Archives For obedience

Over the past couple of posts (see “In the Presence of God” and “Bible Study”), I’ve been looking at some foundational aspects of following Christ. We’ve discussed prayer and Bible study, which are the linchpins in getting to know God. Today I want to wrap it up by focusing on what I see as the third, and perhaps most important, tenet in living a life wholly devoted to God: practicing obedience.

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The reason I feel this might be the most important aspect of developing your relationship with Jesus is because the other two concern learning who He is and what He’d have you to do. Practicing obedience is all about taking what you’ve learned and putting it into action.

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I’ve been focused lately on living intentionally. My theme this year is “Devotion”, and I’ve already discovered increasing my devotion to Christ is nearly impossible without ordering my days in an intentional way.  Unless I am very specific about how I will choose to spend my time, my time will get spent in ways that in no way reflect my devotion to Christ. At least at this stage of my own walk with God, unstructured time rarely defaults to time spent with Him.

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It’s been both an enlightening and frustrating realization. While I’ve been reading books on living intentionally, it was Francois Fenelon who helped me see how living intentionally is firmly rooted in the pages of God’s Word. Here’s how the Bible demonstrates intentional living through the practice of living in the moment, keeping your eyes fixed on Jesus, and being content with what you have…
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We resist obedience to God. In truth, we resist anything that infringes on our self-will. So we must answer the question of which is more important: our will or God’s will? It doesn’t matter how many hours you spend reading the Bible or on your knees in prayer. A.W. Tozer said, “Intensity of prayer is no criterion of its effectiveness.

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A man may throw himself on his face and sob out his troubles to the Lord and yet have no intention to obey the commandments of Christ. Strong emotion and tears may be no more than the outcropping of a vexed spirit, evidence of stubborn resistance to God’s known will”. We are a people prone to going through the motions without ever experiencing the profound power of God found in a life of obedience to Him.
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I’ve been reading a series of sermons by A.W. Tozer in which he has been hammering away at the point that worship is not just for Sundays. I believe we all know this and it isn’t new information. I also believe it is information few of us have taken the time to process.

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Tozer went so far as to say “If you do not worship God seven days a week, you do not worship Him on one day a week. There is no such thing known in heaven as Sunday worship unless it is accompanied by Monday worship and Tuesday worship and so on.”
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I was recently driving on a Sunday afternoon when I noticed a car stopped on the opposite side of the road with its hazard lights on. An older woman was in the driver’s seat, looking not overly concerned. As the vehicle was a newer BMW convertible and my quick glance at the driver told me she was well dressed, I assumed she was Realtor and had simply pulled over to check her directions. I allowed that rationalization to satisfy the pull I was feeling to turn around and see if she needed assistance. As I have done an embarrassingly number of times in my life, I reasoned that since I know next to nothing about the workings of automobiles, I would be of little help anyway.

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I recently heard Andy Stanley talk about how if we would only get one command from Jesus right, we would absolutely revolutionize our world. That one command is found in John 15:12-17, where Jesus told His disciples to love one another just as He had loved them. This was an urgent command from Jesus, as He was literally running out of time and His betrayal was imminent. If you knew you were about to die, you wouldn’t waste time with small talk. You would tell those closest to you the most important and urgent thing you could think of. This was one of the final commands of Jesus, and thus it carries extraordinary weight.

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All around the world there are people that have been imprisoned for no other reason than the fact that they placed their faith in Jesus Christ. While it can be hard to fathom for us in the West, it remains a certain and dangerous reality for millions of our brothers and sisters. Their faith and courage are inspiring to me, and I wonder if I would have the same resolve if faced with similar circumstances. I am very thankful that I live in a country that, to this point in my life, has allowed me to follow Christ without risk of imprisonment or torture. Still, we must remember those who daily endure hardships and persecution we can scarcely imagine.

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