Excerpt from Bitachon and Emunah (334) by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
Bitachon means trust in Hashem. To trust in the Al-mighty is one of the chief principles of the Torah, as we’ll see later. To have a degree of confidence in Hashem, I say a degree also for a reason, and the stronger that bitachon is, the more virtuous the person is, the bigger is his mitzvah.
Nevertheless, I still say "a degree." But in that degree it’s a sign of excellence to have more and more bitachon. Before we go on, in order to dispel any confusion, what is meant by "a degree" of bitachon? If we say it’s better to have more, than there’s no such thing as a degree or a limit.
There are certain areas in which we are expected to feel full responsibility, certain things that we must do. And we cannot lean back and rely on the bitachon. It’s necessary in general to explain that bitachon is limited to a certain area. But in that area, as we mentioned, the stronger a person’s bitachon is, the more he deserves reward.
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Now for bitachon there are certain prerequisites, and since this is a very big subject, a very important subject, all Jews understand the necessity for bitachon and the merit of bitachon, so therefore the prerequisites also become important. And we are studying now what he calls the fourth.
Let’s say you want something of Hakadosh Baruch Hu and you wish to put your trust in Him that He will requite your trust, He’ll grant your desire. So you have to have what’s necessary to understand that you must have this following prerequisite. (I’ll translate:) That his attention should be strong and his efforts must be energetic to fulfill whatever Hakadosh Baruch Hu obligates him in his service.
In proportion to what you desire of Hashem, you exert yourself to fulfill His mitzvos
Now let’s hear that. In order to be a true baal bitachon, it’s necessary to exert yourself more than previously in your service of Hashem. For example, suppose someone puts his mind on a certain request, a certain specific thing that he wishes Hakadosh Baruch Hu should grant him. And therefore he exercises the quality of bitachon to say I trust that Hashem will hearken to my prayers and grant my request. But in order for that bitachon to be valid, it is important beforehand, it means before he can expect any answer to his prayer, that he should exert himself more in the service of Hashem.
Now let’s take out time to understand that. That’s not simple at all. And to do His commandments and to beware from all that Hashem admonished us against doing in proportion to what you desire. You hear that? In proportion to what you desire of Hashem, in that same measure should you exert yourself to fulfill His mitzvos and to keep away from what He forbids to do in order that Hakadosh Baruch Hu should agree to his request in that in which he trusts in Hashem.