Today we look at the fifth response:
But [Jesus] said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” (Luke 11:28 ESV).
Being blessed by God is a Big Deal. Who wouldn’t want that? But the entire testimony of God’s Word is that the only path to blessing is obedience.
And that raises a conundrum for us. My natural response is to say, “I need to try harder to obey more.” But that is the opposite of the gospel! Only grace can save us. And only God Himself, in His gracious love, can help us be more obedient, and thus more blessed.
This is extraordinarily good news, because it gives us another path—one that actually works—in the journey toward obedience:
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
Put the emphasis on the word will, not on keep, and everything changes. I don’t love God because I obey Him. I obey Him because I love Him!
So I only have one step for you today to obey God more:
Love Him more.
Cultivate your love for Him. Set aside time to be with Him in fresh ways. Go on a hike and worship Him the whole day. Read all He says about love in His Word, and ask the Lover of your soul to help you love Him more.
Tell stories of all He has done for you, and ask others to tell theirs. And most importantly, serve others, and spend all the time you can with those who serve Him best.
Recently, I participated in what I believe could become one of the most important things Life Action is called to do in this world. I was in the Middle East with a Life Action team, as part of helping a very strategic group of missionaries deal with the pain of their own souls and find ways to thrive in the hardest places in the world to serve.
I watched them walk around the grounds where our meeting was held, weeping. I heard their pain. I saw their sorrow. They had many reasons NOT to obey God. Not to even be there.
They obeyed for one reason. They love God deeply. And in His deep grace, the Spirit empowers them to obey. And gives them joy on this challenging journey. And they are blessed.
You can obey too. But only if you love. So, how do you get started?
Don’t worry so much about what you don’t know.
“No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15).
You are a friend of God, and He will show you what He is doing and what He wants you to do!
Don’t overwhelm yourself. Start with one area where you already know what God wants you to do. Start with the hardest yes. If you can say yes to the hardest thing, you will be able to say yes to easier things.
Then begin to actively love God in His specific command to you. Tell Him you want to obey. Tell Him you are struggling. Ask Him for strength from His Word and His Spirit. And ask others to join your journey of obedience. Don’t try to obey alone! Obedience is birthed, nourished, and matured in community.
And then, just say yes. “Yes, Lord!” Does that mean you will always obey? No, you will sin. But with more obedience comes more blessing and more motivation to obey.
Just say yes. Like the skilled surgeon I talked to, who felt led to obey God by moving to a culture with one doctor for every 100,000 people, and doing home medical visits instead of her surgical specialty, so she can touch more lives—including the mentally ill and possibly demonized man she found recently, chained to a tree for ten years so he wouldn’t hurt himself or others.
My heart broke as I heard this story. But my heart was also filled. No one makes this decision without love for Jesus being greater than all other motivations.
I want this in my life. Let’s go and do likewise. Let’s love. Let’s obey and live a life of blessing.
And let’s encourage others to join us on this blessed journey of obedience. That’s what a revival ministry does! And I hope that’s an encouraging word for you this week.