09 April 2007
This subject is one of the ones most talked about in the Bible. In fact, the entire first 5 books of the Bible convey to the reader exactly what is to be obeyed by the listing of all of the rules and regulations under the old covenant (according to Strong’s Concordance, a covenant is a will, testament, pact, contract, an agreed upon plan to which both parties subscribe). Jesus ratified the new covenant by the shedding of His blood and His death on the cross.)
God exhorts us to be obedient. In fact, in the Ten Commandments, only one of these provides a promise. The fifth commandment says “Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” The promise of a long life, if we are obedient to our earthly mother and father, can’t even compare to the promise that God has for each of us if we are obedient to Him.
How do we know what God wants from each of us? He has given us His word that we might seek from Him our purpose in life. One clue—it has nothing to do with us, but it is all about Him. I’ve written previously about needing to know God’s will for our life and even said that it may just be that we are shining examples to those around us by living an obedient life before the Lord. Should God have further goals for us in our lives and we haven’t yet discerned them through the reading of His word and a mighty prayer life, then, in the meantime, we are to be obedient.
Being obedient is more than just following the Ten Commandments. While a good start as a basic foundation, the Bible clearly comments on how we are to live our lives in relationship to other people. One excellent example is found in Galatians 5:22 where God speaks to the Fruit of the Spirit as “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” Note that God refers to this as the Fruit—singular. We are to espouse each of these characteristics as a whole, not just the ones we wish to honor. He also comments that there is no law that goes against the grain of the Fruit. We are to be obedient and yet also subscribe to this characteristics.
Obedience is definitely the narrow, harder path to follow. In our earthly desires, we often commit sin without realizing it because we have become desensitized to certain sins. A classic example is the sin of lying. How many times have you often thought, “Well, a little white lie won’t hurt anyone.”? There is someone who it will hurt and that is you. Because it is a sin, that act separates you from God at that given moment. It’s only through earnest, heartfelt prayer where we ask God to examine our hearts and reveal to us how we have sinned can we then ask for forgiveness. The flipside to this is repentance. Until you reach a point where you are no longer desensitized to a particular sin can you repent of it. Repentance involves the true effort to avoid that habitual sin, whatever that may be.
Turning your life over to God is a true, selfless act of obedience and one of the hardest. This requires absolute faith that God will always be at your side. That does not mean that life will be rosy. In fact, in some cases, it couldn’t be further from the truth. John 10:10 says, “The thief (Satan) does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly.” When the enemy sees that you are trying to live your life according to God’s word, he will most surely object. Often, especially with a new Christian, life may become difficult in order to sway him or her from the narrow path that they have chosen. However, remember the second half of that verse: “that He comes so that we will have life more abundantly.”
God answers our prayers according to His timetable, not ours. Sometimes, instead of removing us from the storms of life we encounter, He, instead, chooses to hold our hand and walks us through the difficult times. I once heard this phrase, “if you can stand the stretch, God will pull you through.” Too often people will ask, “If God loves me, and I am true to His Word, why am I suffering like this?” There is no magical answer to this time-honored question. Very simply, having gone through a fire provides you with a lesson learned and the ability to witness to someone else weathering that same storm. What an honor it is to be used by God! You may have to endure difficult times, but to share the rainbow at the end of the hardship with someone else in those same shoes only bolsters the
Kingdom/placetype> of Christ/placename>/place>.
When the enemy swoops in to separate you from God, and he will, it will be up to you to stand guard and remain ever vigilant to his intentions. Ephesians 6:11-13, 17 states that we are to “put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirit in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so that you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle, you will still be standing firm. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.” By reading God’s word, we will know how to be obedient to Him, and He gives us another promise in the above scripture where He states that after the battle we will still be standing firm. Further, in Ephesians 6:18, God says "Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion, Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” Believe me when I tell you that all of us who have accepted Christ as our Saviour and follow heartily after His word will encounter tests and tribulations. It is how we handle these tribulations that determine what we are made of. Do we take that stance, putting on that full armor of God and be obedient to His word, or do we falter and do as the world would have us do and take the easy way out?
As we read His word and grow in this knowledge, will we have a better understanding of what obedience is all about, and what is required of us. Above all, earnest prayer as we seek God’s presence in our lives will only strengthen our resolve to deny the ways of evil, take up our own cross, and follow the teachings of Christ.©2007