Tag Archives: obedience

Charles Stanley – The Purpose of Spiritual Highs

 

Hebrews 11:17-19

The Lord doesn’t offer us tremendous spiritual experiences simply so we may boast or witness something marvelous. Instead, He uses them to foster genuine faith. They are part of His unique process for maturing us as disciples of Jesus.

God gives us spiritual highs for several reasons: to unveil Himself in a fresh way, to prepare us for the valley, and ultimately to teach us obedience. The lessons we learn from Him in those special moments of peak revelation are intended to carry us through harder times. Then we can look back and remember what He taught on the mountaintop.

But this means that when the Lord gives us a glimpse of glory, we can expect to be tried later. If we fail, He’ll test us again. And He will keep testing until the trials become triumphs in our life. Every pupil must be put to the test, and those who obey bring honor to God’s name.

An exceptional spiritual encounter with Jesus Christ is intended to encourage our growth, deepen our intimacy with God, and develop obedience. It is also designed to enhance our motivation to serve the Lord with all our heart, giving ourselves without reservation for His work and His glory.

Treasure each and every thing God teaches you in your prayer closet—during times of profound worship, in a moment of deep devotion, or when you’re all alone, listening and intimately conversing with Him. Every moment of your life is ripe for growth and spiritual maturity. If you let the Lord shape you and lead you on the path of obedience, He’ll take you to even greater heights.

Bible in One Year: Zechariah 1-5

C.S. Lewis Daily – Today’s Reading

 

TO GENIA GOELZ, who had asked Lewis for a prayer in her struggle to believe: Lewis’s prayer for a daily increase in obedience and faith.

18 March 1952

Don’t bother at all about that question of a person being ‘made a Christian’ by baptism. It is only the usual trouble about words being used in more than one sense. Thus we might say a man ‘became a soldier’ the moment that he joined the army. But his instructors might say six months later ‘I think we have made a soldier of him’. Both usages are quite definable, only one wants to know which is being used in a given sentence. The Bible itself gives us one short prayer which is suitable for all who are struggling with the beliefs and doctrines. It is: ‘Lord I believe, help Thou my unbelief.’6 Would something of this sort be any good?: Almighty God, who art the Father of lights and who has promised by thy dear Son that all who do thy will shall know thy doctrine: [John 7:17] give me grace so to live that by daily obedience I daily increase in faith and in the understanding of thy Holy Word, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume II

Compiled in Yours, Jack

John MacArthur – Enjoying Fellowship with Christ

 

“Though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1 Pet. 1:8).

Fellowship with Christ is built on love, trust, and obedience.

The recipients of 1 Peter, like us, had never seen Christ but they enjoyed fellowship with Him just the same. And their fellowship was genuine because it was marked by love, trust, and obedience.

The love Peter speaks of in 1 Peter 1:8 isn’t shallow emotionalism or sentimentality. It’s the love of the will— the love of choice. His readers had chosen to love Christ despite never having seen Him physically. Such love is marked by obedience, as Jesus affirms in John 14: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. . . . He who does not love Me does not keep My words” (vv. 15, 24). To have fellowship with Christ is to love and obey Him.

Another element of fellowship is trust. After hearing reports about Christ’s resurrection, the disciple Thomas declared that he would trust Jesus only after seeing and touching Him. Jesus honored his wishes, saying, “Reach here your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing” (John 20:27). But then Jesus said, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed” (v. 29). We as Christians are among those who believe in Christ, not having seen Him.

The result of loving and trusting Christ is “joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1 Pet. 1:8). This joy is something beyond the ability of speech and thought to convey. That’s obvious even on the human level—as evidenced by the thousands of songs that have attempted to communicate the joy of being in love. “Full of glory” refers to the divine element in Christian joy. It’s a supernatural endowment bestowed and energized by the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22).

Enjoying fellowship with Christ is one of the supreme privileges of your Christian life. Strengthen and enrich that fellowship by learning the Word and relying on the Spirit. As you do, you will learn to love and trust Christ more deeply.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God to teach you how to love and trust Him more faithfully. Thank Him for the joy that comes as you do.

For Further Study

Memorize Matthew 22:37.

Charles Stanley – Acquiring Great Faith

 

Hebrews 11:17-19

I’ve had people tell me, “I wish I had great faith.” While most of us would like God to just drop that kind of con-fidence into our laps, it’s not the way He operates. Faith increases as a result of our obedience in little things. We all marvel at Abraham’s willingness to offer up Isaac at the Lord’s command. But have you ever stopped to consider all of his smaller steps of submission that prepared the way for this enormous test?

Throughout his lifetime, Abraham obeyed God. At the Lord’s command, he left his country (Gen. 12:1-4), was circumcised (17:10, 26), conceived Isaac when he and his wife were old (21:1-3), and sent his son Ishmael away (vv. 9-14). By the time he was asked to offer Isaac as a sacrifice, he already knew that God would always be faithful to His promises. Abraham’s previous experiences had taught him to trust the Lord.

In the same way, each small step of obedience solidifies our confidence in God. Then, when He challenges us with a more difficult assignment, a firm foundation of assurance enables us to trust and obey. Great acts of faith flow from our past interactions with the Lord. By neglecting His simple commands, we miss priceless opportunities to witness His faithfulness.

Having trouble trusting the Lord for something big? Maybe it’s because you’ve ignored those “small” and “insignificant” promptings of the Holy Spirit. God considers each of His commands important and promises to reward every act of obedience, regardless of size. Great faith begins with little steps.

Charles Stanley – The Joy of Obedience

Charles Stanley

Proverbs 3:5-6

People often associate the word obey with raising children—particularly when they see ill-behaved youngsters. Submission to God’s will, however, is important at every stage of a believer’s maturity. As our faith grows, obedience becomes a cornerstone of fellowship with our Father—He teaches us more about His love and precepts while drawing us ever closer to Himself.

Oddly, as Christians get older and more mature, their obedience can diminish. A believer may tell himself that he has learned to live righteously and therefore no longer needs to make a concentrated effort. In a short time, he will find himself far off the path God intended, wandering around with a pile of rags he thinks are righteous acts (Isa. 64:6). Disobedience says to the Lord, “I know better than You how to govern my life.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Scripture and church members are full of stories to prove that obedient submission is the only way to joy.

Nothing good can come from rebelling against the Lord, and nothing bad can come from obeying Him. Obedience is the pathway to wisdom and blessing. When we conform our will to God’s, we place our hope and trust in the One who created us and loves us without condition. A life well lived is one in which our eyes are focused on the Lord, our ears are open to the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit, and our hearts feast on Scripture. When we choose this existence, we guarantee ourselves the finest that God has to offer. There is no second best for the obedient child of the Father.

Charles Stanley – Faith and Obedience

Charles Stanley

1 Kings 18:1-15

Think of faith and obedience as travel companions heading to the same destination—namely, to please and glorify the Lord. You cannot have one without the other. They grow simultaneously as they are practiced but will wither if neglected.

Elijah was a man with both of these qualities. He believed God and always responded in obedience. When told by the Lord to show himself to King Ahab, Elijah didn’t permit fear to stop him. He had learned through experience that the Father was faithful and trustworthy.

Fear short-circuits faith when we begin to doubt that God’s way is really best. If we allow worry to gain a foothold in our minds, we’ll respond by refusing to do what the Lord says, which is disobedience. The result will be a change in our “travel plans,” and by rejecting the way of faith and obedience, we’re actually choosing the path of unbelief and sin.

Satan loves our fear and disobedience because they hinder the journey that God has designed for us. We can’t believe the Lord for great things in one area of our life if we are allowing sin in another. Self-examination is essential in the walk of faith. Where have you compromised by allowing sin a foothold? Are you resisting anything God says in His Word?

Great faith begins with small steps. When you choose to follow God’s Word, an ever-increasing cycle of faith and obedience will begin. Don’t let fear or sin rob you of the great adventure He’s planned for your life. Who has a better track record for choosing the right path—you or God? So believe Him!

Charles Stanley – Preparation for Greater Service

Charles Stanley

1 Kings 17:1-24

In Luke 17:5, the apostles asked Christ to increase their faith. The Lord told them that if they had faith as small as a mustard seed, they could do great things. God does not enlarge our faith instantly. He begins with what little we have and proceeds to grow it.

Elijah was in a faith-building program. The Lord gave him increasingly difficult challenges of reliance and obedience. At the brook Cherith, the prophet had to depend on God for his own survival. Then, at Zarephath, he trusted the Lord to provide for both himself and a widow. Finally, he served her in an even larger way by raising her dead son to life.

Each act of believing God and the ensuing step of obedience resulted in increased opportunities for Elijah to serve the Lord and others. Raising the dead may seem like the height of his ministry, but it was to be followed by an even greater opportunity to influence an entire nation for God. Elijah was about to face the biggest spiritual battle of his life (1 Kings 18)—all his previous demonstrations of faith and obedience were the Lord’s way of preparing him.

God wants each of us to be influential in His kingdom. He knows which faith challenges to present so that we can be entrusted with even greater tasks.

The Lord will provide occasions for you to believe Him and respond in obedience. These situations are what we call “problems.” Begin to look at each difficulty as an opportunity designed by God specifically for the purpose of increasing your faith so He can do great things in and through you.

Joyce Meyer – Do It for God

Joyce meyer

And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love. —2 John 1:6 NIV

I remember one Sunday years ago when my church’s pastor encouraged the congregation to take a moment to say hello to other people and even give them a hug and tell them we loved them. I looked down the row where I was sitting and saw a woman who had hurt me in a significant way. I strongly sensed the Spirit of God impressing me to give her a hug and let her know I loved her. Walking over to her and saying, “I love you” took everything I had! I can’t guarantee I was totally sincere, but I know I was obedient to God.

Several months later, God led me to give one of my favorite possessions to that woman. “Now God,” I responded, “I don’t mind giving it away. I mean, I really would like to keep it, but if You are going to make me give it away, at least let me give it to someone I like so I can enjoy seeing her with it!” God responded to me: “Joyce, if you can give her that, if you can give your favorite possession to someone who really hurt you and is least deserving of it, you will break the power of the enemy. You will destroy his plan to destroy you.”

We do not take steps of obedience and overcome difficult times because we feel like doing so or think obedience is a good idea. We do it because we love God, we know He loves us, we want to obey Him, and we know His ways are always best for us.

Whatever adversities you are facing right now or will face in the days to come, I urge you to confront them, embrace them, and deal with them. Face them like a conqueror. Remember, they are working for your good, and God will use them to strengthen you. Embrace them with a conqueror’s attitude, and you will find yourself in a place of greater maturity, wisdom, and ability than you have ever known.

Trust in Him If God asks you to do something, you know He is asking because it is what’s best for you. Even if you don’t want to do it, do it for God because you trust Him and He knows best.

Charles Stanley – A Passion to Obey Him

Charles Stanley

Luke 11:37-52

The school of obedience has many courses and many exams. As we progress through its lessons, we often move from fearful or feigned obedience to more heartfelt compliance.

God’s people heard the Word thundered at Sinai’s “classroom,” but the way they obeyed was stained with constant rebellion. Centuries later, however, a new course was offered. When the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, the people began to catch on—they saw it was possible to become obedient from the depths of their hearts (John 1:14; Rom. 6:17).

Jesus had a great deal to say on this subject, and His words were powerful because they came from a fully obedient, sinless life. His testimony was that He had come down from heaven to do the will of the Father (John 6:38). Knowing full well the beauty of the surrendered life, Jesus admonishes us to become like Him: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter” (Matt. 7:21).

The Lord also had harsh words for those teachers of the Law who refused to obey its commands. He accused them of weighing men down with heavy burdens and not helping to carry the load. In other words, they taught what should be done but were unwilling to do it themselves. Jesus went on to identify obedience as “the key to knowledge” (Luke 11:52).

When we obey, doors of understanding will open in front of us, and we will be able to see as never before.

Charles Stanley – What Is Obedience?

 

Acts 5:29-32

The word obedience is defined as: compliance to the plan; conformity to the pattern; observance of the rules; adherence to the standard; and submission to another’s will. Obedience is the “bottom line” in the Christian life. Basic to every decision we make is the necessity of knowing what Scripture says about the issue, what action God wants us to take, what attitude would please Him, and what steps are required.

To obey means doing what God says in the timing and manner He says to do it. We must, then, know what His instructions are; we can’t comply with something we don’t understand. The Holy Spirit assists us in relating God’s commands to our situation and helps us in determining the wisest course of action.

Once we decide to obey and start down that road, however, we can expect a challenge from the Enemy. He might use distractions to divert us from a godly path. Or perhaps he’ll send temptations to weaken us gradually through small steps of disobedience. Though he wants us to compromise, we can counter by renewing our resolve to obey the Father as Jesus did. Commitment like Christ’s requires knowledge of Scripture (Matt. 4:1-10), obedient action, determination, and a willingness to suffer any consequences that derive from compliance.

Whenever you are tempted to disobey the Lord, your faithfulness and devotion to Christ are at stake. Ask yourself, Is my understanding of Scripture increasing? Am I able to hold to God’s plan without compromise? How committed am I to obeying Him?