Thursday, May 11, 2017

Learning to Remain in Him - Obedience

By Alfred Turley

In a previous post a few weeks ago, I started a discussion of the importance of remaining in Christ, and specifically made this point:  We have Jesus Christ, and incredible access to our Heavenly Father.  We have the Holy Spirit living inside of us.  But...  Does He have us?  (You can read the original post here.)

In seeking to remain in Him, I can truly say that the single biggest obstacle to us enjoying God and remaining in Him is obedience.  In John 14:23-24 Jesus says this:

If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.  The one who doesn’t love Me will not keep My words. The word that you hear is not Mine but is from the Father who sent Me.

Now obviously we know that God loves us, even if we don't obey Him.  But in this passage, we are seeing a manifestation of that love in a more active sense.

Why is receiving God's love conditional on obedience?

We can never experience the love of another person unless we align ourselves to receive it.  We have to respond to love and love back.  Think of marriage.  God tells us that the deepest love two humans can know is through his design for marriage, surrounded in commitment, and mutual love and respect (It's a two-way street).  But it means I have to follow His plan, and do what He says and basically follow the instruction manual from the designer.  Any other way won't release the full package He intended.

Obedience aligns us to receive God's love.

God knows what we need and what our hearts thirst for.  And He has made it clear in His word and especially through Jesus' life that obedience to Him actually should yield a light and easy yolk in our hearts (Matthew 11:30) and overall a life of spiritual abundance (John 10:10).  If we want God's best, we need to make obedience a priority!

There are few testing questions I ask myself to help see where I might be out of alignment with God and standing in disobedience.  These questions can help us know what might be in the way, and what we need to deal with to experience God's best in our lives!

Forgiveness:  Is there anyone I need to forgive?  Jesus says in Matthew 18:21 that not forgiving others when we have been forgiven of so much is absolutely unacceptable to Him and to our Heavenly Father.  It is an immediate block to receiving from God when we stubbornly hold on to offense.  In a previous post I stated that when we surrender our lives to Jesus, we surrender the right to be offended.

Fear:  Where do I need to trust God and quit being afraid?  Fear is a terribly blinding path of disobedience that leads us down self-protective, destructive roads.  Fear is the opposite of receiving God's love.  John 4:18 says that God's perfect love casts out all fear.  Fear is choosing to see a lie instead of a truth.  While this is my biggest enemy, and is not at all an easy thing to rid myself of, if I want more of God I have to battle fear and get to faith and trust.

Rebellion:  Am I just refusing to give God control?  This is a very serious block to our relationship with God when we just say "NO" to Him.  Maybe saying "YES" has a cost to it we just don't want to pay, usually out of fear.  But whatever it is, when we know what He wants and we just say "No God", it's a guarantee that we will grow distant with Him and bad things are going to happen.

Self-Centeredness:  Does my world just revolve around my needs?  God loves us tremendously.  But it's not about us, it's about Him.  We must start thinking of living with the needs of others in our focus.  Especially the heart of God.  Receiving His love means loving Him back.  Jesus said in Matthew 23:11 that "the greatest among you will be your servant."  That is definitely someone thinking of others, and not living with themselves at the center.

Are we positioning ourselves today to remain in Christ and receive His love and goodness through obedience?  Let's ask ourselves these questions, and get back on the path of obedience and the path of "Remaining in Christ!"

1 comment:

  1. Remaining in God is a reminder to do an inventory of areas that are standing between my and my relationship with the Creator. Forgiveness of others in a complete sense is an area I need to address. Prayers are requested.