Obedience Requires Faith
For Lent, our pastor is sharing a sermon series based on our Christian toolbox. Last week we learned about forgiveness. This week the tool we were challenged to pull out of the toolbox is faith.
Hebrews 11 provides the best illustrations of faith. It is filled with stories of people who lived by faith – Bible greats like Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Joshua are all commended for their faith.
In each example, faith was not the end of the story. In each example, faith led to obedience to God’s call. Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Joshua all stepped out in faith and did exactly what God asked of them even if it seemed crazy.
Noah built an ark when it had never before rained. Abraham was willing to sacrifice his own son. Joshua commanded the Israelites to march around Jericho for seven days to make the walls fall. These Bible greats all acted in faith, believing that God would be faithful in return. But although each of these people was obedient, it is for their faith that they are commended.
God commands us to do good to others, to feed the hungry and heal the sick. He commands us to step out in faith in so many ways. But if we only step as far as we think we can in our own power it’s not really obedience, and we are not fueled by faith.
Many years ago when I was looking for a job, I saw a posting for a job opening that was two weeks old. It was only a part-time job, and I wasn’t going to apply, but I heard this voice in my head that said, “Just send in the resume.” I didn’t end up getting the posted job, which had already been filled when I sent in the resume. But I did end up being offered a full-time position with the same company as the managing editor of a legal newsletter. The 5 ½ years I spent in that job was the perfect experience for my current job as Director of Legal Publications.
If I had ignored that voice – the voice of the Holy Spirit prompting me to step out in faith – who knows where I would be working now. At the time, I really didn’t think I would ever have a full-time job again because of the many years of major depression I had gone through. It was only by the grace of God that I was able to not only step out in faith and take the job when it was offered, when I didn’t know if I could do it.
The wonderful thing is that when I stepped out in faith and was obedient to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, God was faithful in return. But without faith I couldn’t have done it. At the time I trusted that God’s hand was in the situation and He knew what was best.
I know this seems a small thing compared to building an ark or marching around a city for seven days. But it is just one example of how stepping out in faith that leads to obedience can be a blessing.
wow.. I am lovin’ this post
without faith, everything else is religion. that includes
– giving one’s life to/for God
– giving all the wealth to the poor
– becoming a missionary
– being nailed at the cross upside down
if without faith, it does not matter.
thank you so much for this post…
“without faith it is impossible to please God”
“anything done without faith is sin”
“Have Ye The Faith OF GOD”
– Mark 11:22
– grace and peace
Linda . . .I thought your example was wonderful! Having you share that really helps me get my head around what it looks like in action. God Bless you! And I loved the toolbox analogy too. It reminds me of using what I have already, for Him.
love and prayers for a faith in action day!
Deb, The great thing about the toolbox analogy is that it reminds me to take the tools out of the box and use them. They aren’t much good if you keep them stashed away! 🙂 Thanks for your prayers, which are always appreciated. Peace, Linda
I love the Holy Spirit, and the way He helps us in our daily lives. Those Bible heroes are such an inspiration… I need to pray for courage to be that way, too.
I never knew about your legal publication work. Going by your writing, that had to be a perfect fit. I’ll never be Abraham or Noah, but I can do much better. An inspiring post… thanks. : )
Linda, The lesson I learn from these Bible heroes is that I need to pray for more faith, stronger faith! Romans 1:5 says that obedience comes from faith. It is wonderful that the Holy Spirit gives us the gift of faith.
As for my job, unfortunately I don’t get to write much. I did at my old the managing editor job, but now I spend my time with scheduling, planning, and personnel issues. Not nearly enough writing, which is in part why I blog. 🙂 I do like my job, though, and the oganization I work for is a good one. Peace, Linda
This is a great post. I love the idea of a “Christian toolbox” and actually have scheduled someone to come and speak about this very idea to a group of teenagers in the near future.
This was an exceptionally poignant paragraph IMO:
“In each example, faith was not the end of the story. In each example, faith led to obedience to God’s call. Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Joshua all stepped out in faith and did exactly what God asked of them even if it seemed crazy.”
R.M., Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a thoughtful and nice comment! I like the Christian toolbox idea, too. Our pastor has actually brought in his real toolbox (which it is quite obvious he does not use on a regular basis) 😉 and used specific tools to illustrate various points. He compared the tool of faith to the studfinder – we don’t know how it works to find something that we can’t see, but it does. If you are interested in listening to this sermon series, they are being posted to our church website at http://www.cofaith.net. Peace, Linda