Ooh, the title of this message shakes some of us up. Merely seeing the word, “Obedience,” and people will avoid reading any of the posts! Instead, they send out nasty emails! But my friends, that is the wrong view of the word. Now, I admit there are differing views regarding obedience. Some argue that with Grace, obedience is irrelevant; others will tell you that obedience as the linchpin of Salvation.

But I assure you that both could not 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 toGod 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 thankGod 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 toGod 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 thankGod 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 reasons for our rebellion. (But I will give you a clue, none of them are good excuses):

  • I refuse to do what God commands.Now there are distinct ways to ignore God’s laws: you know, like committing murder or robbing a store. But more likely, what messes with our relationship to the Lord are the subtle ways we find to disobey.Think about this: it could be the bitter and unforgiving spirit we harbor, or maybe, when someone is crying out in need, we ignore their pleas. What about the time the Lord inspired you to call brother so-and-so but you “blew it off”? You heard His voice, but thought it was just your foolish imagination.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; instead, he directs you to eliminate Jelly doughnuts! My point is that 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 is not that he wants to ruin all our fun, but He does know that some things can have devastating consequences in our lives.I had seen a program on pornography, once. I was obviously aware  that pornography was prevalent in our society, but I never realize how so many men are “addicted” to it — and how many times it destroys marriages and whole families. There has always been a reason the Lord has forbidden it!
  • I pursue something God allows, but in a forbidden way.I realize that is confusing, so let me explain what I mean. 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, let’s say you earned your wealth through honest means. However, is it what the Lord directed you to do? For instance, I was once an Investment Broker. That’s right; I sold stocks. Now, there is nothing wrong with that; most stockbrokers are honest and trustworthy. However, when I pursued a career in investments, I never once asked the Lord if that was the correct step for me. As my endeavor advanced, I spent all of my energy and time researching stocks. Instead of reading the Scriptures, I read the Wall Street Journal!There is nothing wrong with reading the Wall Street Journal, but it was for me! My calling was to study and teach the Scriptures! I had followed my desires and dreams and ignored what I knew the Lord had called me to do. I can’t give any other illustrations on this, but somebody is reading this message, and you know exactly what I am addressing! You are venturing toward a move, but have you asked the Lord for His opinion on the issue?
  • I pursue what God allows, but in my own timing.Ouch! Just like in my example above, I messed up when I followed my own path, instead of asking the Lord for His guidance. I have also seen how impatience is the primary reason people end up in debt or bad relationships or in situations that are detrimental.We may know what the Lord wants us to do, but we decide to pursue that dream, before getting clear guidance from the Lord. Hearing what to do, is the first step. Then, you need to seek when to do it!Again, responding to something I said above, maybe in the Lord’s plan, there is a move for you. But perhaps, it isn’t now! Someday, but not now! (Or, what your mind is rationalizing for you).

My friends, whenever you face 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!

Doulos Studies

(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.

This entry was posted in A Perfect Heart, A Time of Elightenment, Daily Thoughts, Growing in Grace. Bookmark the permalink.

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