Obedience is a big word in the Christian vocabulary. Frankly, it is a word and a process with which many struggle – me included. Why do we struggle with being obedient to the will of God? In Isaiah 55:8 (KJV), it is explained, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.” Some of the very principles and expectations for us as Christians go against the way we think, feel, and act in our flesh. In the natural realm, we desire to act one way. But, in the spiritual realm, God is calling us to behave differently.
To walk in obedience, we must learn what is expected of us as Christians. This is achieved by spending time in His Word. Attending church once per week will only take us so far. We must make a choice to spend time studying the Bible. As we read and study God’s Word, the Holy Spirit will reveal God’s ways to us. We will begin to hear and understand in the spiritual realm what it is God intends for our lives.
Following acceptance of Jesus Christ as your personal savior, each of us must repent from the sin in our lives. For a long time, I used to think that the sin in my life didn’t really matter because God’s grace was enough to cover it. In fact, I wanted to live close to my sin and still be covered by His grace. That’s not what He is wanting from me. Transitioning from a position of salvation to discipleship requires something of me. I need to grow and become increasingly Christlike in my faith.
Mark 8:34 (KJV), Jesus said, “And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” This is a personal choice that each one of us must make on a daily basis. To walk in obedience to what God has for each of us, we must deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Jesus.
I don’t know about you, but in my flesh, I want what I want, when I want it, and in the way, I want it. In the books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus tells us that we must deny ourselves. That is not comfortable. That is not natural. It means making a choice to do something when I don’t necessarily feel like doing it. Walking in obedience requires humility.
The Bible is full of stories of people walking in obedience to God. From these stories, we can see how these walks of obedience were pleasing to God. We can understand how God chose to bless those who chose to be obedient. We are given a choice. Will we be obedient to what God would have us do?
On October 26, 2015, I was given a choice to be obedient to the will of God. I was moved to go to court on behalf of the man involved in the accident that claimed the lives of my brother and his wife. I was being led to pay his fine. This made no sense – in the natural realm. On that day, I chose to walk in obedience. My life was transformed in a moment.
Months later, I was riding in a vehicle with this same man. He is a pastor. In fact, he is my pastor. I asked him what would have happened if I had not shown up in court on that day. His response to me was very humble, but also very matter-of-fact. He replied, “I am confident that my God was going to take care of me. You would have just missed out.”
The very first message I heard this pastor preach was titled “Obedience brings blessings.” It has resonated in my spirit ever since I heard it. When we walk in obedience to God’s Word, when we walk in obedience to God’s will for our lives, incredible things happen. We begin living in a way that has purpose, that makes a difference.
Am I walking in obedience, today?