Obedience—for some people this word has severe and harsh connotations. “You must obey God so that He will love you.” For me, 30 years ago, the understanding that I could obey God and hear his word was actually liberating. If you have heard me teach or preach very much you know that I operate from the biblical perspective that God’s love is unconditional and not earned. Obedience flows from a life that is responding to God’s revelation. It’s freeing. It’s liberating. It’s passionate. 30 years ago, realizing I could hear his voice and be obedient, helped me to see how much dignity and integrity God gives every human being. It is the work of the Holy Spirit in us. It takes practice, time and perseverance. Obedience opens the door to a true relationship with him.
Oswald Chambers says of obedience, “All of God’s revealed truths are sealed until they are opened to others through obedience. You will never open them through philosophy or thinking. But once you obey, a flash of light comes immediately….The only way you can get to know the truth of God is to stop trying to find out and by being born again. If you obey God in the first thing he shows you, then he opens up the next truth to you. You could read volumes on the work of the Holy Spirit, where five minutes of total, uncompromising obedience would make things as clear as sunlight.”
Most of us know areas in our life where, because we believe in Christ as our Lord and Savior, we know what to do or what not to do. Obedience in these areas is usually pretty clear. Obedience to decisions that involve several good options is sometimes more difficult—a new job, a new opportunity, having children, getting a degree, etc. For me, as I obey in the areas that are clear morally and ethically, it becomes easier to understand his voice and other areas of decisions. It just works that way.
This month, find some opportunities, in the context of worship, to hear his voice. It might be noonday prayer, a lunch break to find the power of God to fill you throughout the day. Or a morning prayer service at your church. Both of these corporate prayer services provide a rhythm of life and prayer that connects us to God, each other and the historic church throughout the centuries. Or just have your own time of prayer, reading of Scripture and listening for God’s voice so you can obey. What joy.