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The Practice of Obedience

By Dr. Richard J. Krejcir
How Obedient are you? Obedience is an aspect of our faith that comes from our submission, surrender and compliance to His will.

How Obedient are you?

Principle Scriptures on Obedience: Deuteronomy 13: 4; 1 Samuel 15:22; Proverbs 19:16; Acts 5:29; John 14:14; 15; 2 Corinthians 10:5; Romans 6:14; Galatians 4:19; Hebrews 13:17

Obedience is an aspect of our faith that comes from our submission, surrender and compliance to His will. Each one of these "Disciplines" begets the other and is "synergistic" to the other (see our Discipline Chanel for more info and studies on this). This means each of these disciplines combines and cooperates for a greater total effect than if they stood alone. Thus all of these Disciplines spur our Obedience, and Obedience to our Lord spurs on our faith fueled from the Spirit and the practice of Submission and Surrender to communicate the elements of our faith. In all, they produce a vibrant, effectual, lasting, and impacting faith that is better than if we did not practice them.

Keep in mind obedience are not a form of "synergism," a theological belief that our human will cooperates with the Holy Spirit in Christ's work of regeneration. Many Christians feel that the obedience as well as the disciplines of the faith are some sort of "synergism," but this is not the case. The correct biblical theological position is called "monergism" which means that the Holy Spirit acts independently by the will of the Father and work of the Son, who is our Redeemer, to bring us the work of regeneration. This grants us the right and ability to obey God and His precepts because of the covenant of grace we are given (John 1:13; 3:5-6, 6:37-39; Acts 2:39, 13:48; Rom. 9:16; 1 Pet. 1:3). Thus, obedience has nothing to do with our salvation or regeneration; rather, this is about our "sanctification," our growth in our faith. And, in our growth, we do coordinate our efforts with His for His glory (Gal. 2:20-21; Eph. 2:1-10; Luke 24:26; John 15; 17:2; 2 Cor. 1:39; Phil. 3:10; 1 Thess. 4:3; 5:23-24; Heb. 2:10).

Obedience is not just a synonym to Surrender or Submission; it is more of a continual application of our faith. We are giving up our will; when we are willing to relinquish our plans, agendas, and desire for control, then Christ is in control. It is the ultimate application of our trust that leads to a life of real obedience. We abandon our self-centered life so it is Christ-centered; this requires continual striving on our part. Thus, it is a discipline as we have to always work at it. As more sin and the resulting choices come into our minds and lives, we have to realize His love, plan, and percepts; we must focus on Christ and surrender to His Lordship so we can be a person of faith and obedience.

When we submit, we place ourselves at Christ's feet. When we surrender, we give Him our all. And, when we obey, we put it all into action and continue at it all because we believe and trust Him as LORD and are filled with reverence and gratefulness to the Lord, Creator, and Sustainer of the universe-and also of ME!

Why should we be obedient? Consider the cost and acts of our Lord Jesus Christ! What did He give and pay for us to have salvation and eternity in heaven? Consider that the only human made things in heaven are the scars of our Lord made by the hands of men-by you and me. Consider the fact that His birth was for His death, and His death was for our birth! The bottom line is that God is much more concerned with our spiritual growth than anything else. This growth comes through the synergistic work of the Spirit and our practice of our faith that develops our maturity and character and seasons our relationships that glorify and make Him known.

Obedience shows our worship and appreciation to Christ by our identifying with Christ as our Lord. Obedience is not just in words, but also in deeds that demonstrate our words through practice and action (James 1:22-25)! When we read and/or hear the Word of God, we will have the desire and heed the call to put it into action. There will be times we do not feel like it, but our obedience will override our feelings so that we remain steadfast and secure (1 Thess. 2:23). This helps us see what is important in life. It helps us become more established and grow us further and firmer in the faith as all the Disciplines do. But this one is the clincher; it is the application of all the Disciplines.

When we practice the obedience, it means we are not ashamed of the Gospel, as Paul proclaimed in Romans 1:16, so that our devotion becomes contagious to those around us. Obedience is not something we dread, or feel we have to do, nor is it bondage in a negative sense. It is the joy of knowing our Lord and staying with Him so we can partake in His love and grow in Him further, deeper, and stronger. The result is that we become more mature, become of more use to His glory, and become willing to express His love with eagerness to others.

Our human sinful nature leads us to do our own thing. Our society thrives on it. We tend to see life in terms of the power and possessions we have, but God sees the value of life in spiritual growth that leads to the character and relationships we form. There is no real profit in money and treasures-only in who we are in Christ. Jesus plays on the words to say, how can you play with your stuff if you are not alive (Psalm 49:7-9; 15). But, perhaps a better way is to sacrifice ourselves in devotion for God and not let other substitutions get in the way. The false devotions that get in the way (such as family, school, work, and career) are sometimes good, and even necessary; but, we cannot let their cause get in the way of our obedience to the Lord. Because, if this is all we have (these other devotions), we end up having nothing.

Questions

  1. How would you define Obedience? Are you a person who tends to be Obedient? If not, why not?
  1. What gets in the way of your obedience? What does it mean to you to go all out in faith?
  1. What part does Obedience play in your relationships with church members, friends, coworkers, and family?
  1. How does focusing on emotions and hurts counteract God's call?
  1. What is the cost to your life, personally and to the people around you, when you refuse to obey Christ as Lord?
  1. What happens when your church leadership refuses to be Obedient or teach and encourage its people to be obedient to Christ?
  1. What happens to your relationship with God, with others, and with the opportunities God gives you when you refuse to agree with His precepts or practice faith with more determination?
  1. When have you exercised Obedience the most? What is the difference between disobedience and misplaced Enthusiasm?
  1. How are you showing true acceptance of Jesus as your Lord? You can know this by…. (Luke 6:46)?
  1. How would Obedience help you in distinguishing between what is good and what is bad in life?
  1. What issue is in your life that would improve with more Obedience?
  1. Think through the steps that you need to take to put Obedience into action in a specific instance. For example, how can you use obedience to improve your faith, Fruit, character, relationships, confidence, leadership ability, parenting, and/or relationship with Christ and others?
  1. God's desire is for all Christians to have-and use-great faith. What do you need to do to make this more of a reality in your life and in your church?
  1. What would your church look like if you and the leadership were more obedient to Christ? What will you do now?

(This lesson is taken in part from the Character of Obedience and the Discipline of Obedience)

© 2005 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Discipleship Tools http://www.discipleshiptools.org/

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