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Faith One Blog

Trust and Obey

Why is there no other way to be happy in Jesus? What’s so important about trust and obedience? What is so special about these particular requirements? Well, first, without trust in God there is no peace and no rest. God gave us the Sabbath day, one day of rest in seven, a day in which we can forget all our many problems and learn to rest in the assurance that ultimately everything is in His hands. Those that He has chosen and given the faith to believe in Him can enjoy this day of rest and feel its effect every other day as well. Unbelievers do not have this rest (Isa. 57:20). For them there is no God that exercises total control over the universe. Their problems are either solely their own or in the hands of fallible men and true rest is impossible.

God made man to be free, with which came a wide range of responsibilities. He gave him intelligence, a valuable tool he could employ to fulfill those responsibilities. The Fall, though, impaired man’s ability to use his skills responsibly. In choosing to follow Satan’s suggestion that he could live without God’s laws, he placed a greater burden on his intelligence than it could bear. Intelligence is only a tool and cannot be a determiner of right and wrong (Jer. 10:23). The history of mankind since the Fall depicts man’s inability to govern himself on his own and his need for God’s government.

In Christ man is freed from Satan’s bondage and has the ability to choose which master he will follow. The Spirit leads him to God’s word and gives him a desire to obey. His old nature, although diminishing in effect over time, is still there and he often sins through disobedience. He must continue to either remind himself, or be reminded through error, to obey God. The hymn that calls the believer to trust and obey sounds a note that needs to be repeated often, to remind us of our dependency on God’s law and keep us on track. Without obedience, man is left to his own devices and soon goes astray. He finds himself going against the reality of God’s creation and life becomes more and more difficult. Obedience brings blessings and disobedience sorrow and frustration (Psalm 1). The latter not so much because God judges him but because he is going against his own created nature.

Trust and obedience though need to be balanced. It is possible to lean too heavily toward one or the other. When trust is lacking or weaker, the Christian can feel overwhelmed and frustrated by the sometimes seeming impossibility of the tasks he has taken upon himself. To the extent he pursues this kind of thinking; to that extent he joins the unbeliever in his loss of rest and peace.

When trust is stretched too far, obedience can be compromised, not so much by overt disobedience but by a tendency to leave things “in God’s hands.” There was a picture that appeared in a Christian magazine some years ago. It depicted a mountain climber, together with all his equipage, falling down the side of a cliff. The caption at the bottom was, “Let Go and Let God.” The point was well made; We cannot just assume we know His will for us but must study and learn it from His word. God has given us responsibilities and will not do for us what He has commanded us to do.

The consequences that flow from such thinking can be serious. Today almost the entire Christian population is in disobedience to God, guilty of leaving the world “in God’s hands.” The world is suffering because of the failure of Christians to be salt and light (Matt. 5: 13-16). On a grand scale and with tragic results, “Let Go and Let God” has become an excuse for disobedience.

Yes, we need to trust and obey but let’s be careful to not use trust as an excuse for shirking duty to God.