Sometimes, obeying God stinks.
There. I said it.
Sometimes, it’s fun. Like, when He calls you to spend time with Him and you get to sense His presence crazy near, or when the fruits of your obedience come right away and you get to see the cause and effect relationship.
Sometimes, obeying God is adventure-scary. Like following His call across an ocean with five kids, or stepping out into that new thing you know you’re supposed to do.
Sometimes, obeying God is uncomfortable. Because it’s usually counter-cultural, and there’s always risk involved in loving others.
And sometimes, obeying God stinks – in the here-and-now, fleshy sense anyway, which happens to be the most tangible reality most of the time for most of us. Because it’s big picture driven, delayed gratification, self-abandoning, sacrificial, and in some parts of the world, it involves potentially lethal choices.
Giving Jesus lordship of our lives is an abandon-your-nets, take-up-your-cross-daily-and-follow-me choice. It’s radical and brave and yes, we get all of the incredible benefits of His inheritance, but He never promised us easy.
I don’t know where this idea of Christianity came from, where “church people” are all tidy and perfect and primped and proper and soft and delicate and privileged and weird.
(Well, maybe I have an idea…)
“Christianity” – the name placed on this (human) concept of a religion based on faith in the person of Jesus the Christ (sorry don’t get me started) – is gritty and radical and revolutionary and transforming and messy and sacrificial and standing tall before the darkness and humbly serving others.
Jesus came to save the world from death and build a bridge back to a Holy Inconceivable God. If we choose to trust in Him, obey Him, partner with Him, and devote our lives completely to His cause, then we give Him permission to wreck our hearts in His process of transforming us into His likeness.
That level of obedience – that level of trust – requires a power from God Himself that none of us could begin to muster on our own.
One of my favorite authors, Brennan Manning, wrote
Unwavering trust is a rare and precious thing because it often demands a degree of courage that borders on the heroic.
Trust and obedience are inextricably intermingled if we have a healthy view of God.
Yes, obedience can be motivated by fear, but that’s not Abba.
1 John 4:18, NLT
18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.
We obey because we trust that what the Bible says is truth. We trust that God is who He says He is, and we are who he says we are. We trust in the infinite sort of LOVE that is “omnipotence wrapped in the bonds of my own fragile humanity” – God Himself incarnate as a baby here on earth so He could live and die for us.
I trust my Abba. So I obey Him. The best I can, anyway.
Even when it stinks. Because maybe my obedience will bring Him glory. And that’s what I’m here for.
And I trust with all my heart that God is LOVE. And that His plan is HUGE, and that I’m crazy outrageously privileged to be part of it.
Matthew 19:29, NLT
29 And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life.
Praying grace for whatever your obedience looks like today.
Love to you ❤
5 thoughts on “Trust and Obey”
So good Emily!
How true are your words and true your heart. Thank you for words filled with Life in a world filled with heartache, loss and death.
Thank you Emily. I like your honesty and you really have a way of writing what I am often thinking.
Love and air hugs.