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The object of obedience is God’s glory. When He calls you to obey Him, it is not about you. In fact, even the offer to forgive our sins is done for His glory alone.

Isaiah 43:25 (NKJV)
25 “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins.

Psalm 25:11 (NKJV)
11 For Your name’s sake, O Lord, Pardon my iniquity, for it is great.

When we do all things for the glory of God, it shows honor and places honor where it rightfully belongs. Honor belongs to the one who created us. Obedience is the clear means through which we are able to point glory to God.

Submission is the first step to obedience. You must have a heart that longs to submit your will to the will of God. The struggle of compliance will always be there, speaking to you to find or ask for another way, but you must untimely surrender to the pure sound of His voice.

Each time I find myself over debating submission to what God is asking me to do, I think of Jesus in the garden before His trial and crucifixion, and I’m humbled and convicted.  He was (and is) 100% God, and He was (and is) 100% human. His humanness calls out in Luke 22:42, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”

That moment of obedience brought matchless glory to God the Father, and it was and is a breathtaking example of perfect obedience. Perfect obedience doesn’t mean that all  struggles are absent. Perfect obedience is untimely your heart crying,  “Nevertheless!”

We need more Christ followers to be “Nevertheless” servants. We owe it to God, and we owe it to a world that watches our commitment to the one that we profess to follow. The opportunity to bring glory to God through obedience should be one of the foremost compelling motives for living.

I’ve often said, “Demons obey God; Nature obeys God, but humans struggle with obedience.

Obey Him unconditionally and as you do, you can be assured that you bring Him the greatest glory in doing so. Don’t let demons or nature upstage you.

obedience

You can give God a gift of obedience, but it’s not always easy.

Facing the responsibility of not obeying God is always more difficult than obeying God in the first place.  What God is calling you to obey may very well be hard, but not obeying Him is much harder.

When you obey God, the outcome is totally in His hands. When you disobey God, the pressure is then put on you; the struggle inside of you never goes away until you obey completely. It eats away until you either surrender or grow farther and farther apart from Him.

God will always point you back to where you last disobeyed Him. The commands of God and the directives of God are designed to bring the very best into your life and to bring God the glory that is His alone.

When we disobey God, we do so in the shadow of the cross. God always directs us to die to self and to die to the attachments of this world. When we surrender to His directions and obey quickly, we show to the world that He is alive, and can be trusted.

Following God is easy when He is leading you in the direction you want to go, but what about when He decides to turn in a new direction with your life? It’s not so easy to obey when that happens, but a Christ follower must surrender.

At times, He will change your direction in big ways, and they are hard enough to obey in themselves. However, I’ve found something much harder. There are times He will seek to change something mundane in your life just to test your heart. I’ve heard it said before, “If Christ does not reign over the mundane events in our lives, He does not reign at all.”

So I close with a question today. How is your obedience?

When I Said No To God

November 13, 2012 — 1 Comment

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From my book, The Descent to Compassion

Abruptly I noticed a strange fog begin to fill the church. It came from the opening just above the sanctuary near the back of our church. As the fog settled among the people, I thought my prayers had been answered in the form of a divine miracle, but that was not the case. Ron had taken a few minutes to walk to a nearby store and buy some air freshener. When he returned, he made his way up the back stairs and emptied the cans into the opening, allowing the mist to float down into our meeting place. It was the smell of pine fresh, like one of those car fresheners you hang from a rearview mirror. A divine answer to prayer it wasn’t, but the attempt to improve the smell was noted by everyone. I wish I could say the air freshener was successful, but the smell of the man still cut through everything. My only option was to quickly bring the service to an end. I concluded the message with an altar call, and a few people came forward to pray. After praying at the altar, the service was completed, but God was just beginning. The King of the Homeless stood alone, untouched by anyone. No one in the church was getting near him, and no one was speaking with him. I knew he was still there, so I kept my distance hoping that he would just leave. It was then that God spoke to me: “Hug him.” His voice was clean, pure, and holy. God waited on me. My response was fast, without thought. “No!” Again, God spoke: “Hug him.”

God spoke for the last time, more insistent than before: “I said, give him a hug!” Chills ran through my body and my heart felt fear. I was suddenly aware that I was standing on holy ground. Testing ground. Proving ground. And, God waited. I turned toward the unknown stranger, and he seemed to be waiting just for me. Years later, reflecting on this moment in my life, I’m fascinated that in Scripture we see nature always obeying God, we see demons always obeying God, but when God speaks to us, His children, we seem to debate obedience. I approached him slowly, and he stood perfectly still. As I embraced him, his smell was overpowering, and I wanted to run, but when he embraced me, something strange happened. Something heavenly took place. I was changed, I was broken, and I was being set free. My body was warm and I could feel blood rushing to the surface of my skin. I could feel God’s presence and it was holy, loving and perfect. The smell departed in the presence of God. Just like the man in the Bible with leprosy, all this man actually needed was a touch when no one would touch him. I wish I could say that he was the one changed that day by my preaching, but I was the one actually changed by his hug. It was at that moment I discovered that the homeless, the untouchables are, in fact, truly touchable, and they will teach you more about God and yourself than you will ever teach them.

Wright, Steve (2012-03-18). The Descent To Compassion (pp. 21-22).  . Kindle Edition.

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At A Crossroad?

August 16, 2012 — 3 Comments

crossroad

Travel most any road and sooner or later, you will come to a crossroad. Once you reach the crossroad, a decision has to be made concerning direction. Which way will you go? Crossroads are not complicated, they are simply a place of choice. I’m convinced that the best way to make the right choice at a crossroad of life is to listen to God’s voice and then obey.

John 10:4-5.“When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. “A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.”

I have often wondered and asked myself, “What would happen if we would listen to God more than we talk to God?”

Would we grow more? (YES)

Would we grow faster? (Yes)

Would we learn more about Him? (Yes)

I’m amazed and humbled God wants to speak to us at all, but most of the time we don’t care to listen.

We only care to talk.

We like to talk.

We like to be heard.

We equate our ‘spiritual bank account’ value by how much we talk.

What if we stopped talking for about a week and just read the Word of God, and listened to what He had to say about life, family and ministry for our lives?  I know He would speak, and then all we would have to do is obey, instead of guessing as to what He would have us to do.

Listen and He will tell you.

Luke 6:46 – “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?”

In order to do what God is telling you, you must learn to listen and then obey.

“In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart.”

— John Bunyan

 

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