Obedience

Blessing comes through obedience.

There’s no other way to put it.

It is only when we obey God and live life His way that we truly experience Him and all that He has to offer us.

Obedience is a key concept in how we relate to Almighty God.

The question is not “What does God want me to do?” but, “Am I willing to do what God wants me to do?

“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” (Ephesians 3:16-19, NLT)

 That’s what we all want … to experience God’s power, and His love, and His grace. But all of that blessing comes through obedience. There’s no other way to put it. It is only when we obey God and live life His way that we truly experience Him and all that He has to offer us. Obedience is a key concept in how we relate to Almighty God. We obey Him because we love Him! 

What comes to your mind when you think about obeying God?

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At this point in your life, are you willing to obey God … in what areas of your life?

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The entire Bible if full of evidence that God is serious about obedience. He wants us to obey Him. If you type “obey” into the key word search on the online Bible reference Bible Gateway (www.biblegateway.com), you will come up with more than 200 references … and nearly all of those verses are talking about obeying God!  Here are just a few:

“Tell me,” Samuel said. “Does the Lord really want sacrifices and offerings? No! He doesn’t want your sacrifices. He wants you to obey him.(1 Sam. 15.22, CEV)

“Obey the LORD your God and follow his commands.” (Deuteronomy 27:10, NIV)

“Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law and obey it with all my heart.” (Psalm 119:34, NIV)

We obey God because we love Him!
The entire Bible is full of evidence that God is serious about obedience.
The main problem for us when it comes to our obedience of God is not ignorance, it is defiance.

“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” (Luke 11:28, NIV)

What do you learn from the preceding four verses about obedience to God?

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How do you feel about the word “obedience?

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Is the concept of obedience difficult or easy for you as you think about it in relationship to your own life in general?

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Who are some of the people you obey? Why?

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What are some of the reasons you choose to disobey people and rules that are in your life?

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If we’re really honest, the main problem for us when it comes to our obedience of God is not ignorance, it is defiance. Ouch!  We don’t obey God because we don’t want to!  The Bible records a consistent recurring scenario: God’s people do not listen to Him, they do not take Him seriously, and they repeatedly disobey His commands. After a period of time God punishes them. And as a result they experience terrible, serious, and painful consequences. This happens over and over and over. “They would not listen” is a tragic, common phrase in the Old Testament!

Are you serious about trusting and obeying our loving Heavenly Father? Unfortunately many Christians look, dress, act, talk, lie, cheat, and participate in the same godless activities as non-Christians, and therefore our ability to impact our hurting world is seriously compromised.  The question is not “What does God want me to do?” but, “Am I willing to do what God wants me to do?” 

In what areas of your life do you think God wants you to obey Him?

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Never think that your relationship with God is a matter of Him saving you and then handing you a bunch of rules to obey! That is simply dead religion. A relationship with God brings about a changed life, a desire to do what He wants you to do that stems from your relationship with your Heavenly Father!

We cannot obey God in our own strength… the Holy Spirit motivates and empowers us to obey Him!
Our act of obedience is to surrender our lives to the Holy Spirit, and allow Him to make us Christ-like.

We cannot obey God in our own strength. We simply cannot. God’s law proves that to us. God’s law exposes us as sinners. But it is because we have a new life in Jesus Chris that we obey God! It is because of our relationship with Jesus Christ that the Holy Spirit motivates and empowers us to obey Him!

As an example, let’s consider love for a moment. On our own, it can be almost impossible sometimes to love others. But because of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is actively at work in giving us His supernatural love for others. God’s love is forgiving rather than judgmental, patient rather than irritable, and compassionate rather than easily angered and embittered towards others. We obey God’s command to love others through the Holy Spirit working in us.

Many Christians are able to put on a good front, which appears loving, while holding deep grudges and resentments inside. Christ’s love is totally different; it begins on the inside. When we confess our sin of resentment, God’s love takes over.

Since it is impossible for us to simply improve our sinful natures, our act of obedience is to surrender our lives to the Holy Spirit, and allow Him to make us Christ-like.

Additional Study: Soul Prescription: Experience True Healing and Freedom by Bill Bright & Henry Brandt. God longs to see you living in the joy and freedom that He promises in his Word, but sometimes we choose poorly and end up with destructive habits. This book presents a unique, methodical, and biblically based approach to eliminating sin habits so that you can live a victorious Christian life.
Also: Grace Rules by Steve McVey. There’s a big difference between living by the rules and letting God’s grace rule you. If you’re living by the rules you’ll always be exhausted. You’ll feel that you’re not doing enough for God and that if you don’t quite measure up, He will be displeased with you. But God never meant for the Christian life to be that way! His love for us isn’t based on how we perform for Him. He sent Christ to set us free from rules. He didn’t call us to serve Him in our own feeble power, but to let His power flow through us—a power that is without limit! What’s more, this power is already available to us right now. God has provided everything we need for a truly meaningful, joy-filled life here on earth—all because of His marvelous grace. Rest in God’s grace, and let Him live through you—because Grace rules!

Galatians 2:20 explains it this way, “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (NLT).

What part of this verse do you need to claim for your own life?

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 Biblical obedience must be enabled by the control of the Holy Spirit and cannot be accomplished in any other way! 
Ephesians 4:23-24 says, “Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.”

Application:

Make a list of all of the areas in your life that require obedience in some way:

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Evaluate which areas you are actually obeying and in which ones you are not obeying–even a little.

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Choose one area where you are disobeying and find a verse of scripture to memorize and apply to that area of your life. Thank God for the Holy Spirit’s power to help you become more obedient.

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Related Lessons From Series Two: Empowered by Christ

Share the Good News!

As followers of Jesus we have the privilege and responsibility of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with those around us! You have the amazing opportunity of telling others about who Jesus is and what He has done for you!

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Know What God Wants You to Do Every Day

Many times what God wants us to do is very clear. When we talk about knowing what God wants us to do this is sometimes referred to as “knowing God’s will”. We can know God’s will in two different ways: through His general will and His specific will. God reveals His will to us through His Word, through the Holy Spirit, through other people, and through providential circumstances.

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