A title like the one above shakes some people up. Whenever I simply use the word, “Obedience,” people don’t read the post, they just send our nasty emails. That is the wrong view of the word. Now, there are differing views regarding obedience. Some argue that with Grace, obedience is irrelevant; some see obedience as a linchpin of Salvation. Neither could be further from the Truth. Even our Lord said, “If you love me . . . you will obey me.” I think the Psalmist had a good view of this:
Some of you were locked in a dark cell, cruelly confined behind bars, punished for defying God’s Word, for turning your back on the High God’s counsel—A hard sentence, and your hearts so heavy, and not a soul in sight to help. Then you called out to God in your desperate condition; he got you out in the nick of time. He led you out of your dark, dark cell, broke open the jail and led you out. So thank God for his marvelous love, for his miracle mercy to the children he loves; He shattered the heavy jailhouse doors, he snapped the prison bars like matchsticks!
Some of you were sick because you’d lived a bad life, your bodies feeling the effects of your sin; You couldn’t stand the sight of food, so miserable you thought you’d be better off dead. Then you called out to God in your desperate condition; he got you out in the nick of time. He spoke the word that healed you, that pulled you back from the brink of death. So thank God for his marvelous love, for his miracle mercy to the children he loves; Offer thanksgiving sacrifices, tell the world what he’s done—sing it out! (Psalm 107:10-22 The Message)
Did you realize that even believers can get caught in the trap of justifying wrong choices? Sure we can. But when we get rid of all the creative excuses, there are just four honest reasons for rebellion. (But I will give you a clue, none of them are good excuses):
- I refuse to do what God commands. Now there are obvious ways to ignore God’s laws, like committing murder or robbing a store. But more often, it’s the subtle and private ways we find of disobedience that become obstacles in our path. For instance, maybe it’s the bitter and unforgiving spirit we might harbor or maybe we ignore the pleas of someone in need. Maybe the Lord has inspired you to call brother so-and-so and you “blew it off,” thinking it was just your foolish thoughts. Sometimes it might be one thing for me, and another thing for you. Does that confuse you? Sorry, but let’s say, for some reason the Lord told me not to eat Lemon Pie or chocolate bars. For you, that would never be a rebellion, but for me, it would be. The Lord will deal with each of us differently.
- I pursue what is forbidden. The Lord has declared certain things off limits (see Romans 1:28-32 or Galatians 5:19-21 for examples). But understand, it’s not that he wants to ruin all your fun, but He does know that some things you do can have devastating consequences. This morning I viewed a program on pornography. I knew that it was prevalent in our society, but I didn’t realize how so many men are “addicted” to it–and how it many times destroys marriages and whole families. They Lord has forbidden it for a reason.
- I pursue something God allows, but in a forbidden way. We have a lot of freedom in the Christian life–wealth, success, and relationships are all available to us. However, and hear me on this, believers are not at liberty to achieve goals through theft, deceit, injustice, or anything dishonorable. But even if that is not the case for you. By that I mean, for instance you wealth was earned through honest, and thriftful means. However, it may not be what the directed you do to. I can’t give any illustrations on this, but I know somebody reading knows exactly what I am talking about
- I pursue what God allows, but in my own timing. Ouch! Impatience is many times the reason people end up in debt or in bad relationships or in a situation that is detrimental. We may know what the Lord wants us to do, but we decide to go after it before getting clear guidance from the Lord.
My friends, whenever you are faced with a decision, stop and ask yourself this question: “What is the wisest thing for me to do right now?” I’m serious, take the time and ask him. Part of the answer is always to stop, ask the Lord for direction, and wait until He answers. I will give you the simplest nugget of truth, but one I want you to engrave on your heart: We never have to make excuses for doing the will of God.
Father, yep, I admit that sometimes . . . okay, many times, I miss your best in my life for several reasons, but none of them are truly acceptable. Please forgive me. I am often impatient and presumptuous. I step beyond my authority and my understanding without first consulting you.
My desire is to bring honor to you and sometimes . . . well, sometimes I dishonor your name. Forgive me. I will indeed seek your wisdom and your guidance in every endeavor. I’ve made a fool of myself many times, so I have learned that you alone possess the wisdom and the insight I need.
I call out to you in my desperate condition, knowing that you will get me out in the nick of time. You continue to speak the word that heals me, that pulls me back from the brink of death.
So I thank you Lord for your marvelous love, for your miracle mercy you always offer to me; I give you thanksgiving sacrifices, and I will tell the world what you have done—this morning I will sing it out!
(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list: Mail List)
I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.