Posts Tagged obedience

Jesus is Lord?

Romans 10: 9         NIV

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Do you call Jesus Lord? Do you worship him as Lord? Do your daily behaviors reflect his lordship? Do you obey him as lord?

The first question is easy, but I find each subsequent one gets harder. First, I must ask myself what it means to worship him, obey him and reflect him as Lord. We do not live in the feudal Europe of the past, so the idea of lordship is a bit foreign to us. Add to that the high value we place on individuality and independence and we become even further removed. Yet, we are called upon to serve him as our lord. In fact, wasn’t it a prerequisite of your salvation? Didn’t we accept him and confess him as our lord?

The best tool I have is movies. I think about the medieval era movies I have watched and that adds texture to my thoughts. Jesus’ obligation is to care for me. He is to defend me against my enemies and I owe him fealty. I owe him obedience, respect and honor. In return, all my problems become his. I am his responsibility.

Jesus is certainly our brother and our best friend, and we should not lose sight of that, but he is also Lord. His lordship is weighty and should be. He takes his responsibility towards us seriously. We must bear our responsibility towards him just as soberly. His commands are life and death. They are not just wishes. He gives them to us to impart abundant life to us, but obedience is a value unto itself. We should hearken to his word even when we do not understand. His having spoken should be enough.

What is Jesus saying to you today? What has he told you in the past? What are the goals and directives he has given for your life? Has he given you something to do that is yet undone? We are all given this day to begin anew. Each day we have the opportunity to improve upon yesterday. Each day is new and carries new promise. We are not called into condemnation but rather reevaluation. Are we where we want to be in our walk with Jesus? What does he wish to speak to us? Where is he leading us?

Jesus is Lord. He is our leader. His word is command even though it is also blessing. He is a benevolent lord and that is a worthy statement. He is worthy of honor and service. We should enter his court with high praise. He is our lord and our king.

Trust and Blessing

Jeremiah 17: 7

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord.

In a conversation last week, the theme about trusting God kept coming up. Time and time again the circle seemed to close on our learning to trust the Lord. I believe with the people in the conversation last week that this is a critical lesson for us.

Today’s verse says plainly that blessing is in trusting the Lord. Why is that? How can God lead us in the paths of blessing if we do not trust Him enough to follow Him? He can’t. He can point out the way to go but if we do not believe that He is always leading us to the land of plenty then we will hesitate.

Abraham is known for his faith but it was really obedience that made him the Father of the nation of Israel. His father, Terah, received instruction to take his family and go to the land of Canaan but he got comfortable and stopped before accomplishing what God told Him to do. He saw a good land and did not trust God to take him to a better place. Eventually God spoke to Abram telling him to leave his family and go to the place where God would show him. Abram complied and now we know Abraham as the Father of the faith and you didn’t even know Terah’s name. It was through simple obedience that Abram learned that God was on his side. Through obedience, he learned he could always trust God. Through trust and obedience, he became the Father of faith.

Sometimes the big revelations are in the little messages. There is no great message in obedience other than just do it. However, obeying God gives us the evidence and belief that we really can trust Him. As we move over into trust, we find blessing. The blessing has already been provided by our Father. We have to learn to trust Him so that He can lead us to the blessing. Otherwise, we end up wandering around in the tall weeds like the Israelites wandered around in the desert.

How do you learn to be blessed? You learn to trust God daily for the small things. You must learn to hear God for yourself . If you cannot hear God speak to you, how can you trust Him? How can you do what He says if you can’t hear Him. This is ground zero. Practice hearing His voice. Contact this ministry if you need help hearing Him because this is where you must start. Then you can live the life of the blessed person, blessed coming in and blessed going out.

Obedience

Isaiah 1: 19

“If you consent and obey, you will eat the best of the land.”

Pastor, this is one of the quickest ways to empty out the pews; talk about obedience. The very fastest is to teach on tithing, which I did yesterday. However, we must move into what I call “Grown-up Christianity” and I pray that all of the pastors who read today’s devotion are blessed with mature Christians who can hear the Word of God.

Look, there is good news attached to obedience. That is why Isaiah has sent us this word. We don’t have to cringe when we hear the word “obey” because there is blessing tied to it. Hooray! Now let’s just apply some simple logic to this. If I obey God; if I do what He instructs me to do, is it reasonable to expect that good things are going to happen for me? Well of course! Whenever we walk down the path He directs us to, it will always lead to provision and blessing. I have said this before but I imagine the old Pony Express in the American west. Those riders followed a prescribed path. Why? Their provision was there. They had the freedom to go any way they chose but the waystation with the food and fresh horse was on the suggested trail. That is what this passage means to me. When we consent and obey, when we do as the Father has instructed, then the natural consequence of that action is that we eat the best of the land. Isaiah is just trying to get us blessed. He is simply saying that if we will do what God has said, we will benefit.

Now, doesn’t that make obedience a bit more palatable?

Check-up

Luke 6: 46

And why do you call Me “Lord, Lord,” and do not do what I say?

I have this verse highlighted in my Bible and every now and again it just jumps out at me. I kind of wish I had not highlighted it. Then again, it is a good question the Lord Jesus poses and one that is worthy of repeated consideration. How am I doing, today, at following his words?

I am not the only Christian who stumbles here. It is quite easy to settle into a comfortable, if a bit apathetic, routine with the Lord. We are supposed to zealously follow Jesus but it is difficult to retain that zeal on a day by day basis if we are not purposeful about it. The world and life intervene. There are many things we must do and it is so easy for that myriad of obligations and just daily life to take our eyes off of our first love. Then we have to wake ourselves up and look at our priorities. When that event occurs, I think the question we must ask ourselves is, “Am I truly doing what Jesus said?” It seems to me that this question must be answered at two levels. The first and most obvious as well as most important is, “Am I doing all that is recorded in the Bible?” Some people might ask that question differently to essentially limit the assessment to the red letter portion of the New Testament. I believe that to be error because Jesus is the Word. He is the whole Word so when the Bible says in the Psalms to trust the Lord that is every bit as strong an edict as something printed in red ink. So, are we, am I, doing all that Jesus has directed me to do in the Bible?

The second inquiry is into those things God has specifically spoken into my life. Am I following the dietary instruction He has given me? Am I following the course He has laid out for me? Did I give what He told me to give? Did I apologize to that person He told me to apologize to? Basically, this question represents the directions God has given to you pertaining directly to your life.

How are you doing? This is a challenging process but it helps us get back on track if we have slipped a little and it helps us refocus on whom we actually serve as our Lord. As Jesus says, if I am not following what He has told me to do, then how can I really say He is my Lord? It hurts a bit to realize how disobedient I have been but oh, it feels so much better once I realize the truth and apologize to Jesus. We get to start again and he holds no grudge. He is so good.

So, give yourself a check-up. Regardless of the answers, it really does bring life and light into your life and we all need that.

Eternal Life Secret

John 3: 36

He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.

I’ve said it before – Christianity is more than the one time utterance of a salvation prayer. When Jesus went to the cross he had in mind the building of a family. He delivered himself up so that every person could be restored to the family of the Father. What Jesus did for us was very personal and as such, it was meant to bring us individually and collectively into a that very personal experience.

Yahweh is very proud of his son and all that he accomplished. He has raised him to the highest of all pinnacles. He is the first of all children and our lord and high priest. It is important, therefore, that we obey his word, not only to honor him but also because he is leading us into the light and to victory.

We call Jesus Lord and that should imply that we do what he says. First, though, we must know what his words, teachings and commands are. We can know this through our Bible and Bible teaching ministries. To say that we are under his lordship and yet we do not do what he says is to lie to ourselves. He who does not obey the Son will not inherit eternal life because Jesus is the way and he is showing us the way.

Second, we’ve got to learn to listen to his voice speaking in our spirits. How do we do that? How, if you’ve never heard God speak before, do you begin to hear and recognize his voice. Fortunately, there is an easy way and my friends at www.cwgministries.org will show you. 

Eternal life is in the Son. We must hearken to him and to his words. It is not enough to say that we are Christians. That isn’t the secret password to get through the gates. The secret is no secret at all – it is adherence, yes, obedience, to the Lord Jesus. Hear what he has to say, read his word and follow.

Poised for Promotion

Ephesians 6: 5

Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ.

Just in case you thought Friday’s word was a fluke and could ignore it, here is another book in which God commands us to be good employees. God is concerned with the condition of our spirits and our testimony. In everything we do, we are representatives of Him. If we talk about others behind their backs, then we are being bad stewards of the faith God has placed in us. That is especially detrimental when that person is our boss or pastor or some other person God has placed in authority. You are damaging your own spirit and spiritual growth as well as sowing bad seeds and disobeying the directions of the Lord.

Your boss or whomever that person of authority is, will account to God for their actions and that really is none of your concern. Your calling requires you to be the best employee you can and to pray for all of those who are in authority positions. God wants to be able to use you. He wants to be able to send you into situations where you can do His work. You have to take your eyes off of yourself first. Do not be self-concerned but instead pray. God might have put you under that person just because they do need help. How is God supposed to move in the earth if every time he sends a Christian into a situation, they gripe and criticize, worrying only about themselves and their rewards? If the circumstances are not perfect where you work then maybe it is that very brokenness that has attracted God’s attention and the reason why He has sent you there. Be faithful in your current position. Show God you have what it takes to be one of his lieutenants. Then you will be poised for promotion.

Talking to Rocks

Numbers 20: 8, 11

Take the rod; and you and your brother Aaron assemble the congregation and speak to the rock before their eyes, that it may yield its water. You shall thus bring forth water for them out of the rock and let the congregation and their beasts drink. Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came for abundantly and the congregation and their beasts drank.

This is undoubtedly one of the hardest lessons for us to learn. Moses sure learned it the hard way. God told him to speak to the rock and the rock would then yield its water. Moses, instead, struck the rock with his rod. It was an act of pure defiance and it cost Moses dearly. Because he disobeyed God, striking the rock instead of speaking to it, Moses was not allowed to go into the land of promise.

I don’t believe Moses was kept out of the Promised Land as some form of punishment. I think God couldn’t use Moses to take the people into the Promised Land. God was teaching His people that you must speak to your mountains if you want them to move. When they finally did enter into the Promised Land behind Joshua they took Jericho with obedience and a shout. God knew what lay ahead and He had a plan to turn over the land to the Israelites. In order to receive their new land the Israelites need to learn obedience, when to speak and when not to speak. There is a deep message here and it has a great deal to do with the words of our mouth. 

Our words are containers for God’s power. However, if we cannot marshal our tongues then He cannot give us His power. When God instructed the people to march around Jericho He also gave them explicit directions about when to keep silent and when to speak. When the appropriate time came they were instructed to shout. Then the walls of Jericho fell at their feet and all they did was march, obey and speak.

Jesus told us to speak to our mountains in the same way that the Israelites spoke to those walls. (Matthew 17: 20, Matthew 21: 21, Mark 11: 23). He learned from his father that the way to get water from a rock or to get a problem to desist was to speak to it. This is the lesson we must learn if we would live the life of success and grace that Jesus meant for us. Jesus did not say that if we would pray to the Father the mountain would get up and jump in the sea. Now I believe most earnestly in prayer but I am also fervent about doing what Jesus said. That means that I must eventually embrace this notion of speaking to the rock and commanding it to give me water, and talking to that mountain and ordering it into the sea.

I do not expect this teaching to be comfortable. It isn’t to me but I understand that this is where a great number of us are missing it with God. He has told us to speak to the rock and we’re running around hitting it with a stick. There is a time to pray. There is a time to seek. There is also, though, a time to speak to that mountain and this we must learn. Whatever that mountain is that is blocking your way, start speaking to it in the name of Jesus. Tell it what the Word says and tell it to move out of the way. It has to obey.