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You Can't Have Faith Without Obedience


A few years ago, I walked out the front door of my parent's house to go get ice-cream with my siblings and their families. As I walked toward my car, the garage door began going up, allowing the rest of my family to exit to their cars. I glanced over to see my son and my nephew hanging from the rising door, eyes wide with the excitement of their new game.

LIAM! NO! GET DOWN!

It probably wasn't the time for me to reason with him, or request obedience. He was in immediate danger, and had no idea. I'm glad to report that sensing the urgency in my voice, he let go and ran to my side. I explained that he could have really hurt himself, and that kids get hurt in garage door accidents all the time. Then I thanked him for obeying so quickly even though he didn't know why.

As parents, we often know what is better for our children than they do. I'll never understand the parents who don't discipline or say "no" to their children for some of the following reasons:

  • I did the same things, so I'd be a hypocrite if I stopped him.
  • He just needs to learn for himself.
  • I'm tired of fighting about these things.
  • I don't want to make a big deal about it.

Look. If you know something is bad for your child, tell them "NO". This is a major "duh".

After this little incident, I began thinking about when God says, "no" and whether or not I respond as well to him as Liam did to me. (being a father so helps me understand me and God better) I asked the question, "Why did Liam obey me so quickly?", and the answer was helpful in my understanding of my relationship with God. Liam obeyed me because:

  • He knows that my knowledge and experience far surpasses his.
  • He trusts that my commands are intended to cause him good not harm.
  • He believes I desire what is best for him.

Obedience, for Liam is rooted in faith. He has faith in my knowledge. His faith leads him to trust me. His faith gives him hope for his future with me.

Get it?

When I choose to not obey God, I'm demonstrated that I don't have faith:

  • I don't have faith that He knows infinitely more than me. Disobedience demonstrates that I think I know better than God.
  • I don't have faith to trust him. Disobedience is an intentional decision to trust myself instead of God.
  • I don't have faith in my future with him. Disobedience is my attempt to manipulate my own future apart from God's plan.

Doh.

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