Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey my commands.” (John 14:15) Obedience is required in the Christian life. There are times we all wish it was not, but the consequences of disobedience have the ability to remind us of this: You are always better off when you obey God.
Think about following a recipe. If you get just one ingredient wrong, it ruins what you are making. I remember one time my wife was making her famous chocolate chip cookies. We were very surprised at how poorly they turned out when she had to make them without baking soda. Such a small quantity of such a seemingly insignificant ingredient makes such a big difference. My taste buds can testify, you have to follow the recipe! And just as you have to follow the recipe to produce the best cookies, so we must follow God’s Word to produce the best life.
Why is obedience difficult? It is difficult because it puts someone else in charge instead of ourselves. As humans, we want to run the ship. “Don’t tell me what to do” could be somewhat of an American anthem. However, the humble Christian wakes up each morning saying, “Lord, tell me what to do. You know best. When I lead, I ultimately end up messing things up.”
Prayer is the great link between the knowledge to obey and the action of obeying. Jesus prayed “Not my will but yours be done.” How powerful that prayer is! And what a difference this prayer would make in our lives if we prayed it from our heart each day. While the words we say in prayer and the condition of our heart as we speak them are important, time in prayer is also vitally important.
We must be people who learn to sit patiently with God. The Bible teaches the principle of waiting on God. See the imagery of Psalm 130:5-6:
I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in His Word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.
In those times, the watchman were assigned their post until the first sight of day break. Thus, as they grew tired during the night, they were eager for the sun to breakthrough the darkness. We must mimic their endurance as we wait for God’s Presence to breakthrough our darkness. Jesus can be a great encouragement to us as He was observed praying through the whole night. Let’s follow His example and make a true connection with God instead of rushing through our prayer times.
The reason lingering with God is so important is because it builds trust. And we are willing to obey the people that we trust. I have asked God why I don’t obey Him and I have heard Him respond, “It’s because you do not trust me.” Think about it, if we trusted what God’s Word says about a matter, we would do it. However, often times we doubt His ways and have to live with the consequences of choosing our own path.
We are willing to obey the people that we trust.
When it comes to witnessing, there is a very simple command God gives us in Scripture. “Go into the world and preach the Gospel to everyone.” It is amazing the fruit that can come from simple obedience to this command. Those that accept this command with childlike faith and put it into practice experience the joy of seeing others saved.
If you are not being obedient to this command, ask yourself, “Do I not trust God?” And further, “Am I not spending enough time with Him to trust His Word?” If you struggle with these questions, say a simple prayer now asking God to help you trust Him and admitting in humility where you lack. He has the supply for all you need. He will answer you.
The late evangelist Reinhard Bonnke was faced with a difficult decision of obedience when He first began ministering in Africa. He was convinced that God had asked Him to go there and preach the Gospel. Shortly after He responded to the call God had given him, the leaders from his mission board came to observe his work. After seeing the the ways He was starting to expand his ministry they instructed him to shut it down and follow the pattern the organization had set for all its missionaries.
Faced with a difficult decision on whether or not to obey His leaders, He prayed by himself in a hotel room. In that room, God spoke to Bonnke that if he dropped the vision, it would be given to someone else. Bonnke promptly resigned from the mission’s organization and followed the recipe God had given Him to reach Africa. Bonnke’s evangelistic ministry went on to win 75 million people to Jesus Christ.
There is great power in our “yes” to God. May you and I be obedient today as God calls us to share the best news ever with a world who desperately needs to hear it.