Subject: Obeying God:
Key Passage: Hebrews 5:7-8 Supporting Scriptures: Joshua 1:7-9; Psalm 32:8; 62:1-2; 62:5; 119:105, John 4:34; 6:38; 8:28-29, Romans 10:9, 2 Corinthians 6:2, Philippians 4:19, Hebrews 11:8
Obeying God is always the right thing to do, but it isn't always the easiest.
When His assignments seem beyond our capabilities, we need brave determination to follow through. Courage is the quality of mind and spirit enabling us to meet danger, opposition, or the challenges of life with fearlessness, calmness, and decisiveness. Joshua was a man who understood the challenges of obedience because the Lord entrusted him with the responsibility of leading the Israelites into the land He'd promised to give them. Although Joshua lived thousands of years ago, the Lord's message to him is still applicable to us today.
The most important issue in life is whether we're obeying God.
It won't happen automatically; it must be learned and put into practice in our attitudes and actions. Hebrews 5:8 shows us that even Jesus "learned obedience from the things which He suffered." This doesn't mean that He sinned at one point, and therefore, had to learn to obey. He always did His Father's will (John 6:38). However, in His humanity, He learned from experience the costly impact of full obedience when He went to the cross.
Obedience is doing what God says, when He says it, how He says it, for whatever reason He says it, or with whom He says it.
There's no room for passivity when it comes to obeying the Father. This level of commitment requires an active choice.
Partial obedience is the greatest enemy to obedience.
If the Lord gives instructions, He expects us to do exactly what He has said. If we're allowing things in our lives that don't fit our identity in Christ, we're only partially obeying Him. God loves us unconditionally and has amazing plans for our lives if we follow Him wholeheartedly.
The Garden of Eden was God's first classroom to teach obedience.
The importance of doing what the Lord says is demonstrated in the story of Adam and Eve. God didn't talk to them about faith or humility, but only about obedience. He gave them permission to eat from all the trees in the Garden—except one. When they failed the test, sin and its consequences entered the world. All of us have failed the same test because we naturally want our own way. The Lord has given us so many blessings, but if He wants us to release one thing in our lives, we're quick to rationalize why we should keep it. Or sometimes we excuse our rebellion by claiming that situations, needs, and hurts are legitimate reasons for disobedience. But in doing so, we forget that the Lord is engineering our circumstances and working them all out for our good. He's never promised that life would be free from pain and hardship, but He's committed to blessing those who obey Him.
Jesus is our pattern for obedience.
When He was talking to the Samaritan woman, Jesus explained the need to "do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work." (John 4:34) Jesus was basically saying that obeying His Father brought Him fulfillment. It wasn't the approval of the crowds who came to hear Him speak, but the joy of pleasing the Father that satisfied His soul. We're always happier when we obey, yet oftentimes we struggle, thinking we'll miss out on something good or experience hardship if we follow the Lord. It is possible that we might be misunderstood, lose a job, or be rejected by friends. However, if we'll obey His instructions, we'll experience His best and enjoy the satisfaction of pleasing Him.
How do we learn to obey the Lord?
No one comes into the world knowing how to obey. Every parent must invest time and effort in training their children to follow instructions. Learning obedience with God works in a similar way. We can obey our heavenly Father if we:
Choose to trust Him.
If we don't trust the Lord, we won't obey Him. Anytime we're tempted to disobey in a particular area, that's the point at which we don't trust Him. The solution is to actively choose to believe that God is who He says He is, and that He will do what He has promised.
Determine to wait upon the Lord in prayer.
The first step in making sure that we're walking in God's will is to ask Him to show us what He wants for our lives. While seeking the Lord, we should also search the Scriptures for passages that clarify His will and give us guidance. Then we must wait for His instructions and timing. Even when we can't figure out what God is doing or why He delays, remembering that He knows every aspect of the situation should bring us assurance.
Meditate upon His Word every day.
We'll never live obediently with a closed Bible because that's God's primary means of leading us. Within its pages are the answers to whatever situations we're facing. When Joshua needed guidance, the Lord told him, "Be careful to do according to all the law ... meditate on it day and night" (Josh. 1:7-8). Today we have the entire written Word of God, and the Lord promises to bless those who do what it says
Walk when the way is not clear.
We'll miss the Lord's will for our lives if we refuse to take steps of obedience until we know what's going to happen. None of us can foresee what He will do. Our responsibility is simply to obey Him today, knowing that He holds tomorrow. By faith, Abraham obeyed God's call even though he didn't know where he was going (Heb. 11:8). And that's exactly how we should walk with the Lord. He doesn't reveal the entire path because with each step into the unknown, He's strengthening our faith.
Decide to experience possible conflict.
Anyone who obeys the Lord will encounter conflict. First of all, there will be inner discord when what God is calling us to do seems humanly unreasonable. Furthermore, obedience might also result in relational disharmony if others don't understand or agree with what the Lord is telling us to do.
Leave the consequences to God.
When He challenges us to obey, our minds could fill with doubts: Suppose He can't fix this situation. What if He doesn't provide enough? When these thoughts come to mind, we must remember that the Lord is always sufficient and adequate for every issue in our lives. Our job is simply to obey Him and then watch Him work out His will in our lives in surprising ways.
Accept divine chastisement in response to disobedience.
Every child of God experiences His discipline. The question is: how will we respond? If we resist His chastisement and blame Him for all our troubles, we're demonstrating that we have not learned obedience. However, if we have an obedient spirit, we'll recognize our heavenly Father's discipline as a loving act of protection and respond with gratitude.
Obey God and leave all the consequences to Him.
Obedience can be a challenge, especially when we feel tempted to believe that we stand to lose more through our obedience than we might gain. However, obeying God is essential to pleasing Him—not just in times of temptation, but at all times.
When God commands us to obey Him, He is giving us a principle by which to live. He is also setting a framework around our lives that forms a hedge of protection from evil.
Can you remember the last time you felt tempted to do the opposite of what you knew God desired for you to do? Most likely, a struggle erupted within your heart.
The questions arose:
Will obeying God cost me more than disobeying Him? Can I experience greater happiness by committing this sin than I would by obeying God? Very good questions to consider in our walk with the Lord!
When we choose to obey God, we take the way of wisdom. His promises of blessing for obedience far outweigh any possible consequences. He asks us to submit ourselves to Him and leave whatever happens to His loving care.
As we grow in our walks with the Lord, obedience becomes the avenue by which we know Him better. When we obey Him, He pulls us closer to Himself and teaches us more about His precepts and His love.
In what types of situations have you found it to be most difficult to obey God?
Can you think of a time when the Lord's instructions were made very clear to you?
Did you respond in faithful obedience to Him?
How has God taught you to trust that His plans are best for your life?
God loves us unconditionally and has amazing plans for our lives if we follow Him wholeheartedly. The Lord is engineering our circumstances and working them all out for our good.
Week # 2 Weekly Obedient Question: Can you think of anything Jesus taught or said that was in opposition to God?
Week # 2 Weekly Application Question: In what ways is our obedience challenged?
Week # 2 Obedience Bible Quiz: True or False
1. Even the winds and sea obey the voice of God.
2. Jesus said blessed are those that hear Word of God and think about it.
3. Those who do not obey the Word of God will be punished.
Week # 2 Prayer:
Father God, we know obedient is what You desire of us, but sometimes the flesh get in our way and cause us to act like our father Adam and disobey You. Lord, when this takes place please help us to see it so we can make adjustment in our lives. We need Your help to obey You. We ask that the Scripture (Philippians 2:13) become a reality in our life. In Jesus' name, amen.
Week # 2 Memory Verse: I Peter 1:22
"Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:"
Week # 2 Reading Assignments: Week # 2 Romans 8-16