acts of obedience
“I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure that you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”
– Robert J. McCloskey Source
The above quote has also been attributed to Alan Greenspan; it illustrates a truth about communication.
Because accurate communication is important, this is why in Bible study concordances and dictionaries might be pulled out in order to to get a better understanding of what words meant at the time that they were written and in the context of what was written. And the Holy Spirit helps overcome the generational gaps as well.
Here is a well known scripture.
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
What is really being said? Like a nautical Navigator’s Compass, if you start off a few degrees incorrect, you will be far off course by the end of the journey.
Trust can be looked at in two ways. You trust that God, as Sovereign, knows best, and you focus on God’s part only (there are always two parts, God’s part, and man’s part). A head knowledge of trust can lead to a “que sera, sera”, “what will be, will be” attitude. I trust God, so whatever happens is his will. Wrong. This is a free will universe; everything that happens is not God’s will. God gives us His Word, the Holy Spirit, and instruction through the five-fold ministry of the church; we learn “God’s ways” which require “acts of obedience” on our part that help us navigate this free will world. And while there are things that are not God’s will, paying attention to God and following the leading of the Holy Spirit can help us avoid problems.
Luke 4:28 (KJV) And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,
29 And rose up, and thrust him [Jesus] out of the city, and led him [Jesus] unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him [Jesus] down headlong.
30 But he [Jesus] passing through the midst of them went his way,
Another way of talking about trusting God is this … I trust God enough to obey God, to obey the leading of the Holy Spirit, to obey God’s directions in the Bible, knowing that when I obey, that obedience will lead to a good outcome and blessing, even if there is a certain amount of time required as part of the process.
That is a better definition of trusting God.
Trusting God is not like put on a St. Patrick’s Day hat and saying, “I trust God today, let’s see if I am lucky.” No.
Trusting God is doing something God tells you to do knowing that there is a purpose in that act of obedience. And it is an ongoing lifestyle. Trusting and obeying God is an ongoing thing.
The best sports figures have coaches. And those coaches invade more than one area of life. They invade practice on the field. But they also invade the area of diet, exercise, and lifestyle. We instinctively know, as a matter of common sense, that a person who wins a gold medal in the Olympics had a lifestyle of hard work, correct diet, correct exercise, and many hours of practice. The person who got there did not get there munching on pizza, chips, sodas sitting on a sofa watching NetFlix. Some things are obvious.
But when it comes to God, there is a common sense aspect that is ignored. Somehow people get the idea that they can live any way they want, get into as many problems as they want, never change, never attempt to change in line with the word of God, call upon God at any time, and that God will come running to help them. In the parable of the Prodigal Son, God the Father came running to meet the son only after the son had made a quality decision to repent, turn from the old lifestyle, and return home.
If you are going to trust God, that has a component in it, that you trust him enough to obey his instructions.
If you are going to visit a friend in a far off city, and while talking to your friend, your friend tells you that the last fifteen minutes you should go a different route than normal because there is construction and if you want to avoid it, follow your friend’s instructions. If you trust your friend, you are going to follow the instructions your friend tells you so as to avoid the construction. You will follow those instructions if you trust him. But if you don’t trust him, and don’t want to listen, and don’t want to bother, you might find out your friend was right, and end up in a construction zone. It is a matter of trust. But trust is more than a head thing, trust is more than putting on a hat that says “I trust”. Trust involves obedience and a change of behavior.
If trust is left as a head thing, a mental thing, “que sera, sera”, “what will be, will be”, then you might go visit your friend, get stuck in the construction, and say “it was the will of God”. Maybe it wasn’t the will of God at all. You simply did not trust enough to obey when instructions were given to you.
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