s about a decision I’ve made (with no proof at all) that God is who He says He is.

Yes, it also says that we should “Trust in the Lord with all our hearts.” But that trust comes from what we’ve seen Him do in our lives before and in the lives of others. Trust is good and even necessary. But the bedrock of our relationship with Him is our faith. Our willingness to believe without having to have proof. “Prove it!” isn’t faith language, it’s trust language.

When Job’s life went to hell it wasn’t his trust in God that got him through, it was his faith. The evidence around him certainly didn’t prove to him the existence of a God who loved and cared for him.

Yes, God is alive and well in this world. I know that. I trust that’s true (because I see evidence of Him all around). But let’s face it. If you’re like me you feel sometimes like you’re walking through a mine field. Every day news comes of a friend who’s just found out they have cancer (BOOM!) or a couple you know is getting a divorce (BANG!) or an earthquake has just hit another improverished country and thousands are dead or missing (CRASH!). My pace can easily slow down. Every step I take might cause me to step on a mine of my own. I’ll admit…my trust can waiver (I hesitate to say ‘erode’) in these uncertain times.

But you know what? My faith is not based on what I see around me. I’ve made the decision to believe in God. My faith is a decision that He loves me and is watching out for me and for those I love. I have faith that He is my maker and there is a rhyme and reason to my life. I have faith that I was created for some greater purpose in this life rather than just living out my days and dying.

Like Indiana Jones and his step of faith, I don’t step out over thin air because I trust there will be a bridge. I step out because I have faith that the bridge will appear. Call me simple and naive. I choose to call it childlike.

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  • Really enjoyed the thread yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed this blog. I am 100% with you. I have faith, simple as that. Have a great weekend. Mike

  • God, YOU have downloaded Your wisdom, Your heart, and Your revelation once again to my son Mike! I’m forever indebted to YOU and YOUR Holy Spirit for imparting what this Mother’s heart could never
    accomplish! Thank You Lord that his trust is in YOU, and his faith is forever steadfast in Our heavenly
    Father. And thank YOU Holy Spirit for revelation knowledge of YOUR Kingdom! It’s one thing to trust
    the Lord with all our hearts, but faith dares to step out and do what seems impossible to do!


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