What happened with Adam and Eve in the garden is that they broke trust with God by eating the forbidden fruit. When they did this, they unhinged their reason from Reality (Genesis 3:6), they had to deal with the overwhelming complexities of the knowledge of good and evil without the capacities of wisdom and knowledge and strength to adequately process them.
The story of redemptive history, culminating in Jesus’ incarnation, death and resurrection, is God undoing the catastrophe of the garden and restoring sinful humans to holiness and once again trusting in him with all their heart.
No matter who we are, no matter what our gifts and abilities, no matter what our background, it all really does come down to trusting God with all our heart. If we trust him, our hearts will not be sinfully troubled (John 14:1). And trusting is simple. But it is by no means easy.
Why Trusting (and Obeying) Is Hard
The devil’s treachery and Adam and Eve’s fall from grace is why God chooses to save us by grace through faith, and not through works (Ephesians 2:8–9). God is looking for trust. Our works are important, in fact they’re crucial, but only in that they demonstrate that we trust God.
God knows that our living in simple trust in him will be hard for us in this age. Jesus promised that it would be (Matthew 7:14; John 15.18″>15:18), while living in a body of death that has faithless impulses (Romans 7:23–24).
But what we need to remember is that every time we are called to trust Jesus’ promises over our perceptions and the devil’s deceptions, we reenact what happened in Eden. And every time we exercise trust Jesus by obeying what he says, it’s a smack in the devil’s lying mouth.
We do not need to understand the “why” to every command of God or be able to answer every objection or shadow of doubt cast upon God’s word. But we do need to trust God and therefore obey him. In fact, God is particularly glorified when, in the face of disorienting temptation, we do not fully understand God’s reasons and we trust and obey him anyway—we rest our reason on the Reason of God.
Experience the Secret
Trusting God is not easy, but it’s not complex. The knowledge of good and evil is complex. It produces Gordian knots we cannot untie. But we were never meant to. We were meant to trust God with them. And when we do, it is a great relief.
Trusting God is the secret:
- To forgiving those who have sinned against us (Ephesians 4:32).
- To turning away from sexual temptation (1 Thessalonians 4:3).
- To giving generously to kingdom needs, even beyond your means (2 Corinthians 8:3).
- To not allowing material abundance to choke the word in us (Matthew 13:22).
- To rejoicing even when sorrowful (2 Corinthians 6:10).
- To contentment even when experiencing deprivation (Philippians 4:12).
- To boldness even in the face of fearful threats (Acts 4:29).
- To peace even when facing pressured trials (Philippians 4:6–7).
- To joy even when enduring withering affliction and illness (2 Corinthians 1:3–5).
- To hope when all around our soul gives way (Psalm 42:11).
- To gracious patience under pressured labors (Colossians 1:11).
- To blessing those who persecute us (Romans 12:14).
- To courage in leaving family and property for Jesus’ sake (Matthew 19:29).
- To overcoming discouragement due to adversity and weakness (2 Corinthians 12:10).
- To not allowing indwelling sin to reign over or condemn us (Romans 6:12, Romans 8.1″>8:1).
- To loving saints who sin and sinful unbelievers (John 15:12; Romans 9:1–3).
- To facing every other fear and anxiety-producing temptation.
God promises to give us peace and contentment if we trust him (Philippians 4:6–7). So he has given us the simple, hard secret: Trust me. It is the only way.