Bring up the word obedience and people usually react or try telling people that they need to eat better, exercise more, keep good company or read the Bible diligently. Or that it’s important to take every word from God seriously; that there are no optional commands and that we cannot add or subtract from Scripture. Say any of those things and you will soon hear the accusation of legalism and, “don’t pressure me or tell me what to do!”
Yet the Bible makes it clear that to really know and love God we are to cultivate a willing and obedient heart and lifestyle. Jesus even said, “If you love me keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)
Unfortunately being as we are we can have some obstacles to obedience and willingness.. Here are a few to watch out for and hopefully remove from our lives:
1.“What’s that, Lord?” – when it comes to obeying God we can suddenly have a case of “spiritual deafness”.
Ever notice that children cannot seem to hear you tell them to do something they really need to do when they don’t want to. Yet they can instantly hear even the smallest whisper from Mum and Dad when something is said about “ice cream”. We can be like that when it comes to obeying God. We say we are willing and obedient, but then we ask God to define and clarify over and over or we try to negotiate with Him.
We say, “Did God really mean “all” of my old way of life or just the stuff that I don’t really enjoy anymore? Can I have a timeline on this? “Let’s just wait and talk to someone else again or read another book on the subject.”
2. “I am confused”
There are times when we may need some clarification and help to understand what the bible is saying, but for the most part the bible is easy to understand. The thing is once we read it and do understand, it’s up to us whether we choose to act accordingly or not…there is no grey area when it comes to God.
3. “I have another question?”
There is nothing wrong with asking questions, but sometimes asking another question is nothing more than a delay tactic:
In Matthew 19 the rich young ruler had asked Jesus the question, “What good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life”(19:16). Jesus then told him – keep God’s commandments. Then he asked another question, “Which ones”. So Jesus told him which ones. Yet the rich young ruler still continued to ask more questions because he actually knew what to do and instead was trying to find some “wiggle room” out of his convictions.
Keep on posing problems and questioning and you will escape the necessity of obedience and your initial conviction of the right course of action to take. Eventually, if we keep going “around and around” with more questions and delaying tactics we will end up confused, feel far from God and simply do nothing!
Today check how willing and obedient you are being, because it takes an ongoing daily inventory of our heart attitude and actions to remain and grow in willingness and obedience, and to be honest its not always easy. However knowing Jesus loves and wants the very best for our life helps make it easier, and His promise is that as we are willing and obedient we will have the best of the land. ( Isaiah 1:19-20)
“Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go” (Joshua 1:7).
“Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Samuel 15:22).
“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word” (John 14:23).
“But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (James 1:22).
“And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him’, and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:3-4).
Prayer: Lord please help me to be more open to direction and to take seriously what you say and how you lead me. Please forgive me when I have chosen to ignore or do my own thing and grieved you Lord. I know you’re only trying to get my best life to me. I’m listening today so you lead me. In Jesus name Amen