“You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.” – Luke 11:11-13.
During a small group session, a question was asked that required some thought: “What have you learned about God that you wish the world could know?” The group thought about it for second and one person said, “I wish people knew God could be trusted. He has rules for a reason. They are there to protect us. He has our best interest at heart—always.” Then another person added, “trust is important, but it also takes obedience… obedience that flows from trust will last a lifetime.”
Obedience and trust do seem to go together although we often have trouble with one or the other. Trusting God is not the same as understanding Him. Trusting Him means transferring your confidence and hope from yourself to Him. It’s more about knowing who God is than what He will do and why. Only when we trust God will we desire and be able to obey Him.
Obedience is the more difficult of the two. We tend to argue, push back, and fight a lot when God asks us to do something we don’t really want to do. We want our way. Yet the interesting thing is that in hindsight, we wonder why we fight so much because it always works out better than we imagined in the end. Do we thank God enough for doing His will in spite of us?
How much do we trust God when we are skeptical, hesitant, or even defiant when God asks us to do something? How much do we trust God when we selectively ignore His prodding in our lives? The bottom line is that obedience to God proves that we love Him and demonstrates our trust.
A lot of people think obedience is about fearing God, but God wants us to see obedience to Him as a relationship of love. And out of love comes trust. If you trust what God is saying to you, and you believe that He loves you, then that will lead to action.
You need to have all three because action without love is just rote religion. And love without action is just mere talk.
The Bible contains many passages that teach the “trust and obey for happiness” principle. Jacob is one such example. Jacob was a believer who had to learn over and over again throughout his life that “half-way” trust and obedience does not bring happiness and blessing. Trusting and obeying involves both God’s sovereign work in us and our own responsibility and choice.
- Trust or obedience: Which one is the hardest for you?
- What can we do this week to get better in these areas?