What do we think of when we hear the word obedience?
We think of following the directions that someone has given to us;
doing as someone has told us to do.
To be obedient we must first have some knowledge of what is expected….
Does knowing this though, change our behavior?
How many times have you or I been in a situation where
we knew the right thing to do but chose not to do it?
Such as eating half a container of ice cream
or a half a bag of Lays in one sitting…
or listening to that joke (or reading it via email)…
or spending that grocery money on something frivolous…
or visiting that chat room…
or accepting that phone number…
or buying that Lotto ticket…
or gossiping about someone (sometimes in the name of prayer)…
(you fill in the blank)
The Hebrew word for obedience means “to hear and to listen” …
to truly hear God’s word implies obedience…
to give ones full attention to and obeying what has been said!
Rather than just simply receiving more information or knowledge.
Scripture tells us to be doers of the word and not hearers only…
Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
Think about Jesus disciples….many times they didn’t understand His word’s or teachings …such as Mt. 16:22… Jesus had just predicted his own death and Peter says this will never happen!
Scripture tells us of many instances where the disciples questioned Him because they lacked understanding.
How do we move from just gaining more knowledge into a
mode of Biblical obedience?
Firstly, we must lead lives that reflect Jesus in all we say and do.
Our lives need to be worthy of imitation.
1 John 2:6 - “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”
Think about what you yourself have learned from watching someone who was in a leadership role with you;
a mentor; a guide; a teacher.
Did their talk and their walk match?
(Beth Moore calls this having their theology match their reality.)
Did you see inconsistencies that planted seeds of doubt in you?
Did you use their behavior to rationalize your own?
Or were they “right on the mark?”
Secondly, we need to incorporate the Word into our lives!
This is called Life Application…
taking the Word, learning what it tells us,
and applying it to our lives reinforces Biblical principles.
And we need to share that with others!
An illustration from our personal experience,
whether success or failure,
speaks to the heart of whoever you may be with at any moment in time.
It is through this that others learn about God’s character;
His forgiveness; what He wants for us and from us.
The sharing of facts about forgiveness and character
do not have the same impact as real life experiences!
Finally, there must be an element of accountability to all we do…
on our part and on the part of others.
When a person admits their need for change
accountability is the natural follow up to this.
someone says to you they are staying away from the potato chips
and they’ve been really tempted by them this week…
so you encourage them to get rid of the ones in the house,
encourage them to tell their family not to bring chips into
the house for the next week,
And this person decides to take certain steps.
The natural result of this the next time we meet is to ask them how they made out with the temptation;
to hold them accountable for their actions;
and we do this in a spirit of love, not condemnation.
This is a quote I read the other day……
“Biblical obedience comes when people are brought to a place where
they express the following -
‘as best I am able, I will follow Jesus’ …
and then they look for ways to act on what God is teaching them.”
This is growth - and I’ve seen it happen over and over.
We all, by our willingness to be teachable, to share ourselves,
and to hold others accountable ,
are being obedient to what the Lord wants from us.
I pray that you will reflect on His Word;
His instructions for daily living;
His desire for us to be imitators of Him;
and cooperate with Him in moving you to a place where you too may say
“as best as I am able, I will follow Jesus”.
And I KNOW His blessing will be upon us
as we become imitators of Christ.
I remain “Resting In HIM”
Wednesday, October 29, 2008