It’s starting to get serious in Day 4 of the Morning Quiet Time Challenge. Today we’re going to talk about obedience. I bet some of you inwardly cringed at that word (I know I do sometimes), but stick with me. This is key stuff here! This challenge isn’t just fluff; it’s a serious pursuit to revitalizing your relationship with God. I believe each one of you started this because of the Holy Spirit’s prompting, so keep going!
If you missed any of the earlier posts, take a couple minutes to catch up before continuing:
NOTE: I’m basing this challenge on my friend Bob Sorge’s book “Secrets of the Secret Place,” if you’d like to follow along. I bought this book the first night I met and heard Bob speak, and it was a real blessing at a time I was struggling to get back into a daily morning prayer and Bible-reading time. I highly encourage you to buy your own copy today. I promise it will be one of the best investments you make. (Buy it here now. It’s on sale!)
Opening Yourself Up To Obedience
It’s all fine and dandy if we go to our secret place and listen for God to speak….but if we don’t act on what He tells us, it’s not just a waste of time, it’s a sin, plain and simple. (Disobedience.) Jesus half-brother, James, warned us about self-deception:
But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. – James 1:22 NKJV
Obedience is listening combined with action. If you want to see God moving in your life, you have to trust that when He tells you to do something, it truly is in your best interest! God isn’t about making you suffer unnecessarily. And He isn’t going to ask you to do something that He hasn’t instilled a gift or talent for you to be able to do it well. (How would that serve His kingdom?) So relax. It may seem scary at first, but if you trust God enough to say the words, “Your will be done,” I promise He will reward your faith and obedience.
Don’t Get Creative
I consider myself a pretty creative person. But when it comes to the secret place, there’s no room for creativity. We will be doing ourselves a favor if we save our creative ideas for other endeavors, and just wait on God to lead from the secret place. Our only focus should be preparing our heart to act in obedience to whatever God says….and here’s why:
The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plans of the people of no effect. The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations. – Psalm 33:10-11
Did you get that? The LORD’s plans stand forever. Our plans? Those He can bring to nothing in the blink of an eye. So don’t get too attached to your plans. Seek the LORD’s counsel, instead.
The Benefits of Obedience
In his book, Bob lists just 4 benefits of obedience to Christ. See if you don’t think these are worthwhile reasons to place your faith in God’s will for you:
- Obedience unlocks eternally abundant life. Jesus said, “And I know that His command is everlasting life.” (John 12:50 NKJV). Obedience is Life-giving!
- Obedience incurs the gaze of God. “But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My Word” (Isaiah 66:2 NKJV). When you approach your secret place with a willing heart – even one trembling in uncertainty – God fixes His gaze on you and will honor your devotion.
- Obedience produces greater intimacy. Jesus promised to reveal Himself to His obedient servant: “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” (John 14:21 NKJV).
- Obedience builds unshakable foundations. This goes back to Matthew 7:24-27 when Jesus talked about the wise man who built his house upon the rock. When the storms of life come (and they will!), those who walk in obedience (dare I say radical obedience?) will overcome those storms because of the foundation of intimacy with their Creator created while in their secret place…and their obedience to His will when they left it.
If you still need a little convincing, consider what Jesus’ mother said, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” (John 2:5 NKJV) There’s no ambiguity there. Mama said just do it! Mary spent most of her life as witness to Jesus’ authority and compassion. She knew whatever He commanded, it would be in their best interest to obey.
As a mama myself, I know sometimes it would have been easier on my kids if they would have trusted my wisdom and just done what I said….instead of insisting on making their own decisions and suffering the consequences for it. The same can be said for our Heavenly Father and us….his creative, stubborn, often distrusting children. 😉
Obedience Is Our Duty
Our salvation was bought at a great price: Jesus’ death on the cross. But His resurrection proves that our obedience to Him is not folly. If He loved us enough to die for us, don’t you think we can trust Him with our lives?
For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. – 1 Corinthians 6:20
It is good for us to remember that we are servants, bought and paid for in Jesus’ blood. And while servanthood is generally thought of as an outdated or foreign concept to us now, we still understand the ide of being a servant. I am completely convicted at this passage in Bob’s book each time I read it:
Servants don’t try to give the Master a better idea; servants don’t complain that they think the task is stupid; servants don’t try to decide if they’re in the mood to do it right now; servants don’t decide if the task is within their dignity to perform it. They just do it. – Bob Sorge, “Secrets of the Secret Place
Tell me that didn’t convict you, too! We not only don’t ask what God wants us to do because we afraid of the answer….we have the audacity to think we can decide whether or not it’s convenient for us to act on God’s will, or we pick and choose only the parts that seem most desirable to us. Oy…..where do we get off? *shakes head*
The Closer You Get
The upside of becoming more obedient to God is that we get closer to God. The downside (so to speak) is that the closer we get to God, the more obedient we need to be. Remember when God told Moses to hide behind a rock as He passed by, lest Moses be struck dead? That’s about as close to God as we dare get this side of Heaven! Remember also, the Israelites had sent Moses up the mountain because they were afraid for God to come down to them. And with good reason, huh?
So it boils down to this: You can choose to be a “common law Christian” (as one of Bob’s friends put it) who wants the benefits of living with Jesus without the commitment…..or you can be a radical servant who strives to serve God’s will and go deeper and higher with Him. There’s not in-between ground. Jesus has no taste for lukewarm believers. (See Revelation 3:16) :/
If you started this challenge because you are feeling stalled-out in your walk with God, I honestly feel that I’d be doing you a disservice if I told you that anything other than obedience on your part is going to change that. So today, why not ask God to instill in you a desire for obedience? Then pray that again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. And remember….