How living in obedience can change your life for the better

Dec 16, 2020

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There are many callings a follower of Christ may have in their life, but one, in particular, is shared between us all. This shared calling is so important, so special that we should all long to band together to tackle it with the utmost importance in our lives, and the utmost care to do it properly. We should have a true desire to grow in our wisdom and faith in order to ensure we’re doing the best job we can and utilizing every bit of resource and knowledge available to us. We should be so filled with gratitude, awe, and unexplainable love that we can’t help but press forward in this calling no matter what. This is the way each follower of Christ should approach obedience to the will of God.

“But if you carefully obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.

Exodus 23:22 ESV

Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

1 John 3:24 ESV

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.

1 John 5:3 ESV

Why am I called to be obedient to God?

The unfortunate truth is that we live in a fallen, broken, sinful world that is filled with temptation at every turn. This sinful lawlessness is deceptive yet alluring to our humanness. This sin separates us from God, but because of sin God sent Jesus Christ to be the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of all mankind allowing those who choose to accept Him as their sacrifice to come into a relationship with God and no longer be separated from Him.

This salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus should fill us with such gratitude we can’t help but love and trust the will of God, obey and worship Him, and go out into the world to tell others about His mercy and grace. Once we have received this incredible gift of salvation we are called to be witnesses in the world of what God has done for us, boldly putting our faith into action, in order to add to the Body of Christ and strengthen the faith of others.

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18-20 ESV

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.

Mark 16:15 ESV

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”

John 20:21 ESV

And said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

Luke 24:46-47 ESV

How living in obedience can change your life for the better
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How can I be obedient to God?

God calls on us to come to Him with a repentant heart and to atone, or be reconciled to God, through the forgiveness of our sins. This forgiveness is made available through accepting salvation offered by the blood of our Savior, Jesus Christ. When we come to God in love, obediently bringing our sins to Him for forgiveness with a truly repentant heart, desiring to be in a right relationship with Him, and accept Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins, we are then justified by faith, which comes from a heart of submissive obedience to the Lord.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9 ESV

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV

Justification is the process by which we are made right in the sight of God through saving faith in Christ Jesus. God loves and desires us to return to Him so much that He sent His Son to take our punishment and die for our sins so that we could be forgiven and be free from the power of sin and eternal separation from Him.

It is through Christ Jesus that we have salvation, and through the grace found in Christ Jesus that we are saved. There is only one mediator between us and God, only one way to heaven. His grace is not something that we can earn and can only be obtained through faith in Christ Jesus.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Romans 5:1-2 ESV

For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

1 Timothy 2:5 ESV

And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Acts 4:12 ESV

How do I live a life of obedience?

Obedience to God also includes the constant and mindful study of His Word. It is through His Word that we find help in times of trouble and encouragement when we are feeling low. His Word is alive and active, teaching, correcting, and speaking to us.

The Holy Spirit promises to bring to memory the lessons and messages we are taught and to guide our lives to be in obedience to God but we must learn to listen to Him. Learning to turn aside from our own understanding and lean into God to provide for all our needs is an act of obedience and one that strengthens our relationship with Him as well as causing our faith to grow exponentially.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

Proverbs 3:5 ESV

Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”

Jeremiah 9:23-24 ESV

Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

1 John 3:24 ESV

But this command I gave them: ‘Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.’

Jeremiah 7:23 ESV

How does my relationship with God grow with my obedience?

Our relationship with God grows as we learn to come to Him in all things, through prayer, and work to align our hearts with His will. Scripture promises us that when we are aligned to the will of God that He will provide for the desires of our hearts. God is not a genie that we can simply ask for wishes and He will grant them. God does what He knows is best for us. While we can ask for all things, we need to understand that if God is saying no, or wait, it is because He knows what is best for us.

Learning to submit to God’s will is another form of obedience as we learn to cast aside the desires of our flesh and place God on the throne of our hearts, His rightful place. The peace that we receive is beyond human understanding, is not related to our circumstances, and can be obtained as we live in obedient faith.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV

How does obedience apply to me?

Faith, hope, and love are at the heart of Christian values. We receive them from God and are called to continue to live in obedient faith by sharing God’s truth and blessings with the world.

Our relationship with God begins with faith, which helps us to recognize that we are freed from the sins of our past by Christ’s death and resurrection. Hope grows as we learn more about God’s love for us, that He has promised to be with us in all things, and that this life is not all there is.

We can rejoice in the fact that no matter the trials that come, nothing can separate us from the love of God when we place our faith and hope in Him. Jesus provided us with the greatest commandments of all time; the first is to love God with all our hearts, minds, and strength. The second is to love others as Christ has loved us.

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

Hebrews 11:6 ESV

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

Romans 10:17 ESV

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Romans 15:13 ESV

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

John 3:16-17 ESV

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

1 John 4:7-8 ESV

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 13:34-35 ESV

Developing and growing our faith is an exercise of obedience that God calls for from all those who are known by His name. We must learn to listen to the Holy Spirit and to respond to the promptings that He provides which requires effort and intent. A personal relationship with God, through Christ our Savior, facilitated through the Holy Spirit is the only way in which we grow in obedience as faith is obtained through willful submission to God’s will.

How to live in obedience
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Obedience is a personal choice

We cannot find obedience through the faith of our parents, our friends, or our church leaders. Faithful obedience is developed only through a willing heart and spirit to do as God commands. Faithful obedience is like a child submitting to the discipline of his father, not the actions of a slave submitting to his master. A slave does not know the coming and goings of his master nor does he understand the methods by which his master conducts his business.

When we submit to Christ, we are adopted into the family of God and become His children. God disciplines those He loves and when we accept that discipline with a willing heart we learn to be obedient in conforming to His will and are blessed. We will be disciplined in order to help us conform to the will of God and obtain His blessings, and we also will undergo trials and suffering that can test and grow our faith and obedience to His will.

Rejoicing in our sufferings does not mean that we celebrate the trials but rather that we can place our faith and hope in a saving God, one who promises to never leave or forsake us when we follow His commandments with obedience and trust. We can find hope in that God works all things to His glory and for those who love Him.

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Romans 5:3-5

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 1:2-4 ESV

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28 ESV

Will life be easy if I am obedient?

Endurance, or “perseverance”, is the ability to continue on without giving up, remaining obedient to the call and command of our loving Heavenly Father. It does not mean that life will be trouble-free, but that through our obedient faith in God, He will continue to strengthen us for the trials we will face.

God is using the trials and attacks that we face in this life to create a stronger faith within us which deepens our relationship with Him and instills an even greater sense of hope for the future. The more we submit to Him and His will in faith and love, the deeper He can work within us.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 1:2-4 ESV

Character, also translated as “proof”, is used in the concept of the purification of metal. As the metal is heated, the impurities found within are brought to the surface and cast off causing the metal to become stronger. Self-discipline is necessary for perseverance, which leads to a change in habits, a transformation of character, and becoming more Christ-like.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Galatians 6:9 ESV

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:2 ESV

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Ephesians 5:1-2 ESV

How can I become more obedient?

Through the Holy Spirit, we are intimately connected with God at all times, we can receive revelation and guidance directly from Him through prayer and the reading of His Word. Prayer is our personal communication with God and through the Holy Spirit, we can receive revelation and understanding of God’s desires and will for our lives.

When we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and Redeemer, the Holy Spirit comes upon us to dwell in us, guiding and helping us throughout our life. When we don’t know what to pray for, or we lack the words to express ourselves, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with wordless groanings. Through the Holy Spirit, we are convicted of our sins, allowing for us to humble ourselves before Him and seek forgiveness.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:6-8

According to God’s plan, in His scheduled time Christ came, died, and was resurrected so that all people may be saved and reconciled to Him. Christ died for all people, but in order to receive that salvation, we must faithfully accept His sacrifice for our sins out of love and obedience to Him, fully intent on turning from our life of sin into the new life He gives us in Him.

Through faith in Christ, being justified before God, we are saved from the wrath of God. Jesus stepped in and took the punishment that we should have received. Through accepting the resurrection of Christ, we are also raised again – saved from the eternal separation from God that sin requires. Just as surely as Christ took our punishment, He has secured our future in heaven with God if we choose to accept Him in faith, love, and obedience to Him.

Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

Romans 10:9-10 ESV

Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Romans 5:9-11 ESV

Jesus taught us through a parable just how our obedient faith works. In this parable, Jesus is the Vine and God the Father is the gardener. We become the branches that the gardener prunes in and out of season, preparing us to bear more fruit in abundance. We cannot bear fruit if we are not connected to the vine and branches, and those that do not produce good fruit are cut off and cast into the fire. Jesus concludes that when we keep His commandments the fruits of the Spirit will become evident in our lives. We are not saved because of our works, but our works are evidence of our saving faith and obedience to Him.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.

John 15:1-6 ESV

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23 ESV
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Have you accepted the grace of God?

If you have not accepted the grace of God and chosen to believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I encourage you to pray to God now and invite Him in, accept Jesus as the sacrifice for your sins, and repent of your sins. Submit it all to God, lay it at His feet, seek the forgiveness of God, welcome Him into your life, and believe that Jesus died and rose again to save you from your sins.

If you would like to learn more about salvation, you can find a couple of studies that may help here:

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