Have I convinced you to embrace the adventure of “trust and obey”? Are you ready to follow our Lord into the adventure of the unknown anytime he asks you to do so? Here are the words of Alexander Maclaren, a British pastor at Union (Baptist) Chapel in Manchester for 45 years. His writings bear the test of time, but are updated here, just a bit, for ease of reading.
We need to hold the present loosely in order to be ready to fold our tents and take to the road if God wills. We must not assume we are to continue in our present situation, nor send our roots down so deeply that only a hurricane would remove us.
It may be hard to leave our current spot, even if it is in a desert, when we’ve been there so long that it has come to look like home. But we must determine to meet God-appointed change cheerfully, confident that the new circumstance will be a blessing, however it may seem at first.
We need to cultivate the same habit of prompt obedience as the Psalmist who said,” I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands” (Psalm 119:60). Slow obedience is often the germ of disobedience. It is easiest to do our duty when we are first sure of it, when it comes with impelling power which carries us over obstacles as on the crest of a wave. Hesitation and delay may leave us stranded in shallow water. If we would follow the pillar, we must follow it at once.
Let us have hearts that wait and watch for God’s direction, using common sense as well as faith to unravel small and great bewilderments in order to be ready when God sends us in a new direction.
This excerpt from Harrison, N. (2010). His Victorious Indwelling. Zondervan.
Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can remain when we trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
-James H. Sammis
With that in mind, I wish you the very happiest of New Years!!!
Why, when it can be so hard, do we bother to obey the Lord? This (with a good bit of editing and updating) is the answer Hannah Whitall Smith gave over 100 years ago:
“When we choose obedience, we bring joy to our Lord as well. Our deep love for him is perfectly reasonable, but the fact that he loves us so deeply is truly amazing! What does ‘loving him back’ look like? For one thing, it looks like obedience. Jesus told his disciples that the first and greatest commandment is to ‘love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength’ (Mark 12:30). That commandment leads us to ask ourselves:
- Will we make him our greatest love?
- Will we follow him, even when there’s no apparent reward, even if following him leads to a life of separateness or suffering?
- Will we let him have complete control of all we are and all we have?
- And what if our Christian friends don’t agree with our level of devotion?
“Say, ‘Yes, Lord, yes!’ to each of these questions. Pour out all your devotion on our Lord. Give him your enthusiastic surrender, even if it upsets some of the more moderate Christians around you. Why should you care if some don’t understand your choice? An intimate friendship with Christ is both your duty and your joy. When Christ makes his ways known to us, we have the great privilege of walking in them.
“Your whole-hearted devotion is precious to the Lord. Perhaps others don’t approve, but he does, and that’s enough. Don’t hold back. Lay your whole life open to him and say each morning, ‘Lord, help me to live this day in a way that pleases you. Give me spiritual insight to discover your will. Guide my every step.’ Don’t let a day, or even an hour, go by in which you aren’t consciously following him.”
I’ve loved Hannah’s words for years. They challenge and console me. How do they strike you today?
Photo by Jon Tyson via Unsplash.com