“Obedience is at the center of man’s problem and God’s solution.” Stephen J. Hulshizer
My mother would say, “Obedience is at the center of my belt and your tush.”
Obedience is a word that keeps coming up as I continue growing my relationship with Him. It is defined as a submission to another’s authority. In the old testament obedience is also referred to as Shama, which means “to hear intelligently”. In the new testament it is sometimes referred to as Hupakouo. Hupo means “under or beneath” and akouo means “to hear”.
There are times that our spirit hears what He calls us to do, yet we choose to not be obedient. Some of us have issues submitting to a higher authority. We have somehow over the years distrusted others and are guided solely by our own rationale thinking. Others have built a wall and tend to not listen to what anyone has to say. They have answers to everything and let words of wisdom go through one ear and out the other. Most of us Christians are willing to hear and listen, but our flesh is too weak to follow.
We are really good at being obedient to our desires, but don’t know what to do when God calls.
Usually to obey, we have to give up something. When God calls obedience, He is summoning us to something new, something unfamiliar, and something that often involves risk. It could mean we have to endure some pain for a while. We want so much to discern God’s voice, yet when we have His attention, and He speaks to us, we rebel. The peace we look for does not come without a price.
Did Jesus have an easy path? Then why would we expect to? Are we greater than Jesus?
Jesus died to His flesh and that’s what God wants us to do. We are to die to our own selfish desires and center ourselves in the Spirit. To give up our idols. For example, I would love to just go back to work, to make money, so that I don’t have to be concerned about how I’m going to pay bills or say no to my kids tomorrow. The idol here is money and material things. If I give into this selfish desire, sure it would make things easy on my family for a short period of time. But then I would become distracted again with making money and everything God created me to be would be foresaken. I would “leave a-lot in my heart and soul undone” Breaking Busy: Alli Worthington. All the gifts and talents he has given me would be fruitless. And I would be so busy again I wouldn’t have time to listen to Him. I wouldn’t be guided by the truth and walk where He wants me to go. I would abandon my eternal blessing for at temporary exchange, not to mention the daily joy I receive by having the space to just BE. It takes endurance to give up your idols. And endurance grows over time. This is what Christian living is.
There is a misconception that Christians are (or think they are) perfect and holy and righteous. The truth is we are all broken and tired and weak. And strength comes from acknowledging your roughness. God favors the humble. The one who can say, “yes God I don’t have it all figured out. I can’t do this alone. I am weak and I need you to give me strength and courage. I don’t have all the answers but I’m willing to follow you to learn. I am also willing to live a simple life like your disciples did when they left everything behind. I am willing to pick up and leave when you call. And I am willing to live uncomfortable if it’s a matter of living for something.”
To follow Him, we must BE . . .
- Eager enough to learn His wisdom
- Compassionate enough to love others more than ourselves
- Humble enough to know that He is greater than us and our ways
“If you do whatever I command you and walk in obedience to me . . . I will be with you.” NIV 1 Kings 11:38
I know this is easier said then done but the key to success in God’s eyes is to simply walk in obedience. This is extremely hard. Our flesh says one thing and our spirit says another. The only way to learn how to walk in obedience is to experience it. Practice it. Listen to what He has to say to you and exercise your spirit so that you gain the strength and courage to walk in it. Practice makes perfect right? So I need to put myself in uncertain, difficult situations when He calls. Situations in conflict with my flesh to test my discipline and strength. To build my endurance.
Why wait for a crisis to figure out if you have the strength to endure?
Why do we continue to let other things in this world captivate our hearts when the only one who should matter is Him?
So if your wondering why I’m giving it all up. It’s to learn how to walk in obedience. God is calling me to simply listen and obey. When the enemy calls, he can’t harm us unless we allow him to. Reality is the choice is ours. If we are obedient to God then we are protected and provided for. But if we give in to the enemy through temptation, through our own selfish desires, through fear and pride, then we made our own bed and we have to sleep in it. He gave you a solution, so don’t blame your problems.
“Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.” Ecclesiastes 2:1
As mother’s day approaches, we honor our mothers. It’s a time for us to reflect back on all the memories good and bad, as we un-clutter the gap between naiveness and understanding. Over time we grow to respect our mothers. Because even when we thought we knew it all, their conviction was they always knew what was best. There were certainly times in our lives where we questioned obedience when she demanded us to do something. In those moments we had a choice. If any of you are mothers today, you can appreciate what mothers go through when they have to make decisions each day for the precious life they were entrusted. You don’t have to agree with it. But you respect it and you honor it. That’s obedience. Obedience, not because you understand it, Obedience because you respect, love and honor it. You respect, love and honor HER.
That’s what our heavenly Father wants from us today.
Steven Furtick wrote: “There’s always a tradeoff. Before God can bring his promises to pass in your life, he has to strip away all the stuff that keeps you from trusting him wholeheartedly. And that stuff is on the inside. God’s invisible work in you prepares you for his visible works through you.”
Let Him “strip away” the “falsely constructed identity” our culture has created of you, so that you may “find your identity in Him.” Chris Tiegreen