Yesterday, I was reading a blog post by a girl who was talking about what it looks like to trust God. She was talking about how she doesn’t like living her life without a set plan, and it was causing her to wrestle with how she could trust God when she didn’t know what to expect.
Sounds ok so far, who doesn’t wrestle with how to trust God in the midst of trials and challenges that life presents? What was a regular question quickly turned into an unbiblical explanation for how she can trust God more fully. She gave a detailed conversation that she claims she had with God. She claims that God told her that to trust Him she must first trust herself.
I admit when I first read this I was shocked that someone would think the answer to trusting God more fully is to look inward. She continued to talk about how this personal revelation was a mind blowing epiphany. She expressed that if we can’t trust ourselves, how will we ever trust God? I exited out of the post and for the rest of the evening I continued to be so bothered by her words. I thought to myself “Trust myself? How can I possibly trust myself?” Jeremiah 17:9 teaches that MY OWN heart is deceitful and wicked. It asks the rhetorical “who can understand it?” Well, I certainly can’t understand it! Let alone trust it! The texts shows that none of us should rely on own hearts!
This unbiblical thinking is rampant in Christian circles. People are seeking to be affirmed by a quiet still small voice in their hearts that they are “worthy” “loved” and that “we can trust our own judgement.” There are catchy phrases that are used so much I don’t think many of us even notice them anymore. “Just follow your heart,” “God can’t help you unless you help yourself,” ” you need to love yourself before anyone else can love you,” and like the blog post “you need to trust yourself before you will ever trust God.” But, does the Bible actually teaches this? No, it doesn’t.
We need to spend less time learning how to “trust ourselves” and more time learning how to trust God and His word. We do this by the constant “renewal of our minds” (Romans 12:2) through the reading of scripture. We can trust God because he is sovereign and works all things together for the good of those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). We can trust God because he is unchanging, faithful, and full of mercy. He is also a God who does not lie (Numbers 23:19). What is most concerning to me is that this young woman believes that the Lord whispered into her heart this unbiblical method for growing to trust in the Lord!
If the Lord does not lie, why would he contradict Himself in a personal revelation, when His word teaches that our own hearts are wicked and not to be trusted?
Scripture calls us to die to self and to live for Christ (Col 3:3,Gal 2:20). We as human beings are so self focused. We are constantly looking inward, and we are constantly looking for God to make us feel good about ourselves. Instead, we should be looking to the King of Heaven with reverence.
The Bible isn’t about us, the Bible is about Christ.
If a still small voice is telling us to put our trust in anyone or anything apart from Christ alone, it is a false message. We were given the sufficient word of God for our protection and our good. We are told that it trains us in righteousness and equips us for every good work. (2 Tim 3:16-17) So while I do agree with this young woman that we should ask ourselves the question “how can I learn to trust God?” I disagree with her conclusions.
The answer isn’t becoming more self focused – it is becoming more Christ centered. We can trust the Bible, and we should not give heed to personal special revelation as it is extra biblical and unnecessary in the Christian life. I trust the Lord fully because His word is reliable. If I struggle with doubt or confusion, I should go to His word. It is there that I will find the answer to this pressing question, and Lord willing he will show this young woman that learning trust God does not originate from within. Rather, that learning to trust originates from God who uses the scriptures by His Holy Spirit to teach us about who we are, sinful and weak. As well as, who God is and why he is the only one in whom we can trust.
– Hannah Oliver