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The Faithful Series Part 1: Obedience

When I woke up this morning, I heard God calling me to put on my running shoes and spend some quality time with Him.  Can I be honest with you?  It was the absolute last thing that I felt like doing at that early hour of the morning.  Excuses started to fill my mind.  First, I haven’t run at all in about six months.  Besides, I hadn’t slept well.  I was exhausted.  I had to get ready to teach before heading off to my full-time job.  But God made His intentions crystal clear to me.  And it wasn’t about how I felt or what I thought was reasonable or comfortable to me.  It was plain and simple.  He wanted time alone with ME, His precious daughter!  I laced up my sneakers and headed out the door before I could deny hearing His voice.  Our time together that morning was precious, and I heard Him in ways that I would not have been able to had I ignored His request.  I was thankful that, in this instance, I had a heart of obedience.  I’d like to say this is always my response when He calls, but unfortunately, that hasn’t always been the case.  There are times I say no, or make excuses.  There have even been times that I have acted as though I never heard His voice at all.

Now, let me ask you a question.  When God tells you to do something, what is your response?  Do you stop to weigh the pros and cons?  Do you ask yourself if you feel like doing whatever you are being called to do?  Do you think about if it fits into your schedule?  Do you check your finances to see if you can afford to do whatever it is that God has called you to do?

I can tell you from personal experience, that if God is calling, He will provide everything that we need to be obedient:  the time, the ability and even the resources.  Our biggest and most difficult obstacle is our selfish desires.  Lack of obedience is a sign that we really aren’t trusting God and allowing Him to take control of our lives.

Matthew 4:18-22

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.

21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

When these men were called by Jesus, we can see that they responded immediately in obedience.  There was no hesitation; they didn’t stop to consider the consequences – they left their livelihood – and simply answered His call.  We have two choices when Jesus calls us:  obedience or disobedience.   We are not called to obey only when we consider His request to be what we want or need in our lives.  Keep in mind that procrastination can also be a form of disobedience.

James 4:17

If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

So, how can we become obedient children of Christ?  I believe that it starts by becoming intentional.  God calls us to put Him first in all things.   If we were to devote quality time each day to reading His word, prayer, fellowship, and strive to be in constant communication with Him throughout the day, we could hear His voice more clearly.  I’m sure you’ve heard the adage, “What would Jesus do?”  If we applied this to every thought, every circumstance and every situation in our lives, and responded accordingly, we would be better equipped to respond in obedience.

Obedience isn’t easy.  It often means saying no to self, delaying self-gratification, and putting others before ourselves.  But remember, that is what Jesus did for us.

John 14:21

Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

Loving God begins with obedience.  When we trust Him with our lives and honor and obey Him, we can live out His perfect plan and design for our lives.

Let’s take the first step together in obedience.  Focus on one area where God has been convicting you, and you are struggling to relinquish control?  Pray that God will give you the strength to fully surrender this area to Him.

Philippians 4:13 (my life verse!)

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!