What is the Purpose of OBEDIENCE in our life?
Our OBEDIENCE to God YHWH is an indicator of our heart attitude.
In John 14:15 we read, “If you love me you will keep my commandments.”
So, obedience demonstrates our thankfulness, our appreciation, our devotion, our reverence for God and our praise.
“Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:17, ESV)
HOW do we become OBEDIENT? Is there a method to it?
Here are some suggested steps to learning OBEDIENCE in order to please our Heavenly Father:-
Step 1: Reading the scriptures daily to know God’s will
The first step to doing God’s will is to actually know what it is, and learn about what pleases our Heavenly Father by reading His holy words in the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16).
“And it [the Word of God] shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear [reverence] the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them.” (Deuteronomy 17:19)
Proverbs 8:34 reads, “Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates.”
Why did the Apostle Paul describe the Brethren from Berea as “more noble” in character than the Thessalonians?
Acts 17:11 (ESV) tells us why. It is because “they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.”
It is a lot easier to deal with the issues of life, the trials, difficulties and testings that come to us, if we have daily input from the scriptures. It produces in our heart an overriding confidence and peace that “transcends all understanding” (Philippians 4:7), helping us “do ALL things through Christ” who strengthens us. (Philippians 4:13)
Step 2: Developing the will to do God’s will:
As we learn about the Heavenly Father’s will and what God wants us to do, we experience the “old man” (Ephesians 4:22-24, Romans 6:6-23), that is, the fallen nature appearing on the scene, that wishes to slow things down in our progress of maturity in Christ.
Fighting against the tendencies of the flesh, which we wish to put to “death” from moment to moment, IS THE BATTLE against sin!
How zealously and diligently with GREAT DISCIPLINE over our thoughts, words and actions do we barricade the fleshly interests… the fleshly wants… the fleshly tendencies in order to let the New Creature in us grow?
You see, the “Old Man” and the “New Creature [in Christ]” are AT WAR with each other! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
If the “old man” gains strength, the “New Creature” in Christ, weakens.
In Galatians 6:17-27 we read,
“17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. 27 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.“
- Which one are we choosing to feed right NOW?
- Which one will we choose to feed after we read this post?
- Which one will choose to feed for the remainder of today?
- How about tonight?
- How about tomorrow and then for the remainder of this week and this month and year and until the day we die?
Are we consuming more spiritual food than earthly food?
Let’s say we eat breakfast, lunch and dinner with a few snacks in between, well, then that would mean the spiritual food would require to be served seven or more times a day or else the flesh will receive the growth and not the spiritual mind!
Better still, we shall like to feast on the spiritual ALL DAY as it is this kind of “food” that has no side effects but only most righteous and richest benefits (John 17:3, 1 John 2:25). Consuming spiritual food means feasting with Jesus and the spiritual “eagles” (Matthew 24:28; John 6:53-56, Isaiah 40:31).
In 2 Corinthians 5:15-18 the Apostle Paul well explains how all the “New Creatures” in Christ, should treat each other :
“14 For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. 15 And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them.
16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one [who is “in Christ”] from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way.
17 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!
18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. 20 So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
May we find time each day to read a psalm and read or sing a hymn… recall and share some biblical verses with whomever we can edify along our day’s pilgrimage. Let us pray on our knees if we can, like the prophet Daniel did (Daniel 6:10)… like the Apostle Paul did (Ephesians 3:14), and above all, like our Lord Jesus did (Mark 1:35, Matthew 6:9-13, Matthew 14:23, Luke 6:12, Luke 22:32, 41-44, Luke 23:34, John 11:41-42, John 12:27-28, John 17:1-26, Hebrews 5:7). By being able to come boldly before the throne of Heavenly grace through our Advocate, Christ Jesus, we are able to keep on the right track, asking for our Father to mercifully show us His will EVER STEP of the narrow way.
Do we with great joy in the hope set before us, thank our Heavenly Father even when severe stormy experiences come our way?
How much effort do we put in to represent our titles of members of “a royal priesthood”… the “peculiar people” … “God’s special possession” (1 Peter 2:9)?
Brethren, how much do we strive to live in the world as citizens of heaven but NOT be “of the world”?
Do we long for earthly friendship OR are our minds consumed by the joys of our friendship with Jesus, whom we are training to be like in character-likeness?
Are we consumed by the friendship we have also in the Apostles and Ancient Worthies whom we are all getting to know actually RIGHT NOW?! The Bible is like a Reading Manual for our preliminary “Orientation” Program given to us by God’s grace, whereby we look forward to working with these whom proved faithful unto death.
The Apostle Paul explains that learning God’s will and wanting to do God’s will is a matter of development in our lives.
“For it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13)
This means that we not only just learn to desire doing God’s will, but that we actually DO do it to the best of our abilities. These experiences and training in the school of Christ, involve TIME and we DO it with GREAT JOY being motivated by “the precious and very great promises” of God which in turn, gives us HOPE.
“And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:3-5).
The Apostle Peter explains about these precious promises in 2 Peter 1:2-14 (ESV), which reads:
“2 May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
12 Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. 13 I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.”
By clinging onto the Divine gifts from God founded upon His word, the new mind in Christ, by God’s grace and mercy, is able to overtake or over-weigh the “old mind” of the flesh, growing into maturity in Christ through the tests of faith, to prove worthy as sharers in the grandest prize of all—belonging to Jesus’ body, bring the Heavenly Father greatest possible joy and being granted the privilege to bring the world of mankind into harmony with GOD during the 1000 year Millennial Kingdom Age.
We come to delight in God’s will and delight in doing it when the desire to do so is continuously presented before God.
If we do our part,
God will do HIS part in our lives
and IMMEASURABLY MORE!
There is a wise saying:
“God helps those
who help themselves.”
Expecting miracles without asking, seeking and knocking is perhaps how this can be understood based on what we read in Matthew 7:7-11,
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”
In Philippians 4:6, we are reminds:
“DO NOT BE ANXIOUS ABOUT ANYTHING,
but IN EVERYTHING
by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving
let your requests be made known to God.”
In Isaiah 26:9 we read,
“With my soul have I desired thee in the night;
yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early.“
A Desire to Serve God
One of the ways that God brings us to the point where we desire to serve Him is by showing us His Divine Plan of Salvation that we can truly love and respect now “early” before the resurrection of the world—who will all desire God and turn to Him in the Millennium when all shall be taught to walk up the Highway of Holiness in order to gain eternal life, and most will seek life. For is not God’s love better than life itself.
Let us think back in our lives to a time where we have studied scripture, or attended a convention, or had special fellowship with brethren or in some way come to a special appreciation of God’s character. For instance, when examining some glorious beauties of the Truth and recognizing the perfect harmonious relationship between the Scriptural types and anti-types. Perhaps it was that “eureka” moment of enlightenment upon some glorious gem of God’s Divine Truth that had never been realized before (Daniel 12:10, Proverbs 2:4-6). Here we were left with a stronger desire and eagerness to seek and do God’s will since. We continuously learn that GOD is more perfect than any other living being that we have ever know.
The Heavenly Father’s love, is the TRUEST, MOST LOYAL LOVE because it is PERFECT LOVE—a love that is balanced perfectly with PERFECT JUSTICE, PERFECT WISDOM, PERFECT POWER and PERFECT STRENGTH (Ephesians 3:14-19).
“This God—his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him” (Psalm 18:30).
Jehovah’s love is reflected in Jesus—God’s only begotten Son (John 3:16).
When disappointment and discouragement comes with trials, testings and failures and the realisation of the emptiness of what the world has to offer, we know then that there is no real choice between serving God and serving the flesh/the world. This is another way God’s power works in our lives, guiding us through those experiences and teaching us things.
Perhaps the most painful experiences to the flesh are actually the GREATEST BLESSINGS to the New Creature’s development, for perhaps these are the moments of existence when the SURRENDERING up of self-will occurs fastest or with the best results. When we “let go” of the pain and not fight against the experience, we learn not to attach feeling or any label to the “what is” experiences of the flesh, trusting that “all things work out for good to those who love God” (Romans 8:28). By numbing the flesh in this way, one can concentrate on feeding the Spiritual Mind and take care to develop joy in the hope given to God’s people through the marvelous precious promises in the Bible.
The Bible is flooded with precious promises and we know they are true because already so many have prophecies have been fulfilled with the Nation of Israel as promised long ago, by the mouth of the holy prophets. For instance, what was once a valley of dry bones, is now an independent country which has gained not only “tendons” and “ligaments”, but “muscles” and soon “the bones” will live again and all things shall be renewed in the approaching millennial reign of Christ with his bride of 144,000 members. (Ezekiel 37, Revelation 7)
Step 3: Incorporating God’s will into our lifestyle:
We have responsibilities at work and with our families, entertainment, school, neighbours, activities with brethren etc., but how many opportunities do you think you have for obedience in any particular day?
Well, nearly everything we do is an opportunity for obedience.
Every time we interact with people is an opportunity.
A lot of the commandments in the Old Testament apply to us as well as in the New Testament. Let’s consider a few:
- 2 Timothy 4:2: “Be instant in season and out of season.”
That’s about teaching the word, but really it can apply to us in every regard.
- Hebrews 13:16: “Forget not to do good and communicate, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”
This is talking about an entire lifestyle, being connected with your brethren, being aware of what type of things they’re going through; because if you are, you will have no lack of opportunity to do good.
- James 1:27: “Pure religion before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
That’s a commandment and a perfect balance between commitment to brethren and personal caring.
There are other things in the Old and New Testament about how to relate to other people, but there are other commandments that also tell us how to act when not with other people, even when we are by ourselves.
- Philippians 4:8: “Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of good report; if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things. Also, Pray without ceasing.”
- 1 Timothy 4:15: “Meditate upon these things: give yourself wholly to them, that your profiting may appear to all.”
This instructs us to take the necessary time to think about what we do in the eyes of God and respect it, so that we may stand in awe of the grandeur of the high standard of being Christ-like, and thus pleasing to our Heavenly Father as His Sons and Daughters.
- Psalms 4: 4: “Stand in awe, and sin not; commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still.”
- In Hebrews 12:12 we read, “Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees.”
In other words, let us be a strengthening influence upon the brethren around us. Let us seek out those hands that hang down and lift them up. Remember Moses, when his hands were up the children of Israel would win and when down they would lose, so it was important for his hands to be held up. We have the same opportunity with our brethren.
- Hebrews 12:13 – “And make straight paths for your own feet lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but rather let it be healed. Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.”
By striving to BE RIGHTEOUS IN THE EYES OF GOD—that is by being amongst the company of the the Bible characters during our daily meditations of the Word, we can be saturated with Godly thoughts… Godly words—which result in Godly actions. We can BE GOOD examples to others, someone others can look to for encouragement.
This post was inspired by the content of an excerpt from a talk by Br. Tim Alexander titled “Five steps Towards Obedience.”