I still remember a piece of parenting advice my wife and I received early in our family life: “If your children learn to obey between birth and five years of age, the rest of child-rearing pretty much takes care of itself.” Profoundly simple counsel, but as the ensuing years with our children quickly taught us, very difficult to get right!
The reason obedience is so important is that it keeps a parent and child in sync with each other. Ironically, the primary beneficiaries of obedience were not us as parents, but rather our children. Their obedience enabled the blessing of our parental wisdom and resources to work on their behalf.
The same principle is true in our relationship to our heavenly Father. As we submit to the authority of the Word of God, the lordship of Jesus Christ, and the leadership of the Holy Spirit, we are the glad beneficiaries of God’s blessing and guidance. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice . . . and they follow me” (John 10:27).
I am convinced that the greatest deterrent to experiencing God’s presence in revival and spiritual awakening is disobedience—not out in the world, but inside the church! In fact, of the thousands of churchgoers who rightly affirm the inerrancy of the Scriptures, how many of those same people functionally neglect the authority of God’s Word over their everyday lives?
I guess that shouldn’t surprise me. The greatest struggle I face personally isn’t acquiring more truth, but learning to obey the truth I already know. From Lucifer’s refusal to obey God in the heavenly realms, to Adam and Eve’s refusal to obey God in the Garden, the urge to go our own way is our biggest obstacle.
Disobedience stands in the way of our fulfilling the purpose of our lives. It stands in the way of our fellowship with God. And, obviously, it stands in the way of revival!
As A. W. Tozer boldly asserted, “Revival will come when even prayer is no longer used as a substitute for obedience.”
Don’t skip over what is perhaps the most important question you will ever be asked: “What is the one area of your life that, if you fully obeyed, would tear down all barriers between you and God’s fullest blessing in your life?”
A youthful Evan Roberts stood up in 1904 before a Welsh congregation that seemed hard and distant. After a long pause, he put away his notes, believing that one more message would not penetrate hearts that had grown so cold, calloused, and carnal. Instead, he spoke just four words: “Obey the Holy Spirit.”
When Roberts sat down that evening, God stood up. Revival swept Wales and moved throughout the world in a remarkable and unstoppable fashion.
It is time for us to sit down so God can stand up. It’s time to obey God.
Of all songs ever sung during our Life Action church events over the years, this children’s song has received the most response:
Obedience is the very best way to show that you believe:
Doing exactly what the Lord commands, doing it happily.
Action is the key, do it immediately—joy you will receive.
Obedience is the very best way to show that you believe.
And that is what this issue of Revive is about and why our passion at Revive Our Hearts, Life Action, and OneCry is to inspire your next yes to God. Are you living the very best way . . . saying yes to God daily?
Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.