Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Obedience Changes Your Heart

We teach our children Christians are not to wait until we feel like obeying God's commandments. Jonah provides us a good example of what happens when we run from obedience instead of running to obey! We tell our children to "Flee from sin, but run to obedience!" It is the act of obedience that bring the reward of God's joy into our lives:

John 15:10-11 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

Christians who are waiting for the right moment or "favorable circumstances to obey" are, in fact, being disobedient. When we know the right thing to do, we are to do it. Being willing to obey is not the same as obedience. Partial obedience is also disobedience. We should be quick to obey because of our deep love of Christ, because it gives a testimony to others about our faith, and because it is for our own good.

James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

Do not waste time bothering whether you 'love' your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. -C.S. Lewis

You cannot make yourself feel something you do not feel, but you can make yourself do right in spite of your feelings. -Pearl Buck

James 1:22,25 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

Look at I Peter 1:22. It says that we are purified by obeying truth (God's commands) and our obedience results in the ability to sincerely love others. I understand this. I had a difficult person who hurt my family. I didn't want anything to do with them, but God said to open the door to them. I didn't have the "feelings" to obey. I obeyed out of trust in the Most High. Now, He has not only filled my heart with an inexplicable love and concern for them, but gave me joy in it. A close relationship with Jesus Christ is full of excitement and reward.

1 Peter 1:22  Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.

Now look at John 14:23-24. It says that if we love God, we will obey Him. The reward here is that God will come and be with us.

John 14:23-24 Jesus replied, If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching.My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

Something happens to us when we know and acknowledge God's will in an area of our lives. We become very eager to act in obedience knowing it will please our Father. It can be very frustrating for someone who knows what God's will is and has an eager heart for obedience to wait on others to get to that point. We want to make haste to do the right thing, but the other person won't meet with us or presents a barrier for us. They either won't study the Bible to see what God has to say, won't acknowledge what is written, or they acknowledge what His will is, but won't do their part. We have to wait while they wrestle the truth with fear, pride, etc.  That's when we start learning about patience as we wait for them to take their eyes off the troubled waters around them and put their eyes on Christ and walk into the deep waters of faith. At that point, we need to not pressure them and ask God to move them.

I Peter 3:13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?