Devotional: ‘Trust and Obey’


James 4:17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

Whenever I read this passage my mind goes back to a Sunday night I experienced many years ago. Let me tell you about it.

Around the time I graduated from high school the Lord began to impress upon my heart that He was wanting me to go into the ministry. Today being a pastor seems very natural to me, but let me assure you that it wasn’t so way back then. Though I professed to know Christ as my Savior, I didn’t always live for Him. Even as God was revealing to me His call upon my life, I was struggling in my walk with Him. How then did I know that this was His will for me? I’m not sure how I knew. I just knew.

I struggled with God’s call upon my life for over ten years. Much of my struggle had to do with trusting God with the unknown. What if God wanted me to become a missionary in Africa? What if God wanted me to be a poor preacher in Iowa? What if after I quit my job I realized that God wasn’t calling me? What if…?

Because of all the uncertainties, it was very easy for me to put-off my obedience. As time passed I got married, we began a family, and I established a career in engineering. Yet the call of God was always in the back of my mind.

Then one Sunday night my pastor read this verse of scripture during his sermon – “Whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” It was as though the Holy Spirit began to speak directly to me. During His conversation He said – “The only way you’re ever going to be obedient is to be obedient. There’s not going to be words written across the sky or a booming voice out of heaven. You already know in your heart what the right thing is to do and I’m waiting on you to begin doing it.” So without knowing where the road might lead me, I went forward at the end of the service and knelt down to pray. As I prayed, I began to weep like I had never wept before. I cried not because I was sad, but because it as though a million pounds was finally being lifted off of my shoulders.

I won’t pretend to you that the journey has always been easy, yet I can tell you that the Lord has always been faithful. The Bible says – “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” [1]

Over the years a hymn by John H. Sammis has become very dear to me. It’s entitled – ‘Trust and Obey’ .

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.

[1] 1 Thessalonians 5:24

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