Matthew 7: 21-23; Romans 6:14; Galatians 4:19; Hebrews 13:17
Obedience is also the willingness to cooperate with God and with others in their godly directions and plans. It is working together as a community to further the Kingdom, shining with the glory of our Lord together. We may sacrifice our will and pride, for these things result in separation and strife. Whereas, when we work tighter together, we bring and build community and relationships. We will see that because we "deny ourselves" we are taking a stance of real commitment. Commitment is remaining obedient in our trust and faith regardless of our feelings, false opportunities, or oppression (Matt. 16:24-28). When we are obedient, we can take comfort and learn from our setbacks and experiences as they bring Christ glory and prepare us for the reality of the Kingdom (1 Peter 4:19; James 1:2-4). The great Benefit? Hope! Hope is the effect of obedience and trust in our Lord (Heb. 6:18). If you have no hope, then you have no vision and purpose, no trust in the One who loves.
Hope allows us to take hold of Him in a deeper, firmer way. We must make a conscious decision to give ourselves to Christ. This is not a suicide clause; not at all! It is about a life filled with giving, wonder and excitement about our Christian life. Yet, it goes against our natural way of thinking and this is where our will collides with God's will. We have the choice to obey or face difficulties. So, let us do it with cheerfulness and wonderment in our hearts.
Obedience helps us keep our eyes on God, not on people! If you only seek God for your "felt" needs, you will never understand or rely on God for your "real" needs! Neither will you understand yourself, or His wonderful plan for you (John 17:22)! Your faith will be on your terms only. How sad that would be! How much you would lose (Gal. 2:20-21)! This helps us confine our motives, submission, and persevering to His precepts so we can continue to be in love with Him. Seek His presence, and be persistent in your prayers. If you fear this, take comfort and realize it is a journey of a lifetime; go to Him, and as you draw closer to Him, you will learn the right things to ask and do. Prayer is persistence and learning.
Obedience also gives us a sense of duty that rises from our submission, as well as a sense of heroism. The Christian walk is not always on the mount of transfiguration, but in the valleys below. Where we shine is not recorded by our fellow people, but in heaven above. So, our obedience is not based on human recognition, but on heavenly endowment.
When we profess Christ as Lord, or make a public testimony, we are declaring that Jesus Christ has a hold on our life, from now through eternity that transcends human understanding. We are no longer of this world, but belong to Him as His child--saved and redeemed. Even though we have a special intimacy with God because of what Christ has done, we have to be careful that we do not rest in this intimacy. The intimacy is important, but God is most concerned with what we do with what He gives us. The intimacy is the frosting; the cake is to do His Will.
True intimacy with God is not found in our feelings, works, or deeds, or the saying of creeds, or even having the right theology in mind. Rather, intimacy is a deep affection and knowledge of Christ that is generated by our real heartfelt devotion, commitment, and trust, and is demonstrated by our willingness and the action of moving forward in our journey of faith. Do you feel your faith is distant and cold? Do you desire to have more intimacy with Him? Then seek His Will! Seeking to do God's Will is God's Will. It is striving further into the depths of our relationship with Christ, as LORD over all. By the surrender of our will (Gal. 2:21-21), and the courage to make Him known to those around us (1 Cor. 8:2-3), we will gain closeness and more intimacy!
We all need to come to the point where we realize our need, both for salvation and to know God. We need to full take ownership of our faith as a real and impacting factor in our lives. But, the problem is, we cannot. Our sinful nature and pride blocks us from Him, as we refuse to yield to God and His loving plan. The great news is that He provides us with His Spirit so we can know Him. We can take ownership of our faith and make it real. But, with the knowledge and salvation Christ gives us, comes responsibility. Hence, this passage, in its context, is the result of not following the call of the previous verses.
Humble yourselves… God opposes the proud, from Proverbs 3:34, and refers to the irrationality of foolish people who do not use wisdom, but choose rather to seek folly and thus bring adversity upon themselves. This also is refers to submitting to the sovereignty of God (Proverbs 1:24-33; 6:16; 8:13, Isaiah 57:15; 66:2; Micah 6:8). We remove our pride by "clinging" to the cross, confessing our sins, and seeking forgiveness from God and others whom we have offended. Our discipline in the faith will help strengthen our walk as we continue to grow in Him.
If your obedience not practiced, it will not last nor will your faith. It also serves as a true sign that you never had it, or you have not let it dive deep enough into you to create the transforming action from the fallen, sinful state, to redemption in the blood of the Lamb. These things are not up to our judgment. They are His. Your fruits will tell the true story to others around you.
1. How is obedience a commitment?
2. We are to full take ownership of our faith as real and impacting in our lives. But the problem is, we cannot. Why?
3. The knowledge and receiving of the salvation Christ gives us comes with responsibility. How, and why?
4. When has the reality of what Christ has done hit you the most? How, and why?
5. Do you produce Fruit that uplifts His glory and impact others for Him, or are you doing your own thing, unconcerned with godliness and character?
6. Yes, obedience this is hard to answer, especially in public, so what can you do so before you go out to trust in God?
7. Even though we have a special intimacy with God because what Christ has done, we have to be careful that we do not rest in this intimacy. What can happen if we do?
8. How can your obedience demonstrate your real heartfelt devotion, commitment, and trust in Christ? What can you do to further this?
9. What is the Father's Will? How is seeking to do God's Will actually God's Will?Are you doing the Father's Will?
10. Did you know that belief is not an entrance ticket to Heaven? Even the demons believe, but they are not saved. So, what does belief require (John 12:42,43; James 2:19)?
11. Why would God care, and have harsh, yet upright plans for those who grandstand themselves in God's name, but do not yield themselves to Him?
12. How can you take Jesus' sermon more seriously? How can you make the finding of God's Will and rule the number one priority for your life? What is in the way of this?
(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/