How do we build trust?
You’re sitting at a restaurant and from across the room you catch the eyes of older man staring at you. His heavy coat shrouds his figure while the cheap lighting casts a less than inviting glare across his face. Is this someone you would accept a ride home from or ask to hold your wallet? Of course not! You know nothing about him so how could you trust him.
Step 1. Gain Knowledge.
Most people are not going to trust something or someone they know nothing about. If someone hands you a pill and says it’s a vitamin would you just swallow it? Hopefully you would ask for the bottle to read what it actually is. This is the beginning of any purchase, choice, or eventual relationship – they all must begin with a search of knowledge. What do two people who’ve just met do? They ask questions; picking and pressing to find out what they can gather about this person.
Step 2. Build a Relationship.
Now that you know something, even if it’s only a little, you may begin a relationship. Now this doesn’t mean you’re going to go and start dating the person, think of it as a test drive. You’ve read the consumer reports and website reviews so now you’re going to get some hands on experience with the item. With a person, you do, basically, the same thing. You go out as friend groups, talk about topics – gradually getting deeper depending on your comfort level. And somewhere in this process the relationship takes on a new aim. It’s no longer just a search for knowledge but an opportunity to pour into each other. And the key word here is “build.” A relationship does not just happen, it must be cultivated and worked at by committed individuals.
A God-motivated relationship is not solely measured by what is gained; in fact I find it hard to come up with any argument that says a relationship is about gaining anything. According to the Gospels, Christ was always giving, always sacrificing, but constantly enjoying. Somewhere along the way we’ve forgotten this, but that’s a subject for another time.
Step 3. Time.
Trust takes time; it’s as simple as that. Generally, the people you have known the longest are going to be the ones you trust the most (yes, there are exceptions but this applies moreso than not). You trust them more because you’ve experienced life with them; the good and the bad. Time is the true test, the hardest to pass, the longest to complete; but the most rewarding if one perseveres.
So how is building a relationship with God different? As if it requires a doctorate in theology or some mind-blowing divine experience to actually count. Well it’s not. If you want to know God, to walk with God, than it requires you approach him as a person. Yes, a Holy Person who happens to be Creator and Sustainer of the universe; but also a Person who created and understands and desires our love.
You get to know people by talking with them. Pray and read your Bible, touché answers but essential nonetheless. They are our source of communication with God; the food for the growth of our relationship. You must get to know Him, you must be in relationship with Him – made possible only by the blood of Christ. And finally be patient. Take steps in trusting Him, constantly being reassured by His faithfulness. Don’t hold back on account of fear, but equally don’t think yourself a failure because you’re a young Christian and haven’t changed the world yet. In His time, the trust placed in Him will allow His glory to show through you.
“Love the Lord your God
with all your heart
and with all your soul
and with all your strength.”