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Trust is the Currency of Relationships

The word TRUST written in vintage letterpress type

Why is trust so important to Jesus? You were created to enjoy and thrive in a relationship with him, and he knows that “no trust equals no relationship.” Trust is the currency of relationships. And as Josh McDowell so wisely observes, “Rules without relationship equals rebellion.”

When a father tells me about his rebellious child—typically, a teenager—and how he plans to squash his or her rebellion with strict, imposing rules, I urge him first to give his child five doses of relationship before ever imposing a rule.

Love on him or her, letting your child know you adore him or her. Take your child to get ice cream. Watch a TV show, movie, or sporting event together. Just have fun—at least, as much as he or she will let you. Create a foundation of loving trust, first, before you start demanding performance. Or, you’ll see rebellion—either outwardly or inwardly—which may be worse.

We all intuitively sense the truth in these words: no trust, no true relationship and no true obedience… at least, not obedience from the heart.

My dear little friend, John, whom I adore and love and cherish, gives us the perfect example of an obedient heart… but not out of loving trust. A while back, I took John and his big brother Henry (both under 10 at the time) with me to speak to the local high school football team.

Afterward, we were in the car, talking to my daughter on the speaker phone. I mentioned that her old high school teacher had just rudely interrupted my pre-game talk. Britton said, “Mr. ______ is such a jerk.”

After we hung up, John murmured, “One of my teachers is a jerk, too.”

Big brother Henry quickly said, “John, we don’t say those kinds of words.”

To which, precious John replied under his breath in barely a whisper, “I’ll say it in my heart if I want to.”

“I’ll say it in my heart if I want to.”

Don’t you just love his honest and transparent heart? And yet, is this not a perfect microcosm of us? “I’ll obey, outwardly, but only because I have to. Inwardly, in my heart, I’ll rebel.”

When Jesus said, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me” (John 14:21), he was saying true obedience comes from love. We obey him—or, at least, we are trying to—because we see how much he loves us, not because it’s our duty. We see he loved us first, and this engenders our love for him, which bolsters our trust.

Who can love someone robustly and confidently with the full energy and riches of the Kingdom who they cannot trust? Okay, sure, we are called to love unconditionally. Good. Do that. Or try to. But practically speaking, you won’t be in a deep, thriving relationship with anyone without trust.

And so it is with your Heavenly Father. Trust is the currency of relationships, with each other and with God.

Imagine the richness of a relationship with your Heavenly Father, with Jesus Christ, saturated with trust and love. You would see God all around you, even and especially in the details of day-to-day living. You would sense his presence and feel his power. Your foundation would be rock solid. You would soar with wings like eagles (Isa. 40:31). Imagine that life. You can have it!

Do you have any issues troubling you right now? Do you have any nagging habits, any sins to which you are a slave? (Yes.) Are you praying to the Lord about them, asking for help?

May I suggest that you stop praying about those specific issues and start asking God to fill you with a growing and strengthening trust in his perfect love? Ask for trust, not answers. Ask for trust, not deliverance. Pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to fill you with trust so that you may be “filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:20).

Your nagging habits, sins, and even your scary issues will lose their grip on you as your relationship with the Lord grows deeper, richer, and stronger. You will soar with a new power, fueled by a growing trust.

What a life!

Trust is the currency of relationships.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope (trust) in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

—Isaiah 40:29