Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

obedience Archive

Thursday

8

July 2021

Selective Hearing

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

A.W. Tozer wrote in his book The Pursuit of God that, “Most Christians don’t hear God’s voice because we’ve already decided we aren’t going to do what He says.” Each of us is guilty of selective hearing at some point or another. Only listening for the answer that we want to hear. But what about with God?

“Most Christians don’t hear God’s voice because we’ve already decided we aren’t going to do what He says.” (A.W. Tozer) | Read more at hopereflected.com

Do not stop listening

Many of us go through seasons where it seems as though we can’t hear God’s voice. During these seasons, it is of utmost importance that we do not stop listening for Him, and that we continue to pursue God through His Word and prayer. “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus,” Paul wrote in Philippians 3:14. Unless we are appealing to Him daily, how can we ever hear His call? The high calling of God is heard through the voice of Christ, and we hear the voice of Christ in His Word.

Unless we are appealing to Him daily, how can we ever hear His call? The high calling of God is heard through the voice of Christ, and we hear the voice of Christ in His Word. Read more at hopereflected.com

Even when it seems that we can’t hear Him, that is the precisely the time that we need to apply our faith and keep pursuing Him. In his letter to the Romans, Paul encouraged them that, “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17). James continued on his eponymous epistle, “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” (James 1:25).

Be willing to obey

We aren’t merely to look into our Bibles, we need to continue to read them regularly, and apply and obey what God’s Word says. This is where many of us slip up. We complain about not hearing God’s voice because we are not willing to obey Him. We wonder why we can’t hear His answer to us asking, “What do you want me to do?” and “Where would you have me to be?” instead of obediently continuing on in the small things right in front of us. 

“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 3:14) | Read more at hopereflected.com

Jesus Himself said, “Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” (Luke 11:28). We shouldn’t be surprised or complain that we can’t hear Him if we are continually excusing ourselves for not having time to go to the very place where He promises to speak to us. For those who are daily in His Word and still say they can’t hear Him, the quantity of our devotional time may not be the problem. “Whether I hear God’s call or not depends on the condition of my ears,” Oswald Chambers wrote in My Utmost for His Highest. The quality of our devotional time suffers when we leave our sin lingering. When it seems as though we can’t hear God, we should always ask ourselves if there is some unconfessed wrong of which we need to repent. If we’re being honest, it is likely that we won’t have to look far to find it.

“Whether I hear God’s call or not depends on the condition of my ears,”

Oswald Chambers, My utmost for His highest

Are we listening only for what we want to hear, or are we drawing near to God in the small and hard work, where He promises to draw nigh to us? (James 4:8).

Originally published as “Selective hearing.” Independent Plus. February 4, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

Friday

4

September 2020

Walking in Obedience

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"And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands." (2 John 1:6) | Read more about walking in obedience at hopereflected.com

“To have Faith in Christ means, of course, trying to do all that He says. There would be no sense in saying you trusted a person if you would not take his advice.”

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

How often do we get caught up in the lip service of Christianity, forgetting the fundamental importance of the actions of our faith. Our obedience to God is the biggest, truest expression of our love for God. “If ye love me, keep my commandments,” is what Jesus instructed us (John 14:15).

Why do we so often do the opposite, or delay in our obedience to God? We wait for a sign, we put Him off, and we neglect to realize that even delayed obedience is actually disobedience. “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey;” Paul asked the Romans in his epistle to them, “whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (6:16). We become the slaves of whatever we choose to obey. Perhaps we don’t even realize that we’re being disobedient when we choose greed, jealousy, hate, bitterness, selfishness, worry, doubt, fear. Don’t be deceived; these all make wicked masters.

Obedience requires a change in behaviour

We need to turn our bad behaviours around. When we find ourselves doubting how we’ll get through something, may we remember: God says He will make a way for us, and make no mistake about it, what God says, He will do. “Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:19). Nothing is impossible for Him!

When we’re being hasty, losing patience, and rushing, may we recall: God calls us to “rest in him and wait patiently for him,” (Psalm 37:7). His thoughts are above our thoughts, His ways are above our ways (Isaiah 55), and His timing is perfect. He is not trying to shortchange us, He is not going to let us miss out, rather God wants His best for us. “The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.” (Lamentations 3:25-26).

Walking in obedience requires perseverance

When we want to give up because it seems a better solution than going through, may we retain: God says that He will fight for us. “The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” (Exodus 14:14). He will not fail us; He will not forsake us (Deut. 31:6). He has promised that, “no weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn.” (Isaiah 54:17).

We can only walk in love when we’re walking in obedience. “And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” (2 John 1:6).

Interested in learning more about walking in obedience? Check out these articles about obedience to God.

Originally published as “Walking in obedience.” Independent Plus. April 30, 2020: 5. Print. Web.

Monday

27

April 2020

Rahab: Obedience from an unlikely source

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"For the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath." (Joshua 2:11) | Rahab: Obedience from an unlikely source | Read more on hopereflected.com

Thankfully, God has a history of using unlikely people for His glory

We all have the opportunity to come to God, and He will never overlook a genuine heart.

Rahab is one such example. A prostitute by profession, Rahab seemed an unlikely person to help the Israelites; after all, she was a Canaanite, one of their mortal enemies. And yet, we read in the first chapter of Matthew that Rahab is part of our Lord’s genealogy! No matter who we are, or where we are at, God can use us.

“for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.”

Joshua 2:11

By being obedient to the Lord, Rahab took a great risk. In Joshua 2, when Joshua sent messengers into Jericho to spy, they lodged at Rahab’s house (2:1). The king of Jericho heard about this, and questioned Rahab, who in turn lied to protect the spies. Rahab took a great risk in harbouring the spies and protecting them. Why take the risk? We find out later in the chapter that Rahab, even though she was a Canaanite, believed in God. “for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.” (v.11) Because she believed in God, Rahab wanted to be obedient, even though it meant taking a great risk. Oswald Chambers once said that “you should let the consequences of your obedience be left up to God.” Obedience to God often requires great risk.

The rewards of obedience must be waited for

Rahab was willing to risk everything by her obedience to God, and because of it, she received a great reward. Rahab asked the spies to show her and her family kindness by saving them before the Israelites took the city of Jericho. She wasn’t afraid to take a risk for obedience, and she wasn’t afraid to ask for what she believed was right. The result? Rahab and her family were saved during the destruction of Jericho. “And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father’s household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.” (6:25) After being rescued out of Jericho, Rahab and her family went to live with the Israelites, and as a result, Rahab can be found in Christ’s family tree.

The rewards of obedience must be waited for, but there is great reward when we are obedient to the Lord. We also learn from Rahab’s example of obedience that she did the right thing. Especially when the world around us seems to going the opposite direction, it can make us question whether what we’re doing or how we’re living is truly right. Rahab, despite the influences around her, knew of the Lord’s faithfulness to the Israelites, and she believed in Him. Her faith was so great that Rahab is included in the “Faith Hall of Fame”, Hebrews 13. Rahab demonstrated obedience by not allowing the people around her to influence her beliefs. Obedience to God may mean persecution from people, but ultimately, there is blessing in obedience. “Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” (Luke 11:28)

You can read more about Biblical obedience here.

Originally published as “Rahab: Obedience from an unlikely source.” Independent Plus. February 21, 2020: 6. Print. Web.

Friday

24

April 2020

Noah: An Example in Obedience

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“Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.” (Genesis 6:22) | Noah: An Example in Obedience | hopereflected.com

One cannot walk with God unless they are walking in obedience

Noah. Abraham. Rahab. Moses. Joshua. David. What is one thing that all of these people have in common? While their lives were all incredibly different, the commonality between them was obedience: They were each obedient to the call of the Lord.    

Look at Noah, for example. When Noah lived, “the wickedness of man was great in the earth,” we read in Genesis 6:5, “and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” We think we’ve got it bad today! The Bible tells us that during Noah’s time, the earth was so filled with evil that the Lord felt bad that he had made man on the earth, and His heart was grieved. The Lord was so grieved that He decided to destroy man from the planet, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” (Gen. 6:8)

“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.”

Genesis 6:8

Why did Noah find grace in the eyes of the Lord? Well, we read in the next verse that Noah was a just man, blameless, and that He walked with God. One cannot walk with God unless they are walking in obedience, there’s just no other path. We can learn so much from Noah and his walk.

Noah didn’t hesitate

Consider this: Noah’s obedience to the Lord was immediate. When God said to Noah, “Make thee an ark,” (Gen. 6:14), Noah didn’t hesitate and say, “Lord, why do you want me to do that?” or “Are you sure you want me to do that? It’s not even raining.” No, Noah, didn’t hesitate. “Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.” (6:22) Noah didn’t question God’s instruction, he didn’t question God’s timing, and he didn’t question his ability to complete the task. American Pastor Steven Furtick says that, “great moves of God are usually preceded by simple acts of obedience.” While the task at hand for Noah certainly wasn’t simple, it was a step that preceded a great move of God.  

It’s also important to recognize that Noah’s obedience was not influenced by others. While it is important that we are prayerful in our decision-making, and that we heed wise counsel, when we are walking with God as Noah did, our obedience won’t be influenced by anyone who doesn’t have our best interest at heart. D.L. Moody once said that, “There will be no peace in any soul until it is willing to obey the voice of God.” It may seem difficult, especially when others question us, however when we are walking in obedience to God, He grants us peace.  

Noah’s obedience saved his life and the life of his family. They entered the ark before the flood started. We read in Genesis 7:10 that it was seven days after they entered the ark that the flood actually started. Sometimes doing the right thing doesn’t make sense. We may not understand the timing, we may not see any realistic reason in the moment, but that’s the beauty of obeying God. We don’t have to have all the answers, because He always does what is best for us.

You can read more about Biblical obedience here.

Originally published as “Noah: An Example in Obedience.” Independent Plus. February 13, 2020: 6. Print. Web.

Monday

20

April 2020

Obedience to God

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

"And this is love, that we walk after his commandments." (2 John 6) | Read more about obedience to God at hopereflected.com

Do we have what it takes to live in obedience to God?

Reading through the book of second Kings in the Old Testament, which accounts for the history of the Northern and Southern kingdoms in Biblical times, it doesn’t go unnoticed how each account begins with either “…and he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD,” or “…and he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD.” How sobering to consider that the lives of so many men – kings, leaders of nations, who led exciting lives and experienced thrilling adventures – can be summed up with so few words.

Are we doing that which is right in the sight of the Lord? Each of us will someday have to give an account, and our obedience to God – or our blatant disobedience – will determine the outcome.

Obedience is not always easy

By nature, – our sin nature, – none of us are obedient. Obedience to God is not something that comes naturally to us. Obedience is certainly not always easy, and quite frankly it’s not always something that we want to do, is it? When distractions are abounding and we’re feeling pulled in different directions, sometimes it seems like the easiest thing to do is to give up, rather than to press on in obedience to Him. That’s our sin nature coming out.

“But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.”

Romans 6:17

Obedience must come from the heart, and as a result, obedience frees us from the bondage of sin. “Ye were the servants of sin,” wrote Paul. That’s past tense. When we make the decision to obey God and to follow after Him and His Word, we are freed from being servants of sin.

“Blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it,” Jesus told us in Luke 11:28. In our “modern” and “progressive” society, obedience to God and His Word is not easy, and it’s definitely not popular. If we are to truly let our light shine and do Kingdom work however, obedience to God must be the foundation. Sure, those chapters of second Kings may be a little dry and sometimes difficult to understand, but we cannot keep God’s Word if we aren’t reading it, and reading all of it. Part of our problem today is that we pick and choose the “pieces” of the Bible that work well for us or that are convenient, rather than taking it all in, even the hard parts.

Obedience takes courage

Charles Stanley once said it takes courage to be obedient. Do we have what it takes? Are we brave enough to follow in obedience to Christ, even when it means walking the path alone? American preacher Jonathan Edwards wrote that two of his resolutions were to “live for God”, and “If no one else does, I still will.” It was also Edwards who wrote that our love for God is demonstrated by our obedience to God.

“And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.”

2 John 6

Originally published as “Obedience to God.” Independent Plus. February 6, 2020: 6. Print. Web.

Friday

13

January 2017

Hope Reflected | The Blessing in Obedience

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

blessing in obedience luke 11:28

The Blessing in Obedience

Piano lessons. Talk to any adult, and they’ll tell you stories from their child hood about piano lessons. The difference in how the stories end is always related to obedience – some individuals demonstrated obedience in practicing piano, while others gave up and moved on to something else. In the long term, the benefits of demonstrating obedience in practicing piano means more than likely those individuals can still play today! It’s a great feeling of satisfaction as an adult to reap the benefits of obedience when you were a child.

The Bible talks a lot about obedience, and the book of Hebrews specifically recognizes great men and women from the Bible who were obedient and faithful: Abraham, Moses, and Sarah just to name a few.

Obedience plays a part in every believer’s life, and the Bible has much to say on the topic of obedience:

Obedience shows that we believe in and love God. Abraham, Moses, Sarah, and other men and women of faith in the Bible, demonstrated their belief and faith in God through their obedience. Jesus said in John 15:14, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Similarly, 1 John 2: 4-5 says, “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.”

Obedience brings glory to God. As Christians, we have a responsibility to be obedient to God’s Word. Though it’s not always easy – especially when popular opinion contradicts much of the Bible’s truths – obedience brings glory to God. Matthew 5:16 says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Obedience brings blessing. Psalm 1:1-2 tells us, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.” We’re also told in Proverbs 13:13, “Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.” Jesus even said in Luke 11:28, “Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.”

Obedience brings freedom. Jesus said in John 8:31-32, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” And with freedom, comes peace. D.L. Moody was famously quoted as saying, “There will be no peace in any soul until it is willing to obey the voice of God.”

What are you waiting for? If you want to see God do extraordinary things in your life, start taking steps of ordinary obedience.

Originally published as “The Blessing in Obedience.” Minto Express, Independent Plus. December 7, 2016: 5. Print.