Sneak Peek at Fearlessness

Man pushing a giant, heavy stone, rock over the mountain.Here’s a sneak peek at the book I’m currently writing, Seven Days of Fearlessness. My goal is to finish it by the end of this month. My plate is less full than normal right now, and I’ve set aside a week to hide and write at a cabin in the woods owned by some friends of ours (thank you S and T, I love you), so finishing is actually feasible. However (if this isn’t the most ironic thing I’ve said all year, I don’t know what is), the whole idea of finishing this book about fearlessness is giving me anxiety: What if, when I’m finally done, I realize I’ve written nothing more than a 30,000-word collection of drivel and slop? Or what if I leave out something crucial, or—worst of all—say something that’s not doctrinally sound? What if I not only fail to find a publishing company who wants it, but they send me rejection emails full of LOL emoticons?

And that’s when I remember that I’m doing the very thing this book addresses: fretting. Spending my energy on worry. Wasting precious time on ridiculous, exhausting thought processes. In other words, the truth the Lord gave me, and which I’m attempting to put down on paper in this book, needs to be said. So let’s get on with it.

When Jesus called His disciples, He expected immediate obedience, and they gave Him just that. The moment He said, “Follow Me,” they dropped what they were doing and walked away from their old lives. There was no time to second-guess Jesus’ command, work out the details, overthink the situation, or even say goodbye to their friends and family. Imagine if Peter, Andrew, and the rest had said, “We want to follow You, Jesus, but it’s scary to abandon everything we’ve known to go who-knows-where and do who-knows-what as Your disciples. As soon as we muster up the courage and work out the details, we’ll give You a call.” No doubt Jesus would have moved on and found other disciples who were willing to obey before they possessed full understanding, unwavering faith, or unflappable courage. 

Sometimes, faith and fortitude arise in our heart, followed by obedience. But more often, obedience must happen while faith, understanding, and courage are in short supply. Don’t wait for the courage to follow Jesus unreservedly, or one day you’ll be eighty years old and wondering why He never gave you the wherewithal to change your corner of the world. The original command—”Follow Me”—is all you need to obey. Courage and clarity will be released in the obeying. 

 

From: Seven Days of Fearlessness

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Dancing Around Obedience

I, like many if not most believers, have a great collection of excuses I use to dance around obedience to God. Have you ever sensed the Lord’s displeasure about a certain behavior and prayed, “Lord, give me the grace to stop”? And yet He’s already provided the grace: “[God’s] commands are not a burden” (1 Jn. 5:3). And yet we try to convince ourselves that God doesn’t really expect us to obey until we feel like it. We want to be obedient, and surely that’s good enough, right?

Silhouette illustration of a woman hand grabbing an appleWe’re so silly! We don’t get brownie points with God for recognizing sin while failing to follow through—or for simply knowing we should obey—or for hoping that one day we will obey. We convince ourselves it’s ok to postpone obedience until it no longer requires sacrifice… until it no longer hurts… until it’s as easy as sinning.

If we’re completely honest, we’ll admit that we often try to bargain with God in regard to sin. We try to help Him see it our way, or to persuade Him that He’s being unreasonable in His expectations. We’re too cowardly to say what we really mean: “Lord, I hear what You’re asking of me, but I’d rather not, so… no.” God’s instructions are simple and straightforward: “If you love Me, you will keep My commands” (John 14:15). Our obedience should be just as simple and straightforward: “Yes, Sir.”

Which Comes First—Faith or Obedience?

06829c0e-43e8-420d-b286-cb646a169812Which comes first, faith or obedience? If the Lord instructs me to quit my job and move to Uganda but my faith level is a one out of ten, should I do it anyway? What if I lived as though I had great faith and boldness even when I was full of doubt? Would genuine faith follow?

This is the chicken-and-the-egg dilemma of Christianity. “Which comes first?” is a valid question, but too often we ask it because we’re searching for an excuse for inactivity. We hear the directive of the Lord and then wait, year after year, for the faith that will give us the courage to obey. But if faith always precedes obedience, how do we explain Jesus’ expectation of immediate, unquestioning obedience from His disciples? When He rallied them, He left no time for them to conjure up the faith to leave everything behind and follow Him. And He expects the same immediate, unquestioning response from us.

Storm and sunset.Commit to obey God because you desire Him and because you know that the God-life necessitates obedience even when you’re quaking on the inside. To wait for the faith to obey when He asks you to do something risky is to put the cart before the horse. When we obey in spite of doubt, we’ll discover that the faith is suddenly there. A. W. Tozer taught that faith and obedience were two sides of the same coin. He said, “Truth … demands obedience before it will unveil its riches to the seeking soul.”

Today, if your faith is feeble, I challenge you to live this day as though you had great faith. Live as though you were completely confident that there’s nothing to fear and God is in control, and see what happens. Do this every day for three months and your life will never be the same.

Rom. 6:17: “Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey” (NLT).