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Archive for Obey


Seeking God’s Will?

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Perhaps no other question is more frequently asked than how to discover God’s will. Certainly it’s an important question, because God does have a will. If God has a will, then we have a significant responsibility to discover it and live in compliance with it. But before a person goes through the steps of discerning God’s will, I think its important to first of all discover what the Bible has already said about the matter. The reason this is important is that people waste a lot of time fretting over looking for answers to questions concerning things that God has already gone on record about.

Think about whatever it is that you’re concerned about. Is your concern really a question of legitimately needing God’s will and direction? Or do you need to simply obey what God has already said? If you’re “seeking the will of God,” hoping that his “will” will come in contrary to the Bible, you’re wasting your time. Obey. That’s the will of God for your life.

Categories : God's Will, Obedience, Obey
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Teaching Obedience

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The Great Commission of Jesus Christ can be understood in three parts. Make no mistake, its one command, yet it contains three significant elements. Jesus said that we are to make a lifestyle of gospel proclamation. Those who respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ are then to publicly profess faith in Jesus through the waters of baptism, thus identifying with Christ as Lord and Master of their lives. After those two steps, Jesus then said we are to teach obedience to  his commands. Sometimes we soften this final component through nomenclature like discipleship or spiritual formation. Those are great words that we should not throw away, but we cannot forget that at the root of discipleship and becoming spiritually formed is a lifestyle of obedience to Christ.

How then do we teach obedience?

In the initial stages we obey because we have to. Plain and simple rote obedience, primarily motivated by a sense of obligation that seeks to avoid punishment. As we mature we then begin to obey because we understand that we need to. Here, we may view obedience as our response to God that is motivated by personal benefit we may receive. In other words, we see the value of obedience, determine it is good for us, and practice obedience for our own good. But as we mature further we move past obeying because we need to and obey Christ because we want to. This is the simple motivation of love. We no longer obey because we have to or need to, we obey because we want to. We want to obey because we love Christ and want to please him. Rather than finding our motivation in some element of personal fulfillment, we seek to obey for the glory of God.

Thinking about this I believe it can be easily illustrated in parenting. As a parent of three teenagers, I’ve seen this evolution first hand. When you have a preschooler, you teach them to obey because they have to obey. There is no democracy with a preschooler in the house! You don’t want your toddler running out into the street or wandering off in stores or sticking paper clips into electrical outlets so you teach them that they have to obey.

As the child gets older and communication becomes easier and more natural, they begin to obey because they need to. Want to go to the movies? Clean your room. Want an allowance? Do your chores. Want to have a sleepover? Get your homework done. Children understand the value of obedience because they perceive obedience is good for them.

But wait, there’s more! Children don’t stay children, they continue to grow and mature. As your relationship with your child matures, they value you as a person as well as a parent. They understand that you love them and have their best interest at heart. They also learn that your love for them is so deep that you would literally give your life for them. That’s when they begin to obey because they love you and want to please you and don’t want anything to come between you.

Jesus said that his church is to teach obedience. But obedience for the sake of obedience is often reduced to legalism. The goal is not obedience in and of itself. The goal is a love relationship with Jesus Christ, where your life in Christ is natural and your obedience is reflexive. My point is that you don’t start there. But you can certainly get there. It just takes some time and commitment.

“Then He (Jesus) returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them” (Luke 2:51).

“When He appeared in human form, he (Jesus) humbled himself in obedience to God” (Philippians 2:7).

“Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8).

Categories : Jesus, Obedience, Obey
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I’ve logged a little windshield time lately passing the time thinking about obedience. Maybe it’s just me, but it feels like the word “obey” (as in obedience to God) is a word that is missing from our current Christian vocabulary. Do you feel this way? What emotions do you associate with the word obey? Is it a word that we need to recover? How do we recover obedience without reducing it to legalism?

I’d like to encourage you to weigh in. To comment, simply click on the title of this post and the comment box will appear at the bottom of the page. Comment moderation is on, so I’ll try to get to them as quick as they hit my phone.

Categories : Obedience, Obey
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