I REMEMBER when I first began to learn about the seventh day Sabbath after studying the bible with a group of friends. Shortly afterwards I started to implement the rules of keeping it holy as best as I knew how. The results were I felt miserable. In addition to that, I made others around me feel miserable because I was as strict as a cement wall. Once I even crashed my own surprise birthday party because it was within the sacred hours (about an hour or so before Sabbath was finished to be exact) and left everyone wondering ‘what’s the matter with him?’ I had become so focused of obeying what I thought God required of me that I left God out of the picture.
I realized that a great emphasis is placed on obeying God more than knowing God and this has led many people to have a Christian experience that is void of the fruit of joy. Ideally, they should go hand in hand but sometimes the work of obedience blinds us to the trusting aspect. In Exodus chapter five, after Moses commanded the Pharoah to release the Israelites from bondage the Pharoah replied: “Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, nor will I let Israel go?” In our journey to obey the Lord in our daily lives I think we each can relate to the Pharoah. At any point where we choose to disobey the instructions of God we are actually displaying that we do not know Him enough to trust Him in that area. By nature we follow the lead of those we trust and rebel against those who we do not.
Learning to trust in the Lord is a process and understanding that we need in order to live a life of obedience. This should help us change our approach to God. For example, when it comes to prayer, instead of asking alone for forgiveness we should also ask for help trusting in Him more. There may be hinderances that we are unaware of that prevent us from giving ourselves fully to God. The mentality to just ‘try harder’ the next time may only lead to frustration. I met a man who explained to me that he gave up on being a Christian after failing to kick the habit of using tobacco. I thought to myself, he’s more focused on doing the right thing than he is on learning to trust the right One. In John chapter seventeen and verse three in Jesus’ prayer He said: “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
From Genesis to Revelation this one theme is consistently consistent: God desires to be known in an intimate way more than He desires our works of righteousness. The interesting reality is that knowing Him naturally leads to obeying Him. In John chapter six verses twenty eight and twenty nine we’re told of an exchange between Jesus and a group of people that makes the previous point clear: “Then they said to Him, ‘what should we do that we may work the works of God?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe (trust) in Him whom He sent.” In our effort to live in total obedience let’s remember that it is only through living in total trust that we experience living in total obedience.
Father in heaven, please help us to grow in our trust in You today. In Jesus’ name, amen.