“Trust” and “obey” are little words but they are words that can and do make a significant difference in our lives. We probably first heard these words very early in our lives. The first time we heard them may have been from our parents. Maybe it was a father encouraging us to ride our new two-wheel bicycle for the first time as he held the back of our seat, saying “trust me, I will not let you fall”. Or maybe it was the first time we jumped off the side of the swimming pool into the arms of one of our parents saying, “trust me, I’ll catch you”. Or, it might have been when one of our parents scolded us at a very young age for not obeying them. I can still hear my Mom promising to spank me or one of my two younger sisters with the fly swatter if we didn’t obey her when she told us to do something. At some point in our lives we begin to realize that there are negative consequences when we choose to be disobedient.
As we grow older, we encounter many people in our lives who either ask us to trust them or to obey them. Sometimes we are asked to do both, just as we were with our parents. Trust is a part of any worthwhile relationship, whether that relationship is with a relative, a friend, a mate, or a business associate. Obedience is also a part of our lives as we obey civil laws, corporate policy or some other guidelines of our society. Most of us, at least by the time we reach adulthood, find ourselves on the other side of ‘trust’ and ‘obey’ as we urge children to obey us or we ask others to trust us in one of several different ways.
If we were to look these words up in Websters dictionary we would find the noun trust defined as “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something” or “one in which confidence is placed”. The verb trust would show “to place confidence in” as one of its meanings. Terms such as “to conform to”, “to comply with”, “to follow the commands or guidance of” can be found in the definition of the word obey.
These words become significant in our spiritual lives as well. It is in God that we are to “place our confidence”. God, through His Son Jesus, wants to be our authority, the giver of grace and mercy in forgiveness of sins, and the giver of an eternal life with Him in Heaven. As His children, we are “to follow the commands or guidance of” His teachings that are given to us in His Word. We are to be obedient to our Heavenly Father, just as we were to be obedient as children to our earthly parents.
The words of the old hymn, Trust and Obey1, so beautifully summarize what scripture teaches us about trusting and obeying Jesus.
When we walk with the Lord, In the light of His Word
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey
Trust and obey, For there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, But to trust and obey.
Not a burden we bear, Not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doeth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, Not a frown or a cross,
But is blest if we trust and obey.
But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows and the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey
Then in fellowship sweet, we will sit at His feet
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
>Never fear, only trust and obey.
We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.
1 John 2:3-6 (New International Version)
Lord God, may all who read this message grow daily in trust and obedience of Your ways. Amen.
1John H. Sammis, 1846-1919 and Daniel B. Towner, 1950—1919