Obedience

Obedience

Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The Lord said “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. Genesis 6:5-8

But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark- you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you. Genesis 6:18

Then the Lord said to Noah, “Enter the ark, you and all your household, for you alone I have seen to be righteous before Me in this time. Genesis 7:1

Noah did according to all that the Lord had commanded him. Genesis 7:5

The rain fell upon the earth for forty days and forty nights. On the very same day Noah and Shem and Ham and Japeth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife and the three wives and his sons with them entered the ark,. Genesis 7:12-13

Thus He blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky and they were blotted out from the earth; and only Noah was left, together with those that were with him in the ark. Genesis 7:23

I read the story of Noah and the flood a month ago and was overwhelmingly struck with a part of the story that had never resonated with me so strongly before; Noah’s obedience saved his family. I KNEW that intellectually, but this time when I read it the Holy Spirit showed me God’s words and they hit me right to my core. He has been pressing in on me about obedience to Him, and used Noah to really make it clear. How many times in the bible does God say “and your descendants” or “your sons”, or “your children” when describing our relationship with obedience and God and His love and concern for passing that down to our family. In just a VERY quick survey of the scriptures I found 11 examples of this, which only took me a minute so I know there is more. Now I am not saying that my obedience to God will make my daughter a Christian, but I do believe living in the home of a believer puts her under the influence of someone who has the Holy Spirit guiding me, to show her Christ, and THAT is the example I want for her. 1 Corinthians 17:13-14 And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy. This was one of the first scriptures God showed me for guidance in my marriage to a pre-believer ( my affectionate term for my husband who doesn’t believe in God).

One of the pearls of wisdom I have received during this lesson in obedience is this; Sin can have its affects for many years to come on us and those around us and to think about what sin does to the testimony of God’s name. This came from a wise Titus 2 woman from my MOMS group. My disobedience, my making excuses, my rationalizing what my flesh wants, my comparing what I am doing to someone else, all of that SIN, has an affect on not only me but my descendants! The obedience word, the reason it originally came up, the reason I have been “schooled” in this area by God is because of something so silly; Facebook. I have done every one of the above mentioned things, rationalizing, making excuses, etc…but God has made it clear, in MANY, MANY scriptures that, right now, Facebook is off limits for me, it just isn’t good for me. It is churning up things in me, like pride, and coveting, and it is also draining my time, it has become something that has enslaved me. Hmmm… what does God say about that? All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12. Facebook isn’t bad in and of itself. Facebook isn’t a sin for everyone; I am only speaking of me. For me, I abuse it. That abuse of it, the addiction to it is the sin, the idol it is, that is the sin. I make the excuse that there are so many good pages on there I follow that I get a scripture from so it is okay. Most of those pages I can subscribe to get emails so I can still read them and bypass Facebook. I say that my family cannot see pictures of SG if I am not on there and the WHOLE world can’t follow the cute antics of my 3 year old. That is unhealthy pride in me. As Luke 10:42 puts it, only ONE thing is necessary, for Mary has chose the good part, which shall not be taken away from her. Am I sitting at Christ’s feet when I am on Facebook? Am I humbly seeking His wisdom? No, I am exaulting myself and my child. Ouch that hurts. It hurts bad. Thank my loving God for showing me that He will hide nothing from me, it is all in His Word, which I can plainly read in the Bible, I don’t have to find it in snippets of scripture on a pretty flowery background on a blog post on Facebook. Those things are fine, but I should be spending more time in comprehensive Word. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 – All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. Again, friends, I am not saying those things are wrong for you, but I am addicted to Facebook, so they are wrong for me. I am not saying that down the road, Facebook might be healthy for me again, and a way to share Christ and the joy I have in Him, all I know is now, for the foreseeable future, I have been shown that being on Facebook is disobedience. Another loving act of God is that since I have been off Facebook this time, the desire for it has diminished. 1 Corinthians 10:13 – No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. It seems so silly that I am talking about Facebook when I am speaking of this verse. It just proves that the things of this world can be sneaky, they can draw you in. Anything that is not done in moderation can become an addiction and an idol. Even a silly website.

I was reminded, so timely, by my pastor in his sermon this past week that my obedience isn’t MY good work, it is from the Holy Spirit and by God’s grace. Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age. I want my response to be, YES, I love you Lord, thank your for your instruction, YES to whatever you say. Sadly my response isn’t always that immediate but by God’s grace, He is working in me so that I am yielding to the Holy Sprit more. This is so hard to explain to a non believer but oh what joy to recognize this as a believer and to recognize it in other believers! I am not doing God a favor by obeying Him, I am not gaining more love from Him, I am not becoming more saved when I obey Him, but it is HIS gift to me! He wants what is best for me and by mercifully allowing me to abide in Him and receive the Holy Sprit to illuminate a passage of scripture that convicts my soul and shows me a sin I need to turn from and yield to the Holy Sprit in obedience, wow what a gift!!!

There is more irony, a wonderful story only God could write, about the word obedience. When I got married, before I was saved, I did not want the word “obey” in my vows. I was put off by that word. So much of society is put off by that word. It is a four letter word. I equated it to an animal, a dog, obeying its master. The difference in having your eyes opened is astounding. The fact that, THAT word was a point of contention for me almost ten years ago, and now I am writing about my LOVE for God showing me how to obey Him, is the hand of God. A miracle in my life. My disobedience was killing me, destroying me; I disobeyed every authority in my life then. I didn’t want any authority over me. To continue the wonderful story, the one ONLY God could write, guess what my first big test of faith was as a Christian? It was to obey God in submitting to an unbelieving spouse. I was saved half way into our almost ten year marriage. Several years ago my husband came to me, at the height of my yearning to know God more, at the time when I found a church home and was grounded in the Word and was for the first time ON FIRE for the Lord, my husband said he didn’t believe in God. Test. Refining. Buckle up. Here it comes. God wanted me to really turn to Him, to really rely only on Him and He gave me quite a shock to get my attention. Again, by His grace, His Word spoke exactly to my situation and told me what to do. Submit to your husband. Submit to ME, obey ME, by honoring your husband, EVEN when He doesn’t believe in Me. Proverbs 31:10 –An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life. As stated above, 1 Corinthians 17:13 says to not send him away. 1 Peter 3 says to be submissive to him EVEN if he is disobedient so that my behavior speaks louder than any words I can say. Love, as so beautifully stated in 1 Corinthians 13:7 – bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Obedience is no longer a word I am uncomfortable saying. It is a word that to me, means love. It is also not about ME. It is first about God. 1 John 4:19 We love, because He first loved us. I want my response to God to be obedience so that I will cause “no hindrance to the gospel of Christ”. Romans 6:1-2 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? I want my testimony to be showered with the word obey because God will receive the glory for the work He is doing in a girl’s life who HATED the word obey. I want my daughter to know why obeying is a beautiful response to the greatest act of love. His love for us. Christ’s substitutionary atonement for my sin, the reconciling work Jesus did on the cross, the forgiveness of my absolute rejection of God, all of that, needs a response. The only response that is appropriate, obedience.

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