When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word, what a glory He sheds on our way! While we do His good will He abides with us still, and with all who will trust and obey. Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies, but His smile quickly drives it away; not a doubt nor a fear, not a sigh nor a tear, can abide while we trust and obey. Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share, but our toil He doth richly repay; not a grief nor a loss, not a frown nor a cross, but is blest if we trust and obey. But we never can prove the delights of His love until all on the altar we lay, for the favor He shows and the joy He bestows are for them who will trust and obey. Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet, or we’ll walk by His side in the way; what He says we will do, where He sends we will go — Never fear, only trust and obey.
Chorus: Trust and obey— for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus — but to trust and obey.
—John H. Sammis, 1846-1919, Trust and Obey
Week 4: Bible Memory Verse
Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?
Romans 6:16 ESV
Day 1: Trust and Obey
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will act.
Psalm 37:5 ESV
Choosing obedience as I approached the writing of this week literally made we want to vomit. The second time, in facing steps of obedience, where I felt physically ill.
In the midst of the battle, fighting off thoughts of laying down, giving up, saying, Sorry ladies, there’s just no more. Thoughts which brought with them a seductive promise of comfort, a sense of deceptive peace. Escape. Release from facing the unknown. His Word came to mind.
Peter walking on water… he took his eyes off Jesus… saw the wind… the swells of water surging around him… and he sank…
My spirit fought back… Don’t take your eyes off Jesus… don’t look at the blank pages… the unknowns… Look at Jesus… you know He is faithful…
And Yes I know He is faithful. Because I’ve taken many steps of obedience. Many baby steps. Some bigger. Some GIANT. And with each step I’ve found Him trustworthy.
So let me tell you, sweet sisters, there’s only a Week 4 of this study (and hope-fully) a Week 5 because I have learned, incrementally, to trust and obey. There is no other way to be happy in Jesus. I know because I’ve failed to obey many times, too. And each failure. Each disappointment in myself for not trusting. Has strengthened my resolve to trust Him and obey.
I’ll never forget the day I went to church. It wasn’t a Sunday, more like a Tuesday some twenty years ago. I was in a hard situation with tough circumstances and I wanted out. I sat alone in the small sanctuary with tears rolling down my face. I begged… I gave all the reasons why I thought I would be better. I numbered off all the pain, the hurt, the anger. My final words, “Lord, please let me out of this!” Like a headline news ticker four words floated across my mind. There in black and white…Be Patient and Wait. Not the answer I was looking for. I bowed my head and wept.
Sometime later I found myself sitting in my car in front of the little church. I had a choice to make. I could choose my way. I could start driving and never turn back. I could get out. Or… I could choose God’s way. I’ll tell you now I was not happy about it. I slammed the car in drive, white knuckles squeezing the steering wheel and thought, “Fine! I’ll do it Your way!”
This was my first step into what I call “hard obedience.” The times when you want to choose your way because it feels easier… somehow better. Sisters, it’s not. He proved over the next twenty years… even today, His way is always better. There are times I just have to say, “Because you say so, I will.” This is obedience.
We’ve exercised our faith by examining foundational beliefs of discipleship, the process of prayer, and the importance of trust. For disciples of Christ, trusting belief takes shape when we obey.
obey — 1. to follow the command or guidance of 2. to conform to or comply with
—Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th Ed.)
Conform… comply… follow commands… these words have a fairly negative connotation in American culture. Our society encourages us to be independent thinkers with a take charge attitude. This mind set is not very receptive to obedience (except to one’s self). However, from the Christian perspective, the definition of obey is exactly what we are called to do.
The Greek word translated as disciple “always implies the existence of a personal attachment which shapes the whole life” and “leaves no doubt as to who is deploying the formative power” (The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament). Because of a personal attachment and trust, disciples of Jesus allow Him, invite Him, to reshape their lives. They conform to His ways when they follow Him. They obey what He says.
When we commit out lives to Him, trust Him wholeheartedly, He shows up. Part of trust, as we have discovered, means we will obey Him, even when it’s hard, when it causes us to suffer, and doesn’t make one bit of sense to us. When we trust and obey, He acts in response to our obedience.
“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” —Jesus
—Luke 11:28 NIV
Unless we obey when we hear His Word, we will not know His blessing. Jesus tells us it’s all wrapped up in doing what He says, not just hearing it and thinking it a wonderful teaching. We must act, then so will He.
Jesus shows up in our lives when we choose to trust and obey. One aspect of the blessing we receive through obedience is increased intimacy in our relationship with Jesus. Seeing Him act in instances where we have stepped out in faith, especially when it was hard, solidifies our faith.
Our willingness to obey is often directly related to how much we trust the one giving the commands. Complete trust, complete obedience. Partial trust, partial obedience. No trust, no obedience. New Christians have little experience with God on which to base trust, so their first step of obedience is pure faith. (Do you remember your first step of obedience?) When we obey, even when we don’t want to, we find His way works and our trust increases. With increased trust, we will be more likely to take the next bigger step of faith.
Continued obedience. Increased trust. Greater faith. Blessed life.
Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments!
Psalm 112:1 ESV
Talk It Out
Talk it over with yourself:
What is your initial reaction to the word obey?
Talk it over with God:
Ask God to help you release control of your life and follow Him in obedience.
Lord, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps.
Jeremiah 10:23 NIV
Exercise Your Faith
Consider two blessings that came from a time you were obedient. Give thanks for the blessings.
Do you not ____________ that if you _________________ yourselves to anyone as
_____________________ slaves, you are ______________ of the one whom
you ______________, either of sin, which leads to ________________, or of
obedience, which leads to _____________________? Romans 6:16