For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.”
Obedience is not an easy idea to surrender to and for many not something we are interested in. Who really wants to obey someone else? Who wants to live by someone else’s standards and/or expectations? I just want to do what I want to do!? It is hard for humanity to understand that obedience is actually the only way to truly find freedom and to live life to its fullest.
Take Paul for example. Paul was a man who started off doing whatever he wanted – which at the time was persecuting the Christians and trying to stop their movement from spreading. But, later, found a much more successful and free life through being obedient to God instead of trying to stop God. Paul left a life of doing whatever he wanted to a life of doing whatever God wanted. Why would he do that? Why surrender to God and do whatever God wants?
Paul saw in God something he never saw in anyone or anything else. He saw an incredible level of faithfulness. Paul had seen leaders come and leaders go. He saw humanity say one thing and do another – broken promises, lies, and manipulation. Through Christ he witnessed God make good on His promises dating way back to the days of Abraham (Paul knew his Old Testament). In Christ he witnessed faithfulness and love despite a total lack of faith and love on our part. All of this brought about faith in Paul’s heart, a faith that led to his obedience.
Paul obeyed God because he had faith in him. For Paul, and hopefully for us, Faith is not just an intellectual assent to a series of propositions but surrender to the One who asks us to trust Him. To surrender, to have faith, is to obey. Paul’s faith told him that God would always do what was best, He would never leave Him alone, He would never forget about him, and He would always love him. Who wouldn’t want to follow, to obey, someone in which you have that much faith and trust.
The question for us today is how is our faith? Is our faith deep enough to lead to our obedience? If we began living in obedient faith right now what would change? If we lived every day like that – where would God take us? I don’t know – but I do know the One leading the way and I know He always has my best interest at heart. Have faith – and obey.
Pastor Matt Huff leads Portland Central Nazarene Church. He loves being in ministry and seeing lives transformed by the power of Christ.