Tuesday, July 03, 2007

"One Of The Secrets To Experiencing Change"

I found a story online about ex-quarterback Roger Staubach that I want to start with today…

Roger Staubach who led the Dallas Cowboys to the World Championship in '71 admitted that his position as a quarterback who didn't call his own signals was a source of trial for him. Coach Landry sent in every play.

He told Roger when to pass, when to run and only in emergency situations could he change the play (and he had better be right!). Even though Roger considered coach Landry to have a "genius mind" when it came to football strategy, pride said that he should be able to run his own team.

Roger later said, "I faced up to the issue of obedience. Once I learned to obey there was harmony, fulfillment, and victory."

Many Christ-followers wonder why their lives aren’t going better. They can’t understand why things are the way they are.

They regularly attend church. They read their Bible. They pray. But things still aren’t any different! Why?

Because there’s something their life is missing – it’s the one of the things that will change it all if they just added it to their life. What is it?

Obedience. We need to obey God if we’re ever going to see change in our life. Without obedience, there’s no change!

This is obvious, but most of us never realize this missing element in our lives. We disobey God in different areas of our lives and then wonder why things aren’t working out right.

Obedience is one of the secrets to a better life.

Over the last few months, we’ve been talking about doing simple, but powerful things: praying for friends we want to know Jesus, reading, memorizing and meditating on the Bible, so we can know God’s and his word more, and shining the light of Jesus to other people around us by doing good deeds.

In our last larger gathering we had on June 10th, I told you that the most important thing is that we need to make sure that in all we’re doing that we’re loving God. Without love of God behind all this we’re just doing empty, lifeless rituals! I told you that Jesus said the way to show that we love him is by obeying commands.

Obedience is the next thing to add to our lives if we want to go to the next level in our walk with the Lord.

Today, I want to help us see how important obeying God is in our everyday lives and overall life experience. Here is why obedience is important…

Obedience is how we show respect for Jesus as our Lord.

In Today in the Word, July 30, 1993 they told this story…

Neil Marten, a member of the British Parliament, was once giving a group of his constituents a guided tour of the Houses of Parliament. During the course of the visit, the group happened to meet Lord Hailsham, then lord chancellor, wearing all the regalia of his office. Hailsham recognized Marten among the group and cried, "Neil!" Not daring to question or disobey the "command," the entire band of visitors promptly fell to their knees!

These people heard a command (at least what they thought was one) and they followed it – instantly without question. Why aren’t we like this?

We read God’s commands, we learn about them, but we only seem to do them if they make sense to us and agree with them. Think about how disrespectful that is to God!

If we have to know WHY we should do what God has told us to do, then we’re basically saying to God, “If it makes sense to me, then I’ll do it, but if it does I won’t!” Does that sound like someone to you who believes and trusts Jesus as Lord?

The Culture and Media Institute released a special report March 7, entitled "The National Cultural Values Survey: America: a Nation in Moral and Spiritual Confusion”.

In it they had an interesting finding…
“While half the population (52 percent) said they believed the Bible was God's authoritative word, only 36 percent of those said they believed people should live by God's word, while 45 percent said they operated by a mixture of God's commands and their own inclination. 15 percent said they ignored God's word if it conflicted with their own plan.”

In Matt. 7:20 Jesus said this, "Not all people who sound religious are really godly. They may refer to me as 'Lord,' but they still won't enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The decisive issue is whether they obey my Father in heaven.” Obedience is how we submit to Jesus’ Lordship in our lives. Obedience is how we show and prove that we believe he is Lord.

God knows and wants what’s best for us. He always knows what’s right. Until we really know and believe that we won’t follow God’s commands.

The first sin, that Adam and Eve committed, happened because they didn’t obey – they didn’t believe God knew what was best. They believed the devil’s lie that God was keeping something good from them.

And that’s the same reason why every Christ-follower has sinned ever since!

But that’s not the only reason why obedience is important. We need to realize that obedience causes things to happen in our lives.

Here are some of the things it causes to happen in our lives…

Obedience keeps us safe.
If a kid won’t listen to their parent’s rules, then they won’t be safe. The other day I caught my son Will trying to put small bits of napkin in the fan. I told him that was dangerous and that he could get his finger cut off by doing that. He looked at me and listened, but I could tell he didn’t seem to believe what I told him. He had the “No it won’t” syndrome. He listened and pretended he believed me, but deep inside he was thinking “I can do that without getting hurt!”

We have that same syndrome. God tells us, “Don’t do this or that. It will hurt you,” and we look at like “Oh ok.” And turn around and do it! Then things go wrong later and we wonder what went wrong! We did. We went wrong! But obedience doesn’t just keep us safe…

Obedience gives us success.
If you think about it, the Bible is a book of “success secrets from the author of life.” That’s the way the Israelites saw God’s law. They saw it as a gift and an honor that God gave it to them.

That’s how we need to see it. Sometimes I tell the boys rules to protect them, so they won’t get hurt and other times I tell them rules to help them experience the best in life! My rules are because I want the best for them. God’s the same way!

Sometimes God tells you to do something. Sometimes he tells you not to do something.

That’s why obedience can be seen by what we do or what we don’t do.

Obedience doesn’t always look the same. Sometimes it’s action and sometimes it’s inaction. We should realize God’s commandment’s whether they start with “Do” or “Don’t” are never to keep us from the good things in life, but to help us experience the best in life! Jesus said it like this, “I have come that you might have life and have it to the fullest.”

Obedience brings us success in life! But it gets even better…

Obedience will bring success not just for us, but to our offspring. In Exodus 20:6, God says, “But I lavish my love on those who love me and obey my commands, even for a thousand generations.” Deut. 12:28“Be careful to obey all my commands so that all will go well with you and your children, because you will be doing what pleases the LORD your God." When we choose to obey God if gives us more success in life and that success and blessing passes on to our kids and grandkids and on and on!

Obedience also causes something else to happen in our lives…

Obedience gives us fulfillment.
How can we ever do and become all that God has created us to be, if we don’t obey what he tells us to do? It’s impossible!!

There are two kinds of commands that God gives us: personal, specific commands that are just for us and general commands that are for all people. There are commands that God has given to all people that any and everyone needs to follow, but there are also commands that God has given just to individual people.

There are things that God wants you to do that he doesn’t want me to do. There are things that God doesn’t want you to do that he DOES want me to do. And it’s the same for me! The general commands are found all through God’s word. The specific, personal commands are given to us as we seek God and learn to hear him.

The only way to reach and experience fulfillment in life is to obey God in the general and the specific things he tells us to do!

Dr. B.J. Miller once said, "It is a great deal easier to do that which God gives us to do, no matter how hard it is, than to face the responsibilities of not doing it."

There’s something else obedience caused to happen in our lives…

Obedience is our source of rewards.
This idea is tied to the last one. When we obey God he rewards us – now and in the next life. When we obey we get to have these rewards, when we don’t obey, then we miss out on them!

Obedience lets us live a freer life.
In The Integrity Crisis, Warren W. Wiersbe, quotes Peter T. Forsythe as saying, "The first duty of every soul is to find not its freedom but its Master".

There are so many things that we become entangled in, weighed down and trapped by, because we disobey God and do something he told us not to do!

Hebrews 12:1 says, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us.”

Think of how much freer we could be if we began to obey God and stopped doing the things he’s been trying to protect us from our whole lives! Psalm 119:44-45 “I will keep on obeying your law forever and forever. 45 I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments.”

Ex. Me and the boys walking across the parking lot. I tried to teach them like always to be safe to protect them!

When we submit to Jesus’ Lordship we actually become freed from prison of our own sinful choices! Romans 6:16 “Don't you realize that whatever you choose to obey becomes your master? You can choose sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God and receive his approval.”

Today’s the day to choose the freedom that comes from obedience!

Obedience encourages others to obey.
It makes us living proof to others that God’s ways are right. Deut. 28:13, 9 "If you obey the commands of the LORD your God and walk in his ways, the LORD will establish you as his holy people as he solemnly promised to do. 10 Then all the nations of the world will see that you are a people claimed by the LORD, and they will stand in awe of you.

Obedience helps others.
(One of Jack’s friends can’t play the rest of summer because of bad choice. This affects Jack and Will.) Deut. 4:6, “If you obey them carefully, you will display your wisdom and intelligence to the surrounding nations. When they hear about these laws, they will exclaim, 'What other nation is as wise and prudent as this!'”

The reason God gave us a free will in the first place was so that we could learn to submit ourselves to him, to trust him and obey him. God didn’t want people who had to follow him. He wanted those who wanted and chose to follow him!

To obey everything another person sayswithout question is a crazy thing to do! People don’t have perfect knowledge or understanding, they make mistakes, and they don’t always have our best interest in their plans.

But to obey all of God’s command without question is NEVER a crazy thing to do! Because God does have perfect knowledge and understanding, he never makes mistakes and he always has our best interest in his plans!

But we need to understand something.

Obedience doesn’t mean you’ll have a pain free or problem free life. Obeying God doesn’t guarantee you won’t have any problems, pain or suffering. Sometimes obeying God will bring problems, pain and suffering into your life! (That’s because he wants to use these things to teach you something or prepare you for something.)

But what obedience does guarantee is that your life will be better overall. And most importantly, you’ll become and do what God has created you to do. In the end you’re obedience will please God and he’ll reward you for it – in this life and the next!

Revelations 2:26 - "To all who are victorious, who obey me to the very end, I will give authority over all the nations.”

The other important thing we need to remember before we finish today is…

We don’t try to obey God so we’ll be accepted or loved by God. We can’t be good enough! We obey because we are accepted and loved by God. Gal. 3:5 “I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law of Moses? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ.”

Obedience is showing our love and gratitude to Jesus for loving us first!

1 John 2:4-5 “If someone says, "I belong to God," but doesn't obey God's commandments, that person is a liar and does not live in the truth. But those who obey God's word really do love him. That is the way to know whether or not we live in him.”

I really believe that if we’re going to be a church who sees God move in our lives (individually and together), then we’re going to have to obey Jesus more – individually and as a whole.

This has to be our highest goal.

If we become this type of church, our lives will change for the better, will see more success, we’ll be protected from unneeded danger, we’ll be rewarded and we’ll help others and show them the benefits of following God by our obedient actions.


Take one command that you feel you need to work on an focus on thinking/praying about how you can live it out 30 minutes a week. Live out the plan that week. Focus on a different command the next week. Try to mix between general and specific commans.

Start with the 10 commandments. Focus on one each week for 10 weeks, then start over. You’ll focus on each command about 35 times a year!

You might look at some areas of your life where you’re having problems and see if there’s a command from God’s word that you’ve been ignoring.

If you’re having trouble with your money, or your relationships, or whatever, then pray and ask God to show if you if there’s a command from his word about this area of your life that you’re ignoring.

Having trouble in an area isn’t always a sign that we’re disobeying God in that area. It could be happening for other reasons.

But if you’re having problems, it’s a good place to start. That way you can at least know to your best ability that you haven’t been doing or not doing something that has caused this.

Also this isn’t about seeing if you’re being punished. It’s about seeing if you’re missing out on a blessing or success in an area, because you haven’t been doing what God commanded us to do.

Trust leads to obedience. It’s where you have to start.

There’s an old song we used to sing when I was a little kid. “Trust and obey for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”

This simple song is still as true today as it was when I was little.

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