What is it about a fire that so captures our attention? I’ve spent many nights sitting around a campfire staring into its depths, transfixed by the yellow to orange to red flames. Dancing and curling, the flames hungrily consume logs, branches, and twigs. (And yes, sometimes the fire consumes my marshmallow.)
If the fire diminishes, instinctively I reach for more wood to keep the fire burning brightly. I don’t want the heat or the dance to die.
A fire begins when spark meets tinder. Tinder ignites and the flame spreads to kindling. Then soon larger pieces of combustible material are added to the small fire and it grows. Without this fuel, a fire will eventually burn itself out.
Similarly, a fiery, passionate faith needs a continuous source of spiritual fuel to keep it burning. Otherwise, the flames shrink and our once vibrant faith cools to a dispassionate, common thing. (Read about how to gather “spiritual tinder” that burns easily.) Scripture reveals a close connection between our obedience and an intimate, fiery, relationship with Jesus.
Obedience Keeps the Faith Fire Burning
Obedience keeps our faith burning strong. Obedience keeps the lines of communication open and fosters our dependence on God (John 15:10). Disobedience builds walls and cultivates stubborn independence from God.
I would love to say I always obey God. Unfortunately, even when I know exactly what God wants me to do, I still sometimes rebelliously chose my own way. Why is that? Recently I heard Patsy Clairmont say something that I think explains it well. “Obeying God is simple. It just isn’t always easy.”
Obedience often comes with a price. We may have to give up time, resources, or comfort. Obedience may mean ridicule or endurance. Sometimes, I see the path of obedience, but balk because of some pain, hardship, or even simple inconvenience it may bring.
An Example of Fiery-Faithed Obedience
My friend Jan trusted God and obeyed Him even when it was hard. When the music minister left Jan’s church to obey his own call from God, the senior pastor asked Jan to be the interim music minister.
Jan felt inadequate to fill this role. Although God gifted her with a beautiful voice and an incredible ear for music, Jan did not have any experience leading a worship team or a congregation:
At first, I told my pastor I couldn’t do it. I sing harmony—not lead! I can’t even read music! Yet, with all my excuses I knew all God wanted was my obedience. The next thing I knew I was sitting in a pile of music, telling God I didn’t even know how to put a worship service together and couldn’t do it without Him; He was going to have to do it through me. And He has! I keep obeying and leaning on Him and He keeps doing the job He gave me.
God called Jan to a task she could not do. She had plenty of logical reasons to refuse, but one thing overrode all that logical reasoning. She knew God had asked her to do it. So, Jan responded with obedience. She trusted God with the music theory, leadership challenges, time, and planning and Jan received the overwhelming blessings of seeing God’s miraculous work and sensing His pleasure.
Think about that hard thing God has asked you to do. What would happen if you obeyed? Imagine how God could ignite your faith if you trusted Him and allowed Him to work in your life like only He can.
Has God asked you to do something hard? What is it? What holds you back?