When Obedience Feels Foolish

Let’s be honest, it’s natural to wonder if God’s plan is perfect. To question if you can trust Him. To give thought to if He really is good.

Maybe you’re like me and in a season where God’s calling on your life seems nonsensical, and if we’re being honest, downright foolish. Maybe He’s calling you to stay in that job or leave that job, to stay married or stay single, to make the move or stay planted, or a million other possible prospects. Obedience can be hard, especially when God’s calling on our life comes in the most perplexing and baffling ways.

Simon (Peter) knew this all too well. Remember when Jesus told him to let down his fishing nets right after he’d come in from fishing all night with absolutely zero luck?

Jesus said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” [Luke 5:4-5]
I think we all easily relate to Simon in questioning God’s questionable ways. The real question though is if we can relate to Simon by following up our doubt with obedience - with “but because you say so…”

Here’s what I’m learning: oftentimes steps of obedience take leaps of faith.

It’s hard to think of obedience without naturally thinking of one of the greatest, and perhaps highest, acts of obedience in Scripture: Abraham and his son Isaac. Genesis 22:2 tells us:

Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”

I love God’s not-so-subtle reminders that He drops in throughout this verse:

- “Take your son” (the one I promised you and gave you against all odds)

- “Your only son” (the one and only son who can fulfill the promise I made to you earlier)

- “Whom you love” (remember what a miracle he was?)

“Yeah, take him and go sacrifice him.” It’s almost as if God is reminding Abraham how ludicrous this calling is. But Abraham does it! The story continues:

When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. [Genesis 22:9-13]

This is such a beautiful picture of the sacrifice offered in faith through obedience. James speaks of this fundamental step further in the New Testament:

Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. [James 2:21-22] 

The life of faith is not passively waiting around for God to do something and it doesn’t end with us saying, “Okay God, I trust you.” The life of faith is trusting God’s sovereign hand, however irrational it may seem to appear, and walking obediently in the calling He has on our life.

Think of it this way: the parachute doesn’t work until you jump. God calls and prompts us, we take a step of faith through obedience and He moves and works. So my advice? Take God at His word. Trust the parachute. Hebrews 11:11 tells us that Abraham “considered Him faithful who had made the promise.” Do you consider God faithful? You need only look to His past faithfulness. That is your confidence.

I know in my own life I’m learning that the cost of obedience is most often high. It hurts, it requires holding the desires of your heart with open hands and it almost always appears utterly irrational, but God is never more near to us than when we’re obedient to Him.

Paul David Tripp puts it so powerfully: “When He calls, He goes with you. What He calls you to do, He empowers by His grace. When He guides, He protects.”

I will leave you with this incredible promise:

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” [Proverbs 3:5-6]
Sharable Quotes:
Jared Iler // Creative Director at Humbled Daily
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1 comment

  • This message spoke directly to me today when I least expected it. I realized it during prayer at a board meeting at church and it was something that was perfect timing for the season we are in.

    Matt

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