Starting at age five, our children are enrolled in school and given lessons to learn each year. We are students too. At salvation, we became participants in the Lord’s school of obedience. There, we are discovering the necessity of trusting Him and waiting for His direction. We are taught the importance of commitment, and to learn to search His Word for guidance. God also wants us to learn these lessons:
• Listen attentively to the Spirit’s promptings. Our God does not speak in an audible voice, but He makes Himself heard quite clearly through the Holy Spirit. Jesus said the Spirit is our Helper who will bring to mind Scripture passages we have studied and show us how they apply. “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:26)
• Obey the next step. Abraham was called to leave his home and journey to an unknown destination. “The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.'” (Gen. 12:1). He obeyed even though the way was unclear to his human mind. We, too, must step out in faith even when we do not know all the details of the itinerary. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;” (Proverbs 3:5)
• Expect conflict. We can’t live obedient lives without having trouble with the world. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). Our friends or family may drift away when they realize certain interests of ours have changed. Some may hurl criticism our way or call us unkind names, while others may reject us completely.
Even when they do (notice I didn’t say “if”), remember that we are called to love one another anyway! “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34) Jesus doesn’t love us because we are lovable — we are all sinful creatures and don’t deserve the love and mercy our Father bestowed upon us. And yet He loves us extravagantly, when we don’t merit His love. Loving one another (whether merited or not) is being obedient to our Lord.
Practicing a lifestyle of obedience doesn’t mean we’ll never make mistakes. But it does require diligence if we are to succeed. Obeying the Father was Jesus’ priority and purpose in life, and we should make it ours as well. Which of these lessons do you want to tackle first?
- My Bible Study
- God’s School of Obedience by Dr. Charles Stanley