This week's topic is a deal-maker, or a deal-breakerobedience.
In Week One we looked at walking in the light, and realized that we choose to walk in light or darkness. Then in Week Two we looked at walking in the truthif it's sin, then be honest about it, and call it what it is!
Walking in obedience is the hardest of the four weeks because it requires us to act on what we know. We know some things in our lives are sin, but will we turn from them?
Our question for today is:
Why should I walk in obedience?
We are going to start in the Old Testament, where God has some bold promises for those of us willing to walk in obedience. That's the thingthe promises are huge, bold and, in some cases, more than we can believe. But the majority of believers never walk in obedience, so they miss the power of God in their lives. I pray that's not going to be us!
Deuteronomy 28:1-14 is our text for today. We are going to look for certain words and record what God says about each one:
If (4 places)
You will (4 places)
The LORD will (7 places)
Do you believe the Bible is 100% true?
Is this passage of Scripture your current reality?
Do you want it to be?
Look for the one time you see the word "walk." What are we to do?
What are the four ways we are learning to walk? (If you need a hint, look at our title for the four weeks.)
If I walk in the ____________________, I will walk in ____________________.
If I walk in ____________________, I will walk in _____________________.
We can do this because we have the Holy Spirit in us, with power available to help us in any area with which we are struggling. Not just to help us make it through, but to help us conquer that area!
Just to clarify a little, God isn't promising us a life of ease, with money overflowing in the bank and nothing bad ever happening in our families. That's not reality. The reality is that a lot of the bad things in our lives come simply from our choices, but God's promise is that if we choose to obey Him, it won't affect us.
Can you think of a couple of examples?
Let me share a few that come to mind:
If we choose to drink, we run the risk of becoming addicted. No alcoholic ever got that way except by first choosing to drink.
Sexual sin destroys lives, but no one ever goes from living a pure life, to a life of sin, without walking closer and closer to it. If you flirt, and you're married, you are walking into a trap. You may escape, but an escape is normally painful.
Debt is another example. Every time we choose to keep spending when we shouldn't, we are putting ourselves in the position of slaves.
If we are following 100% hard after Jesus, can you see how so much of the pain and destruction would not be a part of our lives?
Today we are going to look at what Jesus said in John 15:1-17. We are going to follow the same format as yesterday, so look for these words and record what you learn:
If (5 places) Will (6 places)
Obey (2 places)
After reading this, can you see the similarities to the passage we read in Deuteronomy?
Tomorrow, we are going to pull it apart just a little more.
I hope you are being stretched as much as I am. I want a life where I see God move, with my own eyes, whenever I pray. When Jesus says, "bear fruit," that's what He is talking aboutsomething you see, touch, feel, taste, share and savor. We want to show ourselves to be his disciples.
There are two huge areas where we are called to obedience, and everything in our lives falls into one or the other:
Love God with everything you have,
and love people like you love yourself.
We are going to look at both of these. Today we will start with loving God.
In John 15:19 and 14:14 what does it say to you as a child of God?
When you read that, what does it mean to you?
What do you consider 'worldly?'
It's really an attitude more than anything. Worldliness is putting anything above God. It could be buying clothes I don't really need, when God has shown me that there is someone in my life who has a real need.
Hearing God's voice is a huge key He uses to have us help others. Are we tuned in to His voice enough to be able to hear Him? When we do hear Him, will we obey?
Write an example of worldliness and how to overcome it.
In 1 John 2:15-17, John list three ways we have the temptation to love the world. What are they?
In your life today, identify where you are tempted in each of these areas.
Will your love of God overcome your love of the world?
How can you strengthen your love of God?
The more we obey God and see Him at work in our lives, the more we will want to obey God.
God rewards those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). Over and over you will find that God blesses the obedientnot the smartest, cutest, most talkative, best church attendee, or even the one who gives the most. He blesses the ones who love Him enough to obey Him by putting Him above all the world has to offer!
Once we start loving God through our obedience, it is naturally going to show in our love of each other.
"Love each other" occurs over and over in the New Testament, and when we are walking in obedience, I don't think this is hard for us to do. Outside of that it's very hard.
Each of us is at a different spot with God, so let's ask Him this question: "Would you consider me obedient?"
If you feel Him saying "Yes," then list how you are currently loving people.
Your Brothers/Sisters in Christ AND The Lost
Do you feel like there is something different you need to be doing? Write it here, and start taking steps to do it.
On the other hand, some of you may be feeling God say, "No, you're not obedient." Don't despair. The first step in overcoming any area is realizing it's a problem. If that is you, then first tell God you're sorry, and thank Him for showing it to you.
Do you realize how special we are? God is willing to forgive us and restore us. As soon as we hang our heads and say, "I'm so sorry," He lifts our heads and says, "You're forgiven and purified from this unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9) and "go and sin no more" (John 8:11).
I love that partHe purifies us, right then! All we have to do is say we're sorry and mean it. He knows our hearts, so He knows if we really mean it.
What steps do you need to take to start being obedient?
Let's do it together!
I know how hard this week may have been for you. It has just about killed me because God is asking me to be obedient in a way that, in my eyes, doesn't make a whole lot of sense. It's almost too big a step for me to take.
Most of the time I have had to stop doing something (something worldly) in order to be obedient, but this one is different. It's a matter of following God in a different way. You may have the same battle raging. Really, no matter what way God is calling you to obey Him, it's a battlebut we are going to win, because our God is the biggest!
Today I want to pray for YOU! I know the day you should be reading this if you are taking it with us in January, and it's marked on my calendar. But no matter when you read this page, I'm asking God to apply this to you.
Dear God, let us love one another, for love comes from You! (1 John 4:7). You paid a high price in order for us to have the freedom to choose to obey You. Thank You, and help us to show You that we appreciate it by obeying You (John 14:6). You know how hard it is to obey because You have been in the same place we arecrying 'Is there another way?' (Luke 22:39-42). You received strength from an angel. Thank You that we receive strength from Your Holy Spirit. Help us to learn to draw strength when we need itdaily.
Most of all, I pray with every ounce of my heart that we see, with our own eyes, something that makes us fall to our knees, thanking You that You have shown us who You are. Each of these who takes You at Your word, on the offer of blessings for a life of obedience, is very special (Deuteronomy 28). Thank You for the chance to invest just a little in their lives.
Let us walk in a way that causes those who know us best to look at us and say, 'There's something different about you,' so that we can share Your Son with them!
We love You and praise You for what You have already done, and what You are willing to do!
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