Doing What's Right Takes Faith


Don't expect to see a connection between the right thing to do and your circumstances

We are living in a time when we are being told on every side to do what makes sense rather than what is right. We are told to save for the future, to make wise investments, to protect our assets. Most of the advice we are receiving today is designed to make life safer, not necessarily better. Rarely do we hear someone say, "Take a chance."

Doing the right thing doesn't always make sense if we are trying to see a connection between it and what is going on around us. But God never promised that His way would always make sense, or that we would see a connection between it and our present circumstances.

For example, did Noah see a connection between what God was asking him to do and saving the world, since he had never even seen rain before? Did Abraham see a connection between becoming "a stranger in a strange land"–or especially between offering up Isaac as a sacrifice–and what God had promised him? Did Moses see a connection between what God asked him to do and the end results? Did anyone in the Bible? Yet, there was one.

Christ said that if we want to find our life, we have to lose it, and Paul preached the need to die to ourselves and become living sacrifices. Are there any two concepts less connected than dying and living? Yet, there is a connection.

We know that a seed cannot reproduce unless it "dies" in the ground. A caterpillar cannot become a butterfly unless it "dies" in its cocoon. And Christ could not have risen from the grave unless He first died on the cross. There is a definite connection between "dying" and becoming something better.

How can someone do something that makes no sense, and seems totally disconnected from anything going on around him, even though it is God asking him to do it? There can be only one answer: faith. Just as courage is what is needed to face fear, faith is what is needed to face the unknown. It may be uncomfortable, even frightening, it may even seem insane–but it is the only way to do what is right.

For the past four years I have been working on a book–my first one. I don't think anything in our society is more of a "shot in the dark" than writing a book, unless it is making a film. The chances of getting published are very small, and the chances of the book being a success are even smaller. So, why do it? The only answer I can give is that it's the right thing to do.

Sometimes, that is all the answer we have: it's the right thing to do. I believe that is also the best answer. Not because it makes sense. Not because everyone else is doing it. Not because my financial advisor told me it was a good investment. But because it is right.

That, in my opinion, is the distinctive of a true man or woman. They do what they do because it is right. God has told us many things to do: tithe, honor the Sabbath, love our enemies. Very few of His dictates "make sense." Yet, we know they are right because He told us to do them. And, when we face ridicule or persecution for doing them, we don't continue because of self-righteous pride, we continue because of faith. Self-righteous pride won't motivate when our lives are at stake, as they may be in many countries today where Christianity is illegal. But faith will.

If we always have to see a connection between means and end before we will do something, then we are not living by faith. The first question we should always ask in a situation is, "Is it right?" not, "Does it make sense?" Our society has taught us to ask the latter question almost automatically. It takes retraining our minds to ask the first. But that is what the Holy Spirit is prompting us to do.

Hebrews 11:6 says, "And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him." Everyone in the Bible had his own way of seeking God according to His plan for their lives, and very few of them "made sense." So, don't worry if what you're doing today doesn't make sense, or if others don't understand why you're doing it. As a matter of fact, I would say you should worry if it does.


Waitsel Smith, July 17, 2007

Text © 2007 Waitsel Smith. Image by Rembrandt. All rights reserved.

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