Trust Is Not An Instinct

I do hope this blog doesn’t become a mere regurgitation of other things I find on the internet. But sometimes you come across something that so simply and perfectly encapsulates something you’ve thought for a while, that it must be shared.

“Faith is not an instinct. It certainly is not a feeling. … It is an act of the will, a choice, based on the Unbreakable Word of a God who cannot lie, and who showed us what love and obedience and sacrifice mean, in the person of Jesus Christ.” – Elisabeth Elliot

I’ve realized this about a close cousin of faith as well – trust.

I often ask myself, “Why don’t I trust God more?”

But it dawned on me one day that I was really asking, “Why don’t my emotions feel calmer about trusting God?”

And I saw that although it would certainly be nice if my troubled waters would settle when considering something God is asking of me, it was not necessary. It was an entirely different question than asking whether I trusted God. That answer would ultimately be shown in my actions, not in how I felt about them.

You can plunk a benjamin down into the offering plate and still feel tense afterwards – but you trusted.

You can sign up for that short-term mission trip and be freaking out as the plane descends into your target city – but you trusted.

You can refuse to deflect blame and remain flustered because the theoretical deflectee really did contribute to the problem – but you trusted.

Conversely, our churches are full of people who throw up their hands in response to synthy worship songs but deny Christ with their actions everywhere else throughout the week.

We think we love God. We genuinely do. Many of us simply don’t have stop long enough to see our actions reflecting otherwise. There’s too little reaction time between instinct and result, too little translating work done upon our impulses and hesitations. We live in the nation of sin and haven’t learned its native language well enough to get ourselves to the airport. We never figured out that many of our sins are instincts, not conscious decisions (though that makes them no less sinful) – that the broad and wide road is also the path of least resistance.

Christ calls us to be smarter than that. It takes self-awareness and reflection, which a lot of us don’t want to do. Fortunately much of it is already done for us and laid out in the Scriptures. I encourage you to read them today. They bring us such great hope. You will find, allied with and living inside you, the words of…

…a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have One who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet He did not sin.” – Hebrews 4:15

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