A Words of Faith story by Emilie Anne Hendryx
Sometimes having faith means being obedient.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve never really liked the term “obedience”. I wasn’t a rowdy, rebellious child, but it isn’t so much obeying parents I take issue with but more obeying God. Now, before you go and get the wrong idea, I’m not saying I don’t want to obey God. I do! However, the thought that it’s something I “have” to do used to be (and sometimes still is) difficult for me.
Why is obedience hard? Because I feel like it’s a forced thing, something you have to do, like an obligation, and I don’t like the thought of my relationship with God being about obligation. I see my relationship with the Lord as just that—a relationship. It’s something I get the pleasure to enjoy, not something I force myself to do. But…what happens when I’m “not feeling it”? What happens when my sinful self gets in the way of the enjoyment of my relationship with Him?
Let’s be real: We sin and our lives are marked by the need for continual repentance. No matter where we are in our walk with the Lord this will always be true until He comes back, so that means there will be times when we “aren’t feeling it”. This realization pushes me forward which is where obedience comes in.
The dictionary says to obey is to: “comply with the command, direction, or request…[to] submit to the authority of.” When we obey, we are submitting to God’s authority in our lives. He has offered saving faith through His son Jesus but that comes with a command to have faith—to believe (Ephesians 2:8). And sometimes building our faith comes with the realization that we need to be obedient to his commands. At first glance this doesn’t sound as inviting as the thought of “just having faith”, but it is.
In example, there are times during my busy life when I don’t want to clean the house. I think, It can wait until tomorrow. But then tomorrow comes and I convince myself it can wait another day. I will keep doing this, but eventually living conditions will become unbearable. I’ll have to clean. If I were to take this attitude toward my relationship with God, I could easily put off spending time with him until tomorrow…or the next day…or the next, etc. If I didn’t realize how important time spent with Him is, I could lose sight of what belief in Him looks like rather than feels like.
This is tricky! I’m not saying you need to “force yourself” in your relationship with Christ, but I’ve noticed something about myself: I’m prone to slip into times where I “put off” good things. Cleaning, eating healthy, working out, sleeping enough, spending time with God…the list goes on. Especially in this New Year I’ve realized the reality of obeying then feeling. I don’t take this as a rule for my life, but I believe there are times when we are called to obedience, despite how we may feel, and then the Lord changes our hearts through the process.
I saw my lack of dedicated time with the Lord and realized things weren’t just going to magically change. I prayed and asked for His help, then decided I would do something about it. I started putting an alarm across the room so I would have to get up and out of bed to turn it off. Then, with that extra morning time, I focused on reading His word, journaling, praying, and spending time with Him before my day began.
I won’t say I’ve got it all figured out, but God has taken me from a place of obedience to a place of enjoyment! On most days I look forward to 6 a.m. (I realize that’s not early for some of you…but when you work from home and don’t have to get up, it’s a sacrifice *hehe*).
I urge you to evaluate your habits. Invite the Lord into this time with you and see where He would have you obey. Then pray that the obedience would lead to desire and desire to joy!
Emilie is a freelance writer and photographer living in the heart of Washington, D.C. She’s a member of ACFW and currently working on a romantic suspense series while dreaming up YA Sci-Fi dystopian worlds on the side.
She’s got a soft spot in her heart for animals and a love for the mountains of the Pacific Northwest.