"What you do reveals what you believe about God, regardless of what you say." Henry Blackaby
- The Parable of the Two Sons
- "What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work today in the vineyard.'
- " 'I will not,' he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.
- "Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, 'I will, sir,' but he did not go.
- "Which of the two did what his father wanted?" "The first," they answered. Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.
- For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.
I would venture to guess that most of the world finds the concept of obedience to God uncomfortable. Obedience to a Being we can neither hear nor see? It seems ridiculous, sometimes even to those who believe in some kind of deity. Perhaps this creeping feeling of uneasiness comes from the sad fact that we often we equate obedience to God with obedience to a man proclaiming to have God's ear, or His power, or His word, or whatever. In other words, whenever we allow ourselves to confuse God with man, we run the risk of falling for the devices of a false prophet. We've seen what blind obedience to false prophets can do within cults--just consider David Koresh, the FLDS, Charles Manson, Jim Jones, etc... It's not surprising that we shrink from anything that would seek to control us.
However, once we recognize God for who He is--a Being capable of reaching us in His own way and on His own terms--One who, though He desires to work in us and through us, does not require a human third party in order to speak to our souls--One whose very nature is that of Holiness and Love and who proved this on the cross through Jesus Christ--well, then, hopefully, we will come to the place where we can love Him back and enter into a relationship with him. Once we do so, it is His desire that we trust Him and obey Him. Our obedience is how we show God we love Him.
John 14:15 If you love me, you will obey what I command.
John 14:21 Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.
If we claim to love God, but refuse to do what He says (in the Bible, that is), then we deceive ourselves and make ourselves hypocrites. In the second verse above, don't miss what Jesus promises to do for those who obey Him--He will show himself to them! What an amazing promise! We come to know God through obedience. We see more and more of Him as we act on faith to trust Him enough to know what is best for us--regardless of what the world is saying.
What kind of obedience does God require? Full obedience! God takes a very dim view of sin. He spun your world into motion and He knows exactly the kind of thing that will throw it off its axis. He's given some pretty clear warnings in the Bible, and when we completely ignore them, we often not only hurt ourselves, but others as well. His rules are for your BEST!
Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Challenge: If you are having trouble obeying God in some area of your life, recommit yourself to Him now. Perhaps the following prayer will help:
"Dearest Lord Jesus, Thank you for loving me enough to save me, even though I was trapped in my sin. I no longer want anything to have mastery over me except You. I know in my head that You are trustworthy and that You would not ask me to do anything or to abstain from anything unless it was for my best. Right now I am struggling with ____[sin/addiction/etc.]_______ and I long to know in my heart that You can and will free me from my captor. Please give me the faith I need to trust in You and the strength to do what is right. This moment I renounce this captor's claim on my life and I give myself back to You. As I obey you in this area of my life, I ask that You show Yourself to me more and more. Help me to know You and love You, Jesus!"
Then, STOP whatever it is you're not supposed to be doing, or DO whatever it is you are supposed to be doing. Remember, your relationship with God is between you and Him. When you disobey Him, you damage that relationship. This prayer is not a magical formula to get you back on track, but if you mean what it says, God will hear you. He will help you, but you must keep your eyes focused on Him, not on your own strength. That means that you might have to say this prayer every day, or even every hour, until the temptation to go back to your sin is gone.
Remember, if you need encouragement along the way, you are not alone. Find a Christian friend to be an accountability partner with you, and, of course, I am here as well. Leave a comment and ask me to pray for you. (I don't need to know what you're struggling with in order to pray for you. God already knows.)
God bless you as you continue to seek the Lord.