Then they asked Him, “What are we to do, so that we may habitually be doing the works of God?”  Jesus answered, “This is the work of God: that you believe [adhere to, trust in, rely on, and have faith] in the One whom He has sent.”

John 6:28-29 AMP

If you’ve spent time around Christians, you’ve likely heard the phrase “trust in God.”

It’s an important phrase; Jesus tells us that the work of trusting in God is the only work he wants us to do. 

But in a practical sense, what does it really mean to “trust in God”? How do we ensure we’re not just repeating a religious idea but actually living it in our daily lives?

To find the answers to these questions, we took a deep dive into the verses in the Bible about trusting in God. One thing we learned is that the sheer volume of verses on this topic tells us that our trust in God matters a lot to him.

God looks down from heaven on all people. He wants to see if there are any who understand. He wants to see if there are any who trust in God.

Psalm 53:2 NIrV

God is actively searching for people who will trust in him, so if we want to be close to him it’s important to regularly examine how that part of our relationship with him is going. Trust in God can’t be measured by the number of minutes you spend reading the Bible each day or the number of Christian activities you attend (though those are of course good things to do). 

What we found in these passages of the Bible is that trusting in God is active. It brings power into our lives and compels us to move forward with faith as we believe in God’s promises instead of getting stuck in the past. Trust in God gives us a path out of discouragement and helps us stand strong in the face of difficulty, uncertainty, and fear.

Take a look at some of the incredible ways trusting in God changes our lives, and how we can make decisions to put our trust into practice. 

Trusting in God means staying calm when attacked

Even if an army attacks me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if war breaks out against me, I will still trust in God.

Psalm 27:3 NIrV

Though I’d like to think I’m strong and secure enough to face anything that comes my way, I’m more likely to crumble at the slightest difficulty (let alone an army attacking me). 

In life, fear is inevitable. We will all face attacks from hardship, uncertainty, conflict, and so much more beyond our control. Though we can’t always determine what happens in our lives, we can decide how we will respond, and what we will rely on not only to endure it but grow through it. 

God wants to be that strong foundation we rely on in the midst of fear. He wants to take care of us. I love these lyrics to the song  “I Got You” by Via Music because they remind me of God’s heart for us:

Save this space
For anytime you don’t feel safe
And if you forget the way, I’ll remind you
Don’t save face
Whenever you are in this place
You don’t have to hesitate
I got you

“I Got You”, by Via Music

We don’t have to be afraid, because God’s got us.

But too often, I respond to my fear by trying to take control and figure out everything on my own, replacing the security that comes from trusting in God with the much less stable self-reliance.

Trust GOD from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for GOD’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to GOD! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life! Honor GOD with everything you own; give him the first and the best. Your barns will burst, your wine vats will brim over. But don’t, dear friend, resent GOD’s discipline; don’t sulk under his loving correction. It’s the child he loves that GOD corrects; a father’s delight is behind all this.

Proverbs 3:5 MSG

When we give God the first and best of our time and energy, we can trust that he will take care of the rest. We don’t have to be afraid, because we can trust that listening for God’s voice in everything we do and everywhere we go will not only keep us on track but also bring blessings into our lives (our “barns will burst” and our “wine vats will brim over”). 

It is only when we rely on ourselves or things other than God that we become lost, weak, and insecure.

We know we’re trusting God when we surrender our lives to him, believing that he is always good and is in control no matter what attacks or circumstances come our way.

This trust shows itself in a heart that stays calm, which is not something we can force or muster up — it’s not the same as acting calm on the outside while panicking on the inside. A calm heart is one that genuinely trusts more in God’s goodness than what it sees outside. 

Trusting in God means turning to him when we need help

Great blessings belong to those who trust in the LORD, for those who do not turn to demons and false gods for help.

Psalm 40:4 ERV

Where do you turn to for help? Trusting in God is a choice to turn to him in prayer when we need help, and knowing that God will bring great blessings into our lives. God is powerful and good; he can bless us with things we could never earn or achieve on our own. 

When we turn to something other than God (called “false gods” here) for help, we are building a weak foundation. The Bible tells us that this trust in other things or people leaves us alone, aimless, discouraged, and negative (Jeremiah 17:5-8). 

If we want to learn what it really means to trust in God, we must be aware of what it looks like when we’re not trusting in him.

So what are some other things we might be turning to for help? Here are a few:

  • Our accomplishments
  • Other people
  • Our emotions and desires
  • Our opinions
  • Our religious behavior

Let’s take a closer look at these.

Our accomplishments

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, But we will remember and trust in the name of the LORD our God.

Psalm 20:7 (AMP)

For an army or a nation, having chariots and horses meant having power and the ability to win battles. Today, most of us don’t rely on chariots or horses but we might trust in our own ability to win the battles in our lives rather than trusting in God’s mighty power.

God’s power is stronger than human strength, and he can help us win battles we could never win ourselves.

Other people

The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in GOD protects you from that.

Proverbs 29:25 (MSG)

The Bible calls a fear of people disabling. Have you ever felt so consumed with what people think that you can’t move forward, or even think for yourself? Trusting in God protects us from fearing human opinion, and that’s an incredible blessing.

The value we put on other people’s opinions is a good barometer of how our trust in God is going. 

Our emotions and desires

A grasping person stirs up trouble, but trust in GOD brings a sense of well-being.

Proverbs 28:25 (MSG)

“Grasping” (or greed, as some other translations describe it) means we always crave something more. We feel discontent because we are following our desires, seeking feelings of satisfaction that only God can bring.

A sense of well-being is another great blessing that comes from trust in God, not from grasping for things, achievements, or attention.

Our opinions

But the people continued to sin! They did not trust in the amazing things God could do.

Psalm 78:32 (ERV)

This verse refers to a time when God had miraculously brought his people out of slavery in Egypt and wanted to bless them with a new home in the Promised Land. He showed them over and over again that he would take care of them, but still they complained and didn’t trust him.

They trusted what they saw and thought more than they trusted God’s amazing power, and this lack of trust led them to keep getting into the same sin of unbelief over and over again. As a result, they missed out on the blessings of God in the Promised Land.

Our religious behavior

They failed because they tried to make themselves right by the things they did. They did not trust in God to make them right. They fell over the stone that makes people fall.

Romans 9:32 ERV

God knows that our human flesh is weak and flawed; that’s why Jesus came to die for our sins and give us a right relationship with God. Trusting in our own perfect behavior to be right with God is a dead end.

Instead, we can trust God to make us right with him and enjoy the blessings of his mercy and undeserved friendship instead of striving for a perfect religious performance. 

Firm no matter what

They will not be like their ancestors, a rebellious and disobedient people, whose trust in God was never firm and who did not remain faithful to him.

Psalm 78:8 GNT

To stay faithful to God no matter what comes, our trust in him must be firm. We can learn from the Israelites in the book of Exodus (to whom this verse refers). If we don’t have a firm trust in God, we will eventually rebel against him and disobey him.

If you find yourself perpetually turning away from God, despite your best intentions and efforts, try using the scriptures above to examine what you put your trust in and pray each day to begin looking to God when you need help instead of relying on people or your own abilities, emotions, or opinions.

Pause and reflect

  • Where or to whom do you turn when you need help with something?
  • What does it look like for you to turn to God when you need help?

Trusting in God means staying with him through the fire

Nebuchadnezzar responded and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, who has sent His angel and rescued His servants who believed in, trusted in, and relied on Him! They violated the king’s command and surrendered their bodies rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.”

Daniel 3:28 AMP

The book of Daniel gives us a powerful story of three friends—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego—who took a big risk because they trusted in God. Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylonia, decreed that anyone who didn’t worship a statue of him would be thrown into a flaming furnace. 

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego decided they would trust in God, no matter what happened:

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”

Daniel 3:16-18 NLT

They knew he could rescue them from the blazing furnace, but they trusted him even if he didn’t. Metaphorically, we can learn from them that it’s possible to keep trusting God even when walking through one of life’s “fires.” He will always walk with us through these fires, never leaving us alone:

Suddenly the king jumped up and shouted, “Weren’t only three men tied up and thrown into the fire?” “Yes, Your Majesty,” the people answered. [25] “But I see four men walking around in the fire,” the king replied. “None of them is tied up or harmed, and the fourth one looks like a god.”

[26] Nebuchadnezzar went closer to the flaming furnace and said to the three young men, “You servants of the Most High God, come out at once!” They came out, [27] and the king’s high officials, governors, and advisors all crowded around them. The men were not burned, their hair wasn’t scorched, and their clothes didn’t even smell like smoke.

[28] King Nebuchadnezzar said: Praise their God for sending an angel to rescue his servants! They trusted their God and refused to obey my commands. Yes, they chose to die rather than to worship or serve any god except their own.

Daniel 3:24-28 CEV

God didn’t leave Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego alone in the fire, and he won’t leave us alone in fires either. Trusting in God means we don’t doubt him, abandon him, or blame him when trouble comes into our lives. We keep walking, confident that he will use even the toughest times for something good. 

Pause and reflect

  • What are some “fires” in your life right now? How have you been responding to them?

Trusting in God means making the relationship personal 

But as for me, I trust [confidently] in You and Your greatness, O LORD; I said, “You are my God.”

Psalm 31:14 AMP

The words “you are my God” go beyond church attendance or religious behavior. It is an active, personal friend that understands who God is. When we are aware of the qualities of God – his greatness, his love, and his promises – our confidence in him will grow.

God reveals who he is through his Word, and regularly immersing ourselves in Scripture will build our faith and trust in God. We can do that in different ways: by reading the Bible, or by listening to it as we go about our day.

If we want to trust God in our daily lives, we need to include him in our daily lives. That means we can’t just check in with him as part of a religious routine but we need to find ways to be connected to him and listen to him throughout the day. There are many creative and personal ways to do this, just like there are creative and personal ways we connect with friends. 

Trusting in God means trusting his promises, not our fears

Keep trusting in the Lord and do what is right in his eyes. Fix your heart on the promises of God and you will be secure, feasting on his faithfulness.

Psalm 37:3 TPT

We discover who God is through the Scriptures, worded here as “the promises of God.” To “fix your heart” on something means you emotionally depend on it, much like you would fix your heart on your parachute working properly if you were about to jump out of a plane. 

Fixing your heart on something other than God leads to instability, because things and people change. We can learn to be secure and steady when we fix our hearts on the promises of God, which never change and are bigger than ourselves.

But I trust in you, O LORD; and you, O Lord my God, will answer me.

Psalm 38:15 GNT

One promise of God is that he will answer prayer. That doesn’t necessarily mean he will grant all our wishes, like a genie in a bottle, but he will listen and care about our needs and respond to them. 

It takes humility to be completely honest and vulnerable about our needs, and even more humility to leave the solution in God’s hands. Rather than trying to figure out everything on our own or rely on others to fix us, prayer is a time where we can unload, leave our cares with God, and trust that he will answer us.

But when I am afraid, I will put my confidence in you. Yes, I will trust the promises of God. And since I am trusting him, what can mere man do to me?

Psalm 56:3 TLB

Trusting in God means deciding to believe his promises instead of our own fears. Reading the Bible and praying can help our trust in God grow much bigger than our fear of what people might do. This scripture says we may still get afraid, but it no longer has to dictate our lives because we are confident that God is in control. 

Trusting in God means letting go of self-protection

God, be merciful to me. Be kind because my soul trusts in you. I have come to you for protection, while the trouble passes.

Psalm 57:1 ERV

We get to experience God’s kindness, mercy, and protection when our souls trust in him. Through a consistent personal relationship with God, we may still face trouble, but our hearts are at peace through it all as we let God protect us. 

Sometimes, instead of letting God protect us, we come up with ways to try to protect ourselves, and these methods usually involve closing off our hearts to potential pain:

  • Protecting ourselves from failure by refusing to take risks or staying stuck in the past
  • Protecting ourselves from rejection by refusing to give our hearts in relationships
  • Protecting ourselves from conflict by hiding what we really think and feel
  • Protecting ourselves from criticism by hiding our weaknesses
  • Protecting ourselves from stress by being controlling

God’s protection comes from opening up, not from closing off our hearts. When we let down our walls and honestly open up to God and people (Proverbs 11:3, 5), God can guide us to good things.

Pause and reflect

  • What are some ways you try to protect yourself from pain?
  • What are some areas you need help or guidance? How can you choose to open up to God and others today?

Trusting God means growing and thriving

But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust [confidently] in the lovingkindness of God forever and ever.

Psalm 52:8 AMP

Jeremiah 17 describes someone who relies on God as a tree that isn’t afraid of heat or drought, but always produces fruit. I think of that with this scripture as well. As long as we stay close to God, growing in our own personal relationship with him, we will always be nourished, refreshed, and rejuvenated even when times are hard.

Trusting in God means believing him despite our emotions

O my soul, why be so gloomy and discouraged? Trust in God! I shall again praise him for his wondrous help; he will make me smile again, for he is my God!

Psalm 43:5 TLB

Choosing to trust God can help us deal with discouragement. This doesn’t mean we shut down or minimize our emotions, but choose to trust God despite them, as Psalm 42 describes:

Why am I so overwrought? Why am I so disturbed? Why can’t I just hope in God? Despite all my emotions, I will believe and praise the One who saves me and is my life.

Psalm 42:5 Voice

Though we may go through storms of difficulty and discouragement, we can still choose to trust God’s Word and hold onto hope through it all.

Trust in God helps put things into perspective. Though we may still get afraid of circumstances or insecure about what others think, we can stay strong and secure when we see that who we have put our trust in is so much bigger than anything we could be afraid of. This allows us to move forward regardless of what’s going on around us. 

Trusting in God means trusting his forgiveness 

So my conclusion is this: Many are the sorrows and frustrations of those who don’t come clean with God. But when you trust in the Lord for forgiveness, his wrap-around love will surround you.

Psalm 32:10 TPT

Guilt is an emotion everyone experiences because we are flawed human beings. None of us is good or spiritual on our own; we need forgiveness, which is why God sent Jesus to take away all our sins. 

It’s really important for our relationship with God that we trust in his forgiveness. Otherwise, we will carry loads of guilt that are too heavy for us to handle. God is a remover of guilt; he wants to free us from the burden we carry, giving us the grace we don’t deserve. Our relationship with him will be full of sorrow and frustration if we don’t trust that part of his heart. 

If we trust in God for forgiveness, we’ll be able to confess our sins freely to him and our friends, appreciating his forgiveness instead of trying to be a perfect Christian.

Trusting God means moving forward

“Do not let your heart be troubled (afraid, cowardly). Believe [confidently] in God and trust in Him, [have faith, hold on to it, rely on it, keep going and] believe also in Me.

John 14:1 AMP

They didn’t really believe the promises of God; they refused to trust him and move forward in faith.

Psalm 78:10 TPT

When we trust God and his promises to forgive us and guide us, we can keep going; we can move forward in faith. That means we don’t get stuck in either past failures or the “glory days” of past victories. We can trust God to move forward confidently, knowing that his way is perfect:

As for God, His way is perfect! The word of the Lord is tested and tried; He is a shield to all those who take refuge and put their trust in Him.

Psalm 18:30 AMPC

The moment we believe God’s way is perfect is the moment we realize that we don’t have to be. We can learn from our mistakes and trust God to guide us to something great in the future. 

He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear [with great reverence] And will trust confidently in the LORD.

Psalm 40:3 AMP

As we move forward trusting God to put a “new song” in our mouths, other people will see God’s presence and power in our lives helping us start fresh. Our trust in God can inspire others to trust in God too. 

Pause and reflect

  • Have you been stuck in any past failures, mistakes, or sins? Pick a verse of the Bible to hold onto to help you move forward. 

Trusting in God is essential to our relationship with him. If we go through the motions of Christianity without truly trusting in God to have our back, we won’t have the strength to make it through the fires of life. God promises to be a shield and refuge to us, and we can trust him for forgiveness and loving kindness. As we trust him, we can move forward and stay calm, no matter what comes our way. 

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This article was developed by the Deep Spirituality Editorial Staff.

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This article was developed by the Deep Spirituality Editorial Staff.

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What Does It Really Mean to “Trust in God”? 6