Recently, I've been reading through the Gospels and I've discovered something I never really considered before. Love, Obedience and Faith are all so intricately connected, that one cannot exist without the other.
- You cannot love God and not obey Him. In fact John goes so far as to say that love itself is obeying God. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments 1 John 5:3
- You cannot obey God unless you love Him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him 1 John 2:5
- You do not have faith unless you obey God. Obedience is an expression of your faith in God. If you don't obey God, you neither believe in Him nor love Him.
Jesus always demanded action from those He called to follow Him. He never asked them to simply recite the sinner's prayer and then go about their business. Everyone He called, everyone He healed, He either rewarded them for stepping out in faith or He required them to step out in faith. What is interesting is that all of these people had very little faith at the time they encountered Jesus. Oh sure, they may have heard about Jesus, heard He was some kind of prophet, but their faith in Him as the Son of God was pretty much non-existent. In fact, most of Jesus's own disciples didn't even truly believe He was God until after His ressurection.
But they obeyed the call of Jesus and their faith started to grow with that very first step. As the great theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer says, "the response of the disciples is an act of obedience not a confession of faith. Only he who is obedient can believe. . .For faith is only real when there is obedience, never without it, and faith only becomes faith in the act of obedience.
Do you find yourself lacking in faith? Try obeying Jesus and stepping out of the boat!