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What does it mean to trust in Jesus?

There are two basic levels to trusting Jesus. The first one is to trust in Jesus as the Son of God and the only way to salvation. Once you have put your faith in Jesus as Lord, the next level of trusting Jesus is to have total confidence in Him—in both His ways and His character.

Jesus came to bring salvation to the world. We have access to forgiveness and right standing with God though the sacrifice of Jesus. He died and was raised back to life so that we may receive the free git of eternal life (John 3:16–18; 11:25). Once we have trusted in Jesus for salvation, the rest of our lives becomes a practice of trusting Him more and more each day and in every situation. How does this trust grow? Our trust in Jesus grows through our understanding of who He is through reading the Bible and our experiences walking with Him (2 Corinthians 1:10; Romans 8:28–30).

Trust can grow through answered prayers or seeing God bless us above and beyond what we could have asked or imagined (Ephesians 3:20—21). These moments are exciting ways to build trust, and we should celebrate them when they happen.

Alternatively, and perhaps more commonly, trust in Jesus grows during seasons of trials. Even in the direst of circumstances we learn to trust that God is sovereign and has good in store. When we are tempted to fear or despair, we can say with the psalmist: "[The righteous] is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD" (Psalm 112:7). In difficulties, we learn to trust that He can bear our burdens: "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28–30). When we are weak, He is strong (2 Corinthians 12:9–10; see also Psalm 28:7).

When our trust is in Jesus, our souls find rest in Him: "The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you" (Psalm 9:9–10; see also Philippians 4:6–7). Through the presence of the Holy Spirit, Jesus fills us with peace. The same Jesus that calmed the raging storm by saying, "Peace! Be still" (Mark 4:39) is the one who enables us to be at rest and at peace, even in the midst of life's storms: "You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you" (Isaiah 26:3; see also Psalm 37:5).

Tests and trials are also a time when fear tries to creep in, and sometimes making the decision to trust God is a battle in and of itself. In Jesus' own words, "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me" (John 14:1). When our faith is tested, it provides an opportunity for us to develop our perseverance and be compelled to faithful obedience and confidence in Jesus (John 14:15). James says: "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing" (James 1:2–4). The tests and trials that we endure are used by God to refine and purify us and build our faith and trust in Him (1 Peter 1:6–8).

As we grow in our relationship with Jesus, we will notice our faith and trust in Him growing stronger. In situations where we would have become overwhelmed at one point, we notice that they are not such a hurdle anymore. We build up strength through trusting in Jesus' strength: "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit" (Jeremiah 17:7–8). When we trust in Jesus, He helps us to trade in our anxiety for His peace and to bear godly fruit in all circumstances.

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