Eating chips, fries, burgers, ice cream, or any unhealthy stuff is always easy. They look good and they taste nice even though they are unhealthy. But the first time we served the kids broccoli, they needed some encouragement. It did not look appealing and it did not taste as nice as Crispy Skin Roast Pork.
They were adamant that they did not want to eat the broccoli. We assured them that it was good for their health and it tasted rather nice too. After some encouragement plus some assurance, they finally ate their first broccoli. Since then, they can eat broccoli quite well without much encouragement.
Now, let me ask you one question: “Why do you think they did not want to eat the broccoli?” It did not look good is one thing. It might not taste as nice as an ice cream is another thing. But, you see, if you think deeper, the real reason they did not want to eat the first time is really this: they did not trust us. They did not trust us, the parents, that broccoli is good for their health. They thought we wanted to serve them bad food. They did not believe that we want the best for them. Only after some assurance, they decided to take the leap of faith and ate the broccoli.
Isn’t it the same with every one of us? Many times the reason we don’t obey God, or we don’t obey any law for that matter, is really because we don’t trust Him.
Friends, when we have faith in God, when we believe that God is who He says He is and/or He will do what He says He will do, the natural result is that we will do what He says we should do. If we have such conviction without any change in our lives, then that’s not faith. That’s just information or knowledge. Faith is personalised in such a way that your life cannot help but change.
My kids can say, “Yeah, I believe you, but we still won’t eat the broccoli.” That would not be faith. That would just be knowledge. Not only it shows that they really don’t trust us, it also displeases us. No wonder, when God says that only faith can please Him, we can understand how He feels when we don’t trust Him.
James 2:18 (NIV) 18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.
The Bible is littered with stories of ordinary and insignificant people who trust and obey the strong and powerful God. It is about God’s revelation and the people who responded to God in faith. And it invites us to respond to God in faith too.
Let’s take Abraham for example. Abraham may claim to trust God. But if he did not obey God when God asked him to sacrifice Isaac, his trust was not faith. It was simply information or knowledge. But Abraham obeyed, and that’s faith. He believed God and he is ready to obey even though it did not make sense to him.
What about Noah? Imagine if Noah did not build the Ark. Imagine if he says, “I believe you Lord, but building an Ark just does not make any sense.” That’s not faith, and that’s not pleasing to God. But Noah’s faith is accompanied by his obedience. That’s true faith.
Jesus told us to love our enemies, and be forgiving. Friends, you can only do that if you believe that God loves you even when you are still his enemy, and if you believe that God forgives your sins. If you are unable to love your enemies, it is really because of lack of faith. It’s really because you don’t have faith that God will take care of justice for you. It’s not a problem of will, but a problem of faith.
What about giving? The Bible told us to give cheerfully, generously, and sacrificially. You can only do it if you have faith in God’s providence in your life. You cannot claim to have faith in Jehovah Jireh, God the Provider, if you don’t give sacrificially. Jehovah Jireh is just information if you don’t give.
What about serving? The bible told us to serve one another in love.
You can only do it if you have faith in God that has served you first, that has loved you first. You can only do it if you have faith that God will bless you and will take care of your need in such a way that you are free to take care of other people’s needs and serve them first before serving yourself.
The next time you find it hard to obey God, perhaps it’s wise to examine what aspect or character of God that you find it hard to believe. Disobedience is really a problem of faith, not will.
Faith is a conviction that God is who He says He is, He will do what He says He will do, and as a result, we do what He says we should do. In the next post, we will look at other implication of our conviction about God.