“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Trust means a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.
In the Bible “trust” literally means ‘a bold, confident, sure security.’ Trust is not exactly the same as having faith, which is the gift of God: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Therefore, trusting is what we do because of the faith we have been given. Trust means that we believe in the promises of God in all circumstances, even in those where the evidence seems to be to the contrary.
Our verse clearly sums up the Bible’s teaching on trust: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” First, it is the Lord in whom we are to trust, not ourselves or our plans, and certainly not the world’s wisdom. We trust in the Lord because He and He alone is truly trustworthy. Therefore, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord.” (Jeremiah 17:7)
Matthew 6:31-32 tells us: “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.”
Chapter 11 of Hebrews talks about faith, which is accepting and believing the truth that God reveals about Himself supremely in the person of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, the practical consequence of faith in God is trust, which we prove by living out our full acceptance of God’s promises day by day. Furthermore, it is by this trust that we are promised peace: “You will keep in peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3)
We also see that His nature is faithful and true: “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments” (Deuteronomy 7:9). And in Psalm 25:10 we read that: “All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth, to such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.”
His plans for us are perfect and purposeful: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). Further, because of God’s nature, we are to trust Him with all our hearts, committing every aspect of our lives to Him in complete confidence.
We should not trust in ourselves because our understanding is temporal, finite, and tainted by our carnal and sinful nature. Trusting in ourselves is like walking proudly across a rotten wooden bridge over a deep abyss thousands of feet deep . . . and disaster inevitably will follow.
One thing that can be noted about biblical trust is that it always produces further trust in our God. The believer’s faith may be tried and they may stumble but: “Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand.” (Psalm 37:24)
God knows that even though trials will weigh the believer down in this life, their trust should not waiver because that trust is based on faith in the promises of God; such as the promise of eternal joy with the Lord and the promise of “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.” (1 Peter 1:4)