Trials invite us to say, “God, I trust you.”
Temptations invite us to say, “I don’t trust God.”
(And then our “works” show the reality of our faith- or lack thereof.)
For example, Peter endured a trial when Jesus told him, “Put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch” (Luke 5:4b). Peter replied, “Master… we’ve worked hard all night long and caught nothing. But if you say so, I’ll let down the nets” (5:5). Essentially, he said, “what you have asked me to do does not make sense to me, but, Lord, I trust you.” His actions (putting out and letting down the nets) showed that he, in fact, trusted Jesus. And he caught “a great number of fish” (5:6a). Peter passed this test and took a step toward maturity (see James 1:4 CSB). And, in doing so, he proved God’s trustworthiness.
On the other hand, Eve was tempted to say, “I don’t trust God” when the serpent encouraged her to eat the forbidden fruit (see Genesis 3:1-7). Previously, God had told Adam, “You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die” (2:16b-17). The serpent then told Eve, “No! You will certainly not die” (3:4a). (He also made her other deceptive promises.) The woman thought about it, decided in her heart that God was not to be trusted, and ate the fruit. She failed the test (and so did Adam). Together, they demonstrated that “after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death” (James 1: 15). Yet, in a strange way, they also proved God’s trustworthiness.
Are you experiencing trials? Say with Peter, “God, I trust you” and then do the right thing.
Are you facing temptation? Tell the tempter, “I trust God!” and then do the right thing.