Trusting God As A Family
By Kim Butts
Children learn to trust by example, through teaching, and by experience: "So that your trust may be in the LORD, I teach you today, even you" (Proverbs 22:19). Prior to becoming a Christian, I always wanted to do things my way, fix things myself, and to stubbornly insist that my way was right. When I accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, I began to want to do things Christ’s way, allow Him to fix things, and to trust that His way is right. What a huge change! Had I learned this from earliest childhood, I believe with all of my heart that I would have a much easier time trusting the Lord now. How imperative it is for families to live out the biblical truth that Jesus can be trusted with every detail of life!
Jesus knew how important it is too! He emphasized that those who come to Him as little children come to Him with complete sincerity and trust: "I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it" (Mark 10:15). It is much easier to come to Christ with the trust of a child than to have to develop that trust later in life. When we are older, there is more probability that we are contaminated by the world and its ways and beliefs…and trusting God is no longer done with simple, childlike faith, but with much struggle and travail.
Brennan Manning, in his book, Ruthless Trust, says, "Faith arises from the personal experience of Jesus as Lord. Hope is reliance on the promise of Jesus, accompanied by the expectation of fulfillment. Trust is the winsome wedding of faith and hope." Children who come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord, are quick to embrace Him in simple trust. They do not have years of listening to the doubts of the world, and haven’t yet absorbed the culture that allows the enemy to plant seeds of doubt in their belief systems. Childlike faith is simple, complete, and matter-of-fact.
Parents – don’t ever assume that your children can’t understand spiritual matters. Children are vital to the Lord and His work on this earth. Teach them that the Lord is the only One who is completely trustworthy. Expect and challenge them to stand firm in their belief. If they are taught, by your example and words, that people are in control and in charge, they will not learn to depend upon God and to place their wholehearted trust in Him alone! If you want your children to trust God, you must be a godly example of one who trusts in Him. Jesus Christ is LORD OF ALL! He can be trusted with everything. And, when we place our trust in Him, there can also be wonderful blessings and promises!
There are so many powerful Scriptures about trusting God! As a family, why don’t you take some time to study as many as you can locate? Start with those listed below! Find out the benefits of placing your trust in God. The word "faith" can only be a noun, but the word "trust" can be a noun AND a verb. Trust, therefore, is an active expression of faith in God! Is your family’s faith big enough to trust God in every area of your lives? Begin to actively engage in trusting the Lord, and see what Jesus Christ, active and living in you, will do in response!
There are many ways to teach children (and adults) to trust the Lord. One excellent way is to teach them about people in the Bible who trusted God. Here are some good examples to share with them:
Hezekiah. Hezekiah became king of Judah when he was twenty-five years old and reigned for twenty-nine years. Here is what God’s Word says about him: "Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast to the LORD and did not cease to follow him; he kept the commands the LORD had given Moses. And the LORD was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook" (2 Kings 18:5-7a).
Evidence that Hezekiah trusted in the Lord:
There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before or after
2. He held fast to the Lord and did not cease to follow Him.
3. He kept the commands the Lord had given to Moses.
Because Hezekiah trusted in the Lord:
The Lord was with him.
2. He was successful in whatever he undertook.
Daniel. Daniel would not follow an order to pray only to the king, and continued to pray to the Lord three times a day. Because of this, he was thrown into the lion’s den. (By the way, the king really liked Daniel, and was tricked into issuing the edict that sent him to the lion’s den – you can read the entire account in Daniel 6:1-28).
Because Daniel trusted in God, here is what happened:
Daniel was saved from death in the lion’s den (Daniel 6:23).
2. The king issued a decree in every part of his kingdom that everyone must fear and reverence the God of Daniel (Daniel 6:26-27).
3. Daniel prospered (Daniel 6:28).
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. These three men refused to worship the gold image of the king, Nebuchadnezzar. The king was so angry that he ordered them to be thrown into a fiery furnace; however, they trusted in God, and He kept them from harm. Read the entire story in Daniel 2:49 – 3:30.
Trusting in God resulted in the following for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego:
They walked from the furnace without being harmed in any way (Daniel 3:26-27).
2. The king decreed that no one could say anything against God (Daniel 3:29).
3. They were promoted (Daniel 3:30).
4. The king praised God (see Daniel 3:28).
There are also many ways to learn about trusting God in the context of everyday family life. Here are some suggestions:
· Trust in God–not in ourselves: "…he who trusts in the LORD will prosper. He who trusts in himself is a fool…" (Proverbs 28:25b-26a). We, as humans, have a natural tendency to want to do things ourselves. How often have we heard our children say, "I want to do it myself!" This is often a way of asserting independence, and is a good step for children to learn how to be capable in various areas as they mature. However, when we try to "fix" things that should only be trusted to the Lord, we will most likely mess things up. This is usually an easily teachable concept. Find opportunities when children or you, the parent, make a mistake in judgment, or try to fix a person or situation in the flesh rather than going to the Lord in prayer. When we try to do things in our own strength, or with our own wisdom, we will most often fail. It is only when we place our trust in God’s ability to work in and through our situations that we can be completely assured that the outcome will be in His perfect plan and timing.
· Trust in God–not in people or things:
1. Money – "Whoever trusts in his riches will fall…" (Proverbs 11:28a). Many people in the world believe that if they just had enough money all of their problems would be solved. Money is one of the biggest idols that the Christian family must deal with. Learning to trust in God for our needs is one way to combat the infatuation we seem to have with money. Teach your children about trusting God for what is needed. AND, teach them to trust God with their finances. Be godly examples to them as you give tithes and offerings to the Lord. Expect them from very early on to give a portion of their money back to God. Teach them how to be generous, and to trust that God will bless them abundantly for sharing what they have to do His work on earth.
2. Idols – "Of what value is an idol, since a man has carved it? Or an image that teaches lies? For he who makes it trusts in his own creation; he makes idols that cannot speak" (Habakkuk 2:18). Idols take on many forms. In today’s culture, idols can look like televisions, Nintendos, computers, or any other activity that captures the majority of our time. God has only given us a certain amount of time on this earth, and trusting in idols to entertain us or to give us pleasure will please the enemy greatly. As a family, be determined that nothing will take first place in your hearts, your time and your thoughts but God. Determine how you spend your time daily – and whether or not those activities are God-honoring. Then, decide what to do about some of the things that suck your time and resources into an abyss of emptiness rather than counting toward an eternal purpose.
3. Other people – "It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes" (Psalm 118:8-9). "Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he" (Isaiah 2:22)? "Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save" (Psalm 146:3). A child’s trust in a parent is as effective as the parent’s trust in the Lord. Children will have a much easier time trusting parents who are being the kind of parents He has called them to be. Be sure that your children want to trust you and to be like you because you are trusting in and following Jesus Christ.
· Trust in God when your hearts are troubled: "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me" (John 14:1). Tell your children that whenever they feel down, or concerned about something, they can always go to the Lord in prayer, trusting that He will help. Teach them that the Lord will never leave us or forsake us.
· When we trust in God, we do not need to be afraid: "When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?" (Psalm 56:3-4). "I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust’" (Psalm 91:2).
· There are blessings to those who trust in the Lord: "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit" (Romans 15:13). "But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit" (Jeremiah 17:7-8).
· Others will trust in God when they see Him at work in our lives: "He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD" (Psalm 40:3). When you trust in the Lord, perhaps many people will desire to know Jesus because of your life and testimony.
As your family trusts in the Lord in every area of life, you will have the joy of receiving the benefits of these promises: "Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun" (Psalm 37:3-6). "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight" (Proverbs 3:5-6).