“Hurry, hurry!” I urged, “Get in quick—and shut the door fast!”
Instead she froze, one little foot over the threshold, one small hand holding the door wide, eyes gazing at me, mouth gaping—while swarming mosquitoes danced their merry way inside.
Her three-foot-something frame stood statue-still, but you could tell, her mind was at work: considering… weighing… deciding… Instead of obeying!
Maybe she hadn’t spent enough time with Gramma? Obviously, she didn’t trust my counsel enough to just follow it… quick like a bunny! Just as I said! And that boils down to… she didn’t trust me.
When the instructions come from a human, such hesitation can be wise, especially with the ethically questionable. I see too many professed Christians who want some mortal-on-a-pedestal to tell them what to think, believe, and do, down to which shoes to wear on Tuesdays.
But why do we hesitate so to obey God? I mean clear-cut instructions He gives in His word. Why do we too often sit around deciding whether to obey Him or not—or debating whether He really meant what He said—instead of just following it? Ultimately, isn’t it because we. don’t. trust. Him? Don’t trust His wisdom, His counsel?
Classic scripture examples come to mind…
The Israelites balked at crossing Jordan and taking the land, as God had commanded… because those people on the other side were mighty big and scary… (Numbers 13,14).
Saul jumped ahead when, in respect for God and His commandments, He was to wait till Samuel showed up to consecrate the meat before it was offered up. He feared losing his following, and… disobeyed (1 Sa 13:7-14).
We fear. People—or loss: of our following… or income… or possessions… or positions… or security… or esteem… whatever. Instead of God. Or we just don’t think He has the best wisdom on the subject. And so we don’t always do. as. He. says.
On the other hand, if we trust Him, that trust(/faith) will manifest itself in… yes, obedience. Isn’t that exactly what James 2:17-18 means?
Look at the “Hall of Faith” chapter, Hebrews 11. Look at Abel (Heb 11:4), Noah (Heb 11:7), Abraham (Heb 11:8,17-19)… Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon… and so on. How do we know they had faith (i.e., trust in God)? Because they did what He said even when worldly wisdom pronounced it foolish.
How do I grow in obedience?
1) Pay attention to what He says. “He who has ears, let him hear!”
2) Then, just. obey. it. Whether He says to act or not act.
But what about when fear or doubt (or selfish self!) takes over? How do I overcome them? Maybe I can’t, in myself. But through Him I can do all things He desires…
That takes me back to the C and the L in CLOSER: Call on Him, and Look to Him—and at Him. When I really see all He is, why should I not trust Him?
Maybe I haven’t spent enough time with Him? Maybe I’ve been relying on myself or other people for my cues (or equipping), so His instruction seems just foolish (or impossible)?
Trust-and-obey. Almost a compound word. Trust in Him manifests itself in obedience to Him. Disobedience means I’m not trusting Him. “Oh for grace to trust [-and-obey] Him more!”
More in later posts on…
who we can trust — and not trust
ways to strengthen our trust in God
why intimacy with God requires obedience.