The song “Trust and Obey” has been around since the turn of the 20th century, and its refrain is familiar to most Christians: “Trust and obey for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.” While you won’t find those three words “trust and obey” in any one commandment or verse in Scripture the message in that brief phrase is at the very heart of the gospel.
Obedience to the Lord’s commands is not a foreign concept in the Bible. He is God, and by virtue of that fact alone, He demands obedience. As the creator of Heaven and Earth, He alone has claim to supreme, unchallenged authority; therefore, if God has commanded anything, we are at obligation to obey. God has commanded us to be righteous and yet we have failed in this commandment: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Since the early days in the Garden of Eden, we as God’s special creation have failed in the mandate of unconditional obedience to His commands.
The problem, however, lies not in our inability to obey, but rather in our refusal to trust. For obedience is impossible apart from trust. Think of it this way. If I am driving down the road at 100mph and I see a sign that says the speed limit for this area is 55mph, and instead of slowing my vehicle I instead choose to accelerate to an even higher speed, what am I in effect saying? Do I really believe that there is a law which states that I am to only travel at 55mph? If it is a law, and I perceive it as a law, then my actions should reflect that perception. I have an obligation to obey it. If I choose not to obey then it doesn’t reduce the law’s ability to punish my disregard, but it implies a refusal to acknowledge the speed limit as law. I have to trust that the law in this area is 55mph, and once that trust is established, I am at obligation to obey it.
What many of us are guilty of doing is not merely disobeying a rule, but denying that it was ever a rule to begin with. When we choose to speed past the posted limit, we are saying to ourselves, this posted sign is not a law. I do not trust its ability to have rule over my behavior. For if it possessed the ability to rule over our behavior we would be obligated to obey it. We reduce the law to a mere guideline.
This is why belief/trust is so important in terms of the gospel. Without trust we cannot obey. In Hebrews, we see that the Israelites disobeyed and did not enter the land of inheritance because they did not have a believing heart to trust what God had told them. The author of that book writes, “For we also have received the good news just as they did; but the message they heard did not benefit them, since they were not united with those who heard it in faith…and those who formerly received the good news did not enter because of disobedience” (Heb. 4: 2,6). They disobeyed because they did not trust.
In terms of our salvation, we must trust the good news of the gospel and then in obedience surrender our lives to Jesus as our Lord. In terms of discipleship, we must trust the promises and commands given to us by God, and then in obedience follow their instruction for our lives. Trust always precedes obedience.
What about you? What is your level of trust? Have you placed your trust in Jesus and in the promises of His Word in order that you might better obey? You know, John H. Sammis was correct when he penned the words to that hymn. There really is no better way to be happy in our savior Jesus Christ, than to trust and obey.
NEWS AND NOTES:
In case you haven’t heard, Kid’s Praise is back on Wednesday night and we are having a great time singing, dancing, and praising God. Consider joining us in the Element Kids room each Wed. evening at 6:15pm.
This month we will celebrate both Baptist Men’s Day (Feb. 5th) and Baptist Women’s Day (Feb. 19th ) with respective all male and all female vocalists. We hope you’ll join us on stage and add your voice to these special choirs.
March 31-April 1 members of the worship team will be traveling to the LeadWorship Conference in Winston-Salem. This is an excellent opportunity for our team to hone their craft as there will be workshops available for instrumentalists, vocalists, and sound techs. If you are interested in attending this conference, and have not told Jonathan, please do so as soon as possible. Cost is $30/ per individual.
In His Service,