Obedience and Outcome
One of my favorite maxims is: Obedience is our part, Outcome is God’s part. It sounds fairly simple, but it is a concept with which we struggle in so many ways. Part of our human self-will is to desire to manage outcome. We want to be in control. We will work until we drop, manipulate situations or people, fret ourselves to tears, all in the effort to, or in despair of, the management of outcome.
Inevitably God sets us up to come to the realization (hopefully) that while we may influence outcome, we are not responsible for it: He is. He allows us to find ourselves in situations where we are in over our heads and out of control, and then tells us to obey in ways that seem to defy our logic. Our natural reaction is to DO something to affect the situation, to manipulate outcome, but He is telling us just to obey and trust.
Trust—that is what it gets down to. The old hymn says, “Trust and obey for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus.” Jesus demonstrated this concept so much in His own relationship with the Father. Many of the temptations Satan used in the desert were to entice Jesus to take things into His own hands and manipulate the situation. Jesus chose to obey, and leave the outcome to God, even in things as simple as feeding Himself (not turning the stones to bread, which was fully within His power to do).
This does not mean we always stand idly by when we can act, but that our actions are constantly guided by responses led by the Holy Spirit. He will move us to speak or be silent, to give to one person or withhold from another, to strive with all our hearts or to rest in the face of the “great undone.” In this way our obedience trusts in His outcome. It becomes a fragrant offering of faith beyond our ability to see.
by Sheri Cook, Director of Special Ministries