Mat 16:24, 25 “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
Gen 6:22 “Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did”
Has there ever been a time in your life when you submitted to the Holy Spirit toward a lifetime of obedience to God? The life of obedience is a life of following Christ. Once you commit your life to be one of obedience, you will still face choices to obey or disobey.
You will not always choose correctly, and you will not be without sin. However, once you make the commitment to a lifetime of obedience, God will take that commitment and bend your heart in His direction. Obedience, then, becomes a normal way in which you and I respond to the circumstances of life. Obedience becomes not merely a decision, but a lifestyle.
In Genesis 6, we read about God’s call for Noah to construct the ark. Yet Noah’s compliance with that particular decision is not how Noah embodied obedience. It’s why we remember him, but Noah had already committed his life to walking with God. Verse 9 tells us that “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God.”
Therefore, when Noah was presented with the decision to obey God and build an ark when rain was not just unexpected but literally foreign to the people and the terrain, he obeyed. Noah obeyed because he had, at some previous point, committed his life to be one of obedience unto his Lord.
Seven principles for learning to live a lifestyle of obedience include:
1) Learn to wait upon the Lord in prayer. If you don’t know what to do, don’t do anything until God directs you-usually through a multitude of means, including His Word, the church, circumstances, and prayer.
2) Develop a love for the Word of God. This is God’s primary tool of speaking to us. As we learn to meditate on the Word of God, we will learn the ways of God.
3) Obeying God oftentimes means going against human reasoning. If we wait until we understand, we’ll never be obedient to God. He will never lead us in opposition to His Word, but He will sometimes lead us in opposition to our definition of common sense.
4) Realize that God will sometimes cause us to walk in the dark. He will sometimes call us to walk in a direction where we cannot see a clear path.
We can pray and argue all we want, but God will not always show us where we are going; He simply commands and waits for us to submit.
5) We must learn to expect struggles. Plainly, some things God will ask us to do; we just don’t want to do them. Sometimes we don’t want to obey because we’re afraid of failure. Understand that God never requires something of us that isn’t for our best and for His glory.
6) Realize that there’s no substitute for obedience.
7) Learn to leave all the consequences of our obedience to God.
The issue hasn’t changed with time. The issue is this: Is Jesus Christ worthy of your obedience, and has there ever come a time in your life where you said, “Lord, from this moment on, as a way of life or lifestyle, I choose to obey You no matter what”?
** Read the key passages and answer the questions below.
- (Deuteronomy 28:1-2, 15) What does God say are the rewards of obedience and the consequences of disobedience?
- (Genesis 12:1-3) Which one of the above principles applies to Abraham’s call from God?
- (1 Samuel 15:1-29) What does Samuel tell Saul that he did wrong? What was the consequence of Saul’s action? What do you learn about God in this passage?
- As you read this, what did God bring to your mind in regards to something He is calling you to do?
- If you have not done it before, take this time to commit to God in prayer your desire to obey Him fully. If you do not have this desire, be honest. Ask Him to place it in your heart.
Luke 9:23 “Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”