How Trust And Obey Belong Together

trust, obey, relationshipTrust and Obey is a favorite hymn of the Christian church.  The song itself was a collaboration between John Sammis and Daniel Towner but was actually inspired by an unnamed young man giving his testimony after a service given by Dwight L Moody.  The young man’s closing remarks were “I’m not quite sure (about the specifics). But I’m going to trust, and I’m going to obey.”

Although this new convert had very little Bible knowledge beyond what he had just heard preached, he made the declaration to all who could hear him that he was going to place his trust in Jesus and then obey His commandments.  This powerful statement of faith so moved Daniel Towner that he immediately sought out his friend John Sammis who then went on to write the lyrics for Trust and Obey.

I believe the Holy Spirit spoke powerfully that night through that young man.  While we can obey someone up to a point without trusting them we will never have the type of relationship that God desires with us unless we also trust him intimately.

As new believers and young Christians we obey because we are told to do so and taught that to obey God is to please Him.  Obedience is encouraged and we are taught to do certain things and to not do other things.  Altogether these things give us the appearance of being good and upright, at least outwardly.  There is real human effort involved and insofar as we have the strength to do so, we will remain on the path.  But until we actively seek God and His presence with our whole heart and desire to know Him better, we will not have the strength to continue to obey once times get tough.

Only God’s presence in the heart of a man or woman can give that person the fortitude to continue on the path of righteousness once the storm comes.  Human effort must meet God’s divine resources if we are to grow and make progress in our faith and God’s greatest resource is only available to those who intimately trust Him; namely, His presence in a real and powerful way.

Many times I have asked God why I did something that I knew was wrong or didn’t do something that I knew He wanted me to do.  For a very long time I internalized that failure as weakness on my part and took it to mean that I was fairly bad at this Christianity thing.  But what God has shown me since then is that He loves me unconditionally and accepts me as His precious child.  And along with that He has made me realize that what I need most is just to know Him better and to increase my trust in Him, step by step and day by day.  When we trust God with our whole heart, obeying Him becomes a joyful outward reflection of that inward trust.  Trust and obey belong together in the life of every believer and the absolute best thing you can do for yourself, your family and everyone around you is to get to know your Savior.

Until The Relationship Is Right, Nothing Else Will Be

salvation, seek Him first, relationshipAs I was pondering and praying about several different things recently, God gave me a thought.  It was the sentence that is the title of this post.  “Until the relationship is right, nothing else will be”.

This thought, I believe, is a very powerful truth that is worth investigating.  Relationships are essential to our well-being and we were created to be in a right relationship with our Heavenly Father.  This is the first and most important relationship that we should pursue but we must also, as much as it is in our power to do so, seek to have right relationships with those around us.

There is a temptation, when we think of the suffering and the various trials that the people we care about go through, to pray for their problems to be solved and their suffering to end.  And it is the same with the trials that we face, to pray that God would solve them for us and to get us to a place where we aren’t suffering anymore.

But is that the right prayer?  Is that really the best prayer we could be praying?  Is that what God would have us ask?  I believe, based on our key thought, that what we should be praying for is that our loved ones always be found in a right relationship with God first and other folks second.  This is the order that we have to get right before God can make anything else in our lives truly right.

And then we can pray, either on their behalf or our own, that we all be drawn closer to God and more fully in to His provision and wisdom for our lives.  Seek Him first, make Him the center and place Him as Lord over all.  Then and only then can He set right what we so often get wrong.  Our God wants to fight our battles for us and stands ready to do so.  But only after we have acknowledged His Lordship and His Godhood and His desire to be our closest friend and savior can we overcome that which holds us back.

Once we have that right relationship with our Heavenly Father He can grant us His perspective and He will use those trials and circumstances to bear fruit for His kingdom.  Through us, His Word can be made real in our world and in the lives of those we know and love.


The Search For True Purpose

purpose, 1 corinthians 14:26, relationship with GodWhere do I fit in?  What is my purpose here?  For a very long time those were the questions I asked myself both about my life and my church.

I knew that I was saved.  I knew that I was supposed to go to church.  And for a very long time I convinced myself that was enough.  As long as I showed up and filled my space on the church bench every Sunday morning I was more or less where God wanted me to be.

Over time and with God’s help I have come to realize that treating church attendance like this is analogous to being in a marriage relationship in which you sometimes spend time in the same room with your spouse but never really actively participate or communicate with them.  Even worse, your mind is usually elsewhere and and you are often thinking about leaving to go somewhere else as soon as possible.

How long do you think such a marriage would last?  Not very long, I bet.

Thankfully, God does not divorce us due to our lack of attention and care.  His love for us does not change or diminish based on our love for Him.  He goes on loving us and desiring our best even when we are at our worst.

I genuinely believe that if we really are saved that God will not let us be content treating Him in such a way.  His spirit within us softly and gently reminds us that we are His, bought by His blood and called for His purpose.  That same spirit cries out for unity and intimacy with the Heavenly Father and that only happens when we make our relationship with Him a priority. Eventually that disconnect (between what we are doing and what the spirit within us tells us we should be doing) will cause us to be miserable.

While God does not want us to live like that He will allow us to make our own choice.  And having been there myself I can tell you that it is so much better when we seek Him and His purpose and make Him number one in each moment.  Once we start living like that God’s purpose for us in life and in His church will start to become clear.

According to scripture, we are the church.  It’s not the building where the services are held and it’s not even the service itself.  Those things should only serve to enhance worship and draw God’s children closer to Him.  The church is you and me, the redeemed children of God and those who have been called according to His purpose.

We assemble because scripture tells us to but our purpose for assembly is so that we may encourage one another, teach and be taught and worship God together.  Paul said it like this:  What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. (1 Corinthians 14:26 NIV) (emphasis mine)

Each of us has a part to play when we assemble and that part depends on the spiritual gifts that we have been given and our own level of spiritual maturity.  That is why it is so important that our relationship with our Heavenly Father be something that we cherish and nurture every single day.  Only in this way can we find our true purpose and our place in God’s kingdom.