Trust & Obey

I will like to reflect on the importance of trust and obedience with the hymn “Trust and obey” as my anchor. The chorus of the hymn declares, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”[1] You ever wonder why a lot of people even in the church are not happy because they are failing to trust and obey God’s Word. The word trust means reliance on and confidence in a person – a trustworthy person. For us Christ’s followers there is only one trustworthy person and that is God who is faithful in keeping his promises for a thousand generation. So to trust is to place one’s confidence in a person of worth. Obey on the other hand means to heed, to listen, to hear, or to pay close attention leading a response in conformity. We obey a person especially one who rules and commands us. Again, for followers of Christ that means responding in conformity to the commands and rules God our authority has put in place. These rules and commands are found in a book called the Bible. Jesus in John 14:21 said, “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” It means we cannot profess trust in the Word of God and fail to obey what it commands.

A great question to wrestle with is who are you trusting and whose word are you obeying? Maybe an illustration is perfect here: “There is a story told in Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography of a clergyman who was ordered to read the proclamation issued by Charles I, bidding the people to return to sports on Sundays. To his congregation’s horror and amazement, he did read the royal edict in church, which many clergy had refused to do. But he followed it with the words, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,” and added: “Brethren, I have laid before you the commandment of your king and the Commandment of your God. I leave it to you to judge which of the two ought rather to be observed.”[2] So, when it comes down to the wire, who will you rather obey, your children’s sport’s authorities, your political party, your state or federal government, or your God?

The most interesting thing these days for political junkies is pulling results. Almost every national news program begins with pulling results and sometimes within the same news program new pulling results are released and discussed. It is interesting to note that even a casual observer of politics cannot help but notice that many a politician trust pulling numbers and calculate their next political move based on pulling results, even if they say they do not pay attention to pulling numbers. In the business of politics, maybe, and just maybe, it is okay for politicians to trust pulling numbers because that is what motivates them for the moment.

The unfortunate thing is that like politicians Children of God are putting their trust on temporary things too like wealth, politics and politicians, or even government whether big or small government. But that is not what guarantees our happiness. From Scripture, what guarantees the believer’s happiness is obedience to the rules and commands of God. Jesus’ mother, Mary, understood the principle of trust and obedience and in Jesus’ first miracle Mary goes on record telling the servants at the wedding, “Do whatever he tells you,” (John 2:5b). In other words, do not only trust his words, trust them enough to act on them. The servants did and the results, amazing – excellent wine.

You and I will stand to enjoy the same results today if we develop the habit of constantly putting our trust in the word of God and acting on what it says. So, what is God commanding you to do today, this week, this month, or this year? My encouragement to you is to obey. If God is telling you to become more involved in Church by identifying and using your Spiritual gifts, do it. If God is telling you to give to him what is rightfully his, then give generously as his word commands of your time and resources to his kingdom work. If God is telling you to reach out and help someone who needs a ride, some cash, someone to talk to; whatever it is that God is commanding you to do, do it and you will experience the happiness that comes with trusting and obeying God’s Word. And we are back to where we began, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.” Amen!

[1]Logos Hymnal, 1st edition. (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1995).

[2] Paul Lee Tan, Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times (Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc., 1996), 1392.