As a dad, raising obedient children is a high priority. I want them to be obedient to their parents, obedient to their teachers, obedient to others in authority and, especially, obedient to God. I am a firm believer that whatever it is we want to see in our children must first be visible in us as the parents. Romans 1:5 says that as believers we are called to an “obedience that comes from faith.” But what exactly does that look like?
Obedience From Faith
An obedience that comes from faith means that we are obedient to the things of heaven rather than earthly desires. It means being obedient to God’s plan and God’s will instead of our own; obedient to His word and not the philosophies of this world; obedient to live our lives – our actions, our thoughts, our attitudes – for God’s glory in every day that He gives us. And the only way we are able to do that is through the gift of grace He has given us as believers. But we don’t do this in a vacuum. Our obedience in our faith is meant to be observed by others.
How we live out our lives in obedience to our faith becomes an example – good or bad – for those who are watching us, especially our children. I will be honest with you; some areas of faith are easier to be obedient in than others, and yet we are called to be obedient in all areas of our faith. One of the biggest areas I used to struggle in became one of the hardest trials to endure as God taught me obedience in that area: my finances.
In 2011, my wife came to me with a theme for the year. She said let’s “out-give heaven in 2011.” It was a challenge based on something our pastor had recently said about not being able to out-give heaven, and it sounded like a fun project. Financially, we were doing well, so it wasn’t a big stretch for me to agree to join in on a three-year offering plan at our church. In addition, during the summer of that year, my wife and I discussed increasing our tithe on an annual basis above and beyond the 10% we had been giving.
And then it happened. Two weeks after our commitment to increase our tithe, I made the tough decision to lay myself off from my job as V.P. and senior designer for the family architectural firm that I had been a part of for 23 years. We were now faced with the decision of whether to pull back on our financial commitments or to keep moving forward and trust God to take care of us. We chose to move forward.
Miracles At Work
Over the next four years, we watched God do miraculous things in our family financially. Every two weeks, I would grab the basket of bills and receipts and my wife would ask, “Are you doing bills? I’ll start praying.” Month after month, I would come upstairs with the same report: “The math doesn’t work but all bills are paid.”
During those four years of struggle and financial hardship, God reduced our incredibly high mortgage interest rate down to 2% without us doing a thing, and He provided me with a part-time job that helped supplement my wife’s job. When my wife lost her job due to health reasons, my part-time job became full-time almost immediately. My wife was hired and laid off again nine months later, and though we went without health insurance for months at a time, God keep all of us healthy. During all of this time, we never stopped our offering commitment or our commitment to increase our tithe every year.
I am sure you have heard many stories like this before; I know I have, especially after the devastating recession we have all endured. But what I wanted to get across was not so much about the financial struggles I faced, but what it means to be obedient in our faith. My obedience was revealed through my finances, but yours may be revealed in another area of your life – most likely, the area that you struggle with the most when it comes to surrendering to God. The challenge I have for you is to be obedient in all areas, not just the convenient ones, and to remember that your obedience to your faith is being observed by someone. What kind of example will you portray?
You may also be interested in How To Surrender To God & Find Hope When Tragedy Strikes