The rewards of obedience are awesome, but sometimes the process is agonising. ‘Even though Jesus was God’s Son, He learned obedience from the things He suffered. In this way, God qualified Him.’ (Hebrews 5:8–9 NLT) Before God promotes you to a position of usefulness in His service, He qualifies you. We admire the faith of Abraham who took his son Isaac up Mount Moriah and laid him on the altar.
But the story doesn’t make sense until you read the first verse in the chapter: ‘Some time later, God tested Abraham’s faith.’ (Genesis 22:1 NLT) After Abraham passed God’s test of his faith and obedience, God told him, ‘I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies.’ (Genesis 22:17 NIV)
Understand this: when you pray and ask God for success, you’re inviting Him to test your faith and obedience. God probably won’t test you at the same level He tested Jesus or Abraham. But it’s the smaller tests that prepare you to handle the bigger assignments in God’s kingdom. In his book, The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis’ senior devil talks to his nephew Wormwood about their mutual enemy, the Lord. ‘Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.’
The obedience God desires from you today is obedience that rises above your feelings and circumstances and says, ‘Yes, Lord!’