All followers of Jesus know that the Christian life has much to do with trusting, praying, and knowing that God is a refuge to all those who do. As we walk this path of faith it becomes apparent that the path of faith is not without its difficulties. Scripture often uses the metaphor of warfare to describe the Christian path. Paul exhorted Timothy to “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12 see also 1:18) and at the end of his life he said that he had “fought the good fight” (2 Timothy 4:7).
Of course this is a spiritual battle and requires spiritual armor that only comes through our union with Jesus:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm (Ephesians 6:10-13)
Many times this battle can seem overwhelming and complex. There is no doubt that we face difficult circumstances and complex ones, but often we need to step back and see there is a blessed simplicity to this complex fight of faith. Psalm 62:8 distills the Christian fight of faith down to this blessed simplicity:
Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.
Here are three simple truths to help us be strong in the fight of faith this week.
Trust in God
What does it mean to trust in God? Just two verses later in this Psalm we are told “if riches increase, do not set your heart upon them” (Psalm 62:10). When someone sets their heart upon the riches they have, part of that posture toward riches involves a trust. So we could say, “Set your heart on God at all times” and that would truly communicate trusting in God at all times. Consider how Jesus illustrated this trust:
“Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven…” (Matthew 18:3).
This trust involves a childlike dependence. Do you recognize that God alone is able to win the day in this battle? Do you recognize that He alone is worthy of your trust? If we are followers of Jesus we know this, but we need to make sure we currently know this in our experience.
How would we know we are truly trusting God in the details of the daily fight of faith? We would be acknowledging Him in those details. We would be “God-conscious” as we work through the various circumstances of our lives. We would labor to cast ourselves and all the details of our life on Him knowing that He cares for us and He alone can “win the day.” We would recognize that our anger, stress, impatience, constant thinking of the problems, etc. are all evidences that we are not trusting in God but in ourselves.
Notice as well that Psalm 62:8 says trust in God “at all times.” We need to think through the implications of this truth because there is great hope in this command. This means that there will never be circumstances that we will face in this life that we cannot trust in Him regarding. At this point it might be helpful to just take out a piece of paper and write out this phrase repeatedly. The first time simply write “Trust in Him at all times.” But after that write “trust in Him about ____________” and fill in the blank. All times includes every circumstance that we are currently struggling with and feel hopeless about. That leads us to the second encouragement which is itself an evidence of trusting God at all times.
I hope you appreciate how God counsels us in His Word through the pen of the “men moved by the Holy Spirit” in Scripture (2 Peter 1:21). He often communicates concepts to us in a way that are very expressive and descriptive. He does not simply say here “pray,” but “pour out your heart before Him.” Inseparable from trusting God at all times is praying. In fact, we are told to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Often in the middle of this fight of faith we are tempted to think that God is not hearing us, but ironically we are often thinking about praying, but not truly praying. Have you been pouring out your heart to God in prayer? Or have you been thinking about God and thinking about your troubles, but in the end really having confidence in your own ability to reason through what you face rather than casting yourself upon God by “pouring out your heart before Him?” Maybe you have been going through the motions in prayer, but have you been praying with your heart? In other words, are you genuinely communicating to God about all that is going on in your life? We do not have to wonder if God hears this kind of prayer. Our conviction ought to be the conviction of the Psalmist in Psalm 65:2: “O You who hear prayer.” He truly does hear you when you “pour out your heart before Him.”
How would we know if we are trusting in God at all times and truly pouring out your hearts before Him? In time we would have this growing conviction as we faced particular circumstances in the fight of faith: “God is a refuge for us.” This brings us to the last straightforward counsel we receive from this verse.
Recognize God as your only legitimate refuge
Again, this is a conviction that grows in the soil of a heart that is nurturing trust in God at all times by genuinely and transparently praying to Him at all times. Assumed in all of this though is a saving knowledge of God and a growing knowledge of God. A refuge is something that you take shelter in during a storm. If you are in the middle of a storm you will not seek refuge under something unless you have some knowledge of what that shelter is composed of. Similarly, if we are going to take refuge in God we must guard our knowledge of Him and pursue growth and fresh awareness of who He is. Who is this God that we ought to take refuge in? From this Psalm alone we learn this:
- He is the source of our salvation (v. 1, 2, 6, 7)
- He is a rock (v. 2, 6, 7)
- He is a stronghold (v. 2)
- He is the God who gives hope (v. 5)
- He is the One to whom power belongs (v. 11)
- He is the One from whom true lovingkindness comes (v. 12).
Certainly this is enough reason to take refuge in God, but the Bible is saturated in abundant testimony regarding who God is which argues for our implicit trust in Him as the only sure refuge in this life.
In the middle of the fight of faith things seem overwhelming and complex often, but there is a blessed simplicity to this fight of faith: Trust at all times, pray at all times, and by faith recognize God is your only legitimate refuge. Has He not proven Himself to be so in Jesus who lived for you, died in your place, and rose again proving all His claims to be true? In the end, we will win the day in this fight if we recognize God alone has and can win the day.