The Obedience That Comes From Faith

“Thus I had to learn my first lesson of the Christian life: how to obey before I understood. My whole life had taught me to master a concept before I could assent to it. How could I possibly agree to something so costly without grasping the reason?

“In the end, it came down to trust. I knew Jesus was worthy of trust, because he had made a greater sacrifice. He had left the bliss, the comfort, the joy of loving and being perfectly loved, to live a sorrowful life on earth. He took the pain and shame of a criminal’s death and suffered the Father’s rejection, all so I could be welcomed. Who could be more deserving of trust?

“The obedience of faith only works when it’s rooted in a person, not a rule. Imposed on its own, a rule invites us to sit in judgment, weighing its reasonableness. But a rule flowing from relationship smoothes the way for faithful obedience. When a child doesn’t understand her mother’s command, the mother’s character plays a strong role in what happens next. A cruel, capricious mother is likely to meet resistance. But an affectionate, nurturing mother inspires trust, because you know she’s on your side, profoundly.

“In one of Scripture’s most dramatic tests of trust, God told Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. If Abraham had considered this command in isolation, surely he would not have obeyed. Abraham, however, was a friend of God. When tested, he did not hesitate, because he knew God’s character.

“God had shown up for Abraham, and I knew he would show up for me …”  From Rachel Gilson’s article “I Never Became Straight.  Perhaps That Was Never God’s Goal,” in Christianity Today magazine, September 2017.

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