I’ve realized the most difficult times to obey are those requiring us to walk by faith. For example, we know it’s wrong to steal, murder, commit adultery, etc (Rom 2:14-15). It might take some willpower not to do those things, but it doesn’t take much faith. There are some situations though where we have to obey when it doesn’t make much sense…and that’s when it gets really tough…because of the strong temptation to justify disobedience.
Katie and I had to provide counsel and explain God’s Word in two identical situations where I knew it was going to be very difficult for the individuals to hear what Scripture had to say. The two situations took place less than a week apart, and in the second counseling session I remember thinking, “This is exactly what I said a few days ago.” It took a lot of faith for the listeners to do what God’s Word said, for the simple reason that it didn’t make much sense to them. In other words, they just had to obey by faith.
Then it got really interesting…
Only a few days later, Katie and I felt blindsided when we found ourselves in the exact same situation. We had to follow the counsel we’d recently twice provided. The conversation between Katie and I went like this: “We have to trust God. This is what we have to do, not because it seems right to us, but because this is what God says to do. We have to believe He knows what’s best…just like we told those people.”
Most people believe willpower is the necessary element in obedience. I would at least disagree so far as to say faith is equally necessary. Perhaps this is why God says, “Without faith it is impossible to please Me.” (Heb 11:6). Obedience is about looking at Scripture and saying, “This is what God says, so I’m going to trust Him and obey even though it’s difficult and argues against everything inside me.” Faith really means saying, “This doesn’t make sense to me, but I believe God knows what’s best so I’m going to do what His Word says.” Faith is about walking in obedience and trusting God with the consequences.
I think we all recognize the tremendous temptation to look at Scripture and say, “I know what the Bible says, but in this situation it doesn’t apply to me because of _______ so I’m going to do this instead.” Faith is what’s required to deny that temptation and obey.