Are you being Obedient?
Principle Bible Passages: Deuteronomy 13: 4; 1 Samuel 15:22; Proverbs 19:16; Acts 5:29; John 14:14; 15:14; 2 Corinthians 10:5; Hebrews 13:17
Obedience is submitting to what God requires of us. This call of our Lord will help motivate us to keep seeking Him and cleaving to Him, regardless of the circumstances, so we will be able to keep His precepts and be loyal to His call. It is also recognizing authority and direction from others, such as the pastor and church, so winning situations can result.
This is the practice of our pure loyalty to our Lord to go all out in faith. It helps us focus on Him and what He has done for us so we change from the inside out, our inward renovation becoming Christ-like to undergo His will, mind, and precepts. Obedience means having perfect confidence in Christ so we daily present ourselves to God as our LORD. We are essentially putting our faith into practice. We carefully seek what God requires of us and then align our lives with Him and His standards and call to the best of our ability. We seek Him first, not what interests or pleases us or others' demands of us. This Discipline is used by the Spirit to inspire us to keep our Lord first and foremost, cleaving to Him, regardless of the circumstances, so we will be able to keep His precepts and be loyal to His call. This helps us see our sinful nature and how Christ has rescued us from self destruction so we will know from whence we came and have no desire to go back. We are enabled by the Sprit and the cooperation of our faith to stick with Him even in times of dire suffering. This Discipline also helps us with our interpersonal relationships by recognizing authority and direction from others, such as the pastor and church, so the results will be winning situations.
What Obedience is Not
It is not slavery to God, or a loss of what is good for "me." Obedience frees us from sin and keeps us on the best that God has for us. True happiness is not based on what pleases us; rather, it is being in the center of God's love and will. When we focus on Him, we see that with His Lordship comes more insights, resources, and privileges than we could ever understand. This gives us deeper, richer joy. When we refuse to obey Him, we just sin and keep on sinning, refusing to submit or acknowledge our sins, hurts, anger, or agendas, or repent from and grow away from them. When we have the maturity to change and grow for the better, seeking and following Him and not our pride or the world's ways, we will become victorious. Our faith will be firm! We must listen to Him and remove anything that hinders purity in our faith and devotion to Christ.
Obedience is not Willfulness, or having a strong-willed mindset; rather, it is our lining up with His precepts and call. It is the self-surrender of our will so we become less in our spirit and more in His Spirit. Even in the Old Testament, God was more concerned with people's trust and obedience than with their offerings and sacrifices. God delights in our obedience. He does not demand it, nor is it required for our salvation. It is something we do because, as the hymn goes, "there is no other way!"
The counterfeit to obedience is creating our own opportunities with the devotion and zeal to go with them. The raging euphoria that sporting events generate is a substitute for the devotion that we should have to our Lord. There is nothing wrong with sporting events and nothing wrong with cheering for them, but why can't we do that for God? Enthusiasm paves a dangerous path when it refuses to learn and yield to God's glory.
What happens when we do not live out Obedience?
We will be rampaged by disobedience, live our lives in defiance, and be in rebellion to His call and wondrous opportunities. We will, in effect, be ignoring our salvation and what we have been given by Christ; the consequences bring great loss to us. Our focus becomes comfort; we strive to seek personal betterment though careers and money, and when we do not get what we want, we resort to manipulation and greed. Christ's focus is how to sanctify and perfect us, not to just please and pamper us! We have to see how important putting our faith into practice is. If we do not, we will lose out on His opportunities and learning experiences. We will not seek His love and precepts, and thus, will ignore His call. This will produce the rotten fruits that move us to Disobedience, Defiance, and Rebellion. As a result our attitude, we will flee from God, and we will just end up doing our own thing. We will have no fear of God; we will do as we please, thus placing ourselves on the paths of chaos, strife, and destruction in all we do in life; this leads to a depressed and disconnected life. We will have no desire to serve Him or do the right thing outside of obligation. We will sin! We will miss out on true intimacy, destroy relationships, hinder growth in ourselves and others, and miss out on maturity and the wonder of His plan.
Are you a person who is obedience to the call and percepts of our Lord from His Word and Spirit? Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and Fruit of Obedience from these bible passages, just chose any three, then ask yourself:
- How do I exhibit Obedience in my daily life?
- What can I do to develop a better willingness to be instructed by God and godly people?
- What blocks Obedience from working and being exhibited in me?
- How can I make Obedience function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress?
- How would you define Obedience? Do your friends and family see you making sacrifices to obey God?
- When would there be an occasion to be rebellious? Are you afraid of obeying God? If so, why?
- How does Defiance counteract Obedience? What is the cost to others (God, family, friends, neighbors, church, workplace, etc.) when you are a rebellious person?
- What happens to your relationship with God, with others, and with the opportunities God gives you, when you are disobedient?
- When have you been filled with Obedience the most?
- In what situation did you fail to be cooperative when you should have been?
- What issue is in your life that would improve with more Obedience? Are you willing to be a cooperative person? Do you know when it is Biblically necessary not to be?
- Think through the steps you need to take to put Obedience into action in a specific instance. Read Romans 13:1-2. Ask yourself, how can I accept the word, "no" from those in authority (when it does not violate God's precepts) without appeals, discussions, complaining, gossip and such? Read Colossians 3:23: Instead of jumping to no, I cannot, rather, seek how can I, with God and others?
To see this further, sing and meditate on the hymn, Trust and Obey!
Character will not stay with us. It is easier kept than recovered, and yet, it flees from so many who had it. Just look at the life of Saul. We do not wake up one day with it. When we do have it, others will see it, may even point to it, or be discipled from it.
By our obedience in faith, we may suffer temptations, trouble, persecution, and condemnation from the world. It may seem our foundation has shifted by that consent beating, but He will remain steadfast in us when we remain steadfast in our faith! Keep your faith real, valuable, and practical on His solid Rock. He will not leave you, nor forsake you (1 Cor. 3:11; 10:4; Eph. 2:20; 1 Pet. 2:4-6; Heb. 13:5). So, let Him be the Rock-solid foundation of your life (Matt. 7:24-29)!
Here are positive examples from Scripture (2 Chron. 17:1-6; Acts 8:26-40; Phil. 2:1-11; James 1:22-25)
Here are negative examples from Scripture (Josh. 7: 16-21; 1 Sam. 15:17-23; Jonah 1:1-3; Matt. 15:1-9; Heb. 3:7-19)
(This lesson is taken in part from the Character of Obedience and the Discipline of Obedience)
© 2003 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Discipleship Tools http://www.discipleshiptools.org/