by site founder, Connie Rice
The concept of obedience to God has increasingly developed a reputation in our culture of preventing fun and being the enemy of freedom, and that we’ve moved beyond the ancient and outdated teachings of the Bible. This is so sad because the ability to experience God’s supernatural peace, joy, sense of purpose, and true freedom, as well as the abundant life Jesus tells us is possible while we are here on earth, requires that we put our trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation and obedience is the key to unlocking the unique journey that God has created for each of us to have. Before surrendering my life to the Lord, I was completely unaware that He cared about me and loved me – at the time, I was just overwhelmed with my situation and cried out to Him for help. I knew nothing of His plan for my life and when I look back, I am truly amazed at the journey He has had for me. This journey has had hardships, but God has been so faithful through all of them and has taught me so much as the journey continues and will until He takes me home. I never knew before that it was possible to know my eternity in heaven could be secure, that I could enjoy such a close relationship with my Creator, or that I could experience such peace, joy, and sense of purpose in life. My cup truly overflows with thanksgiving to my Savior – He makes this possible for all who choose to trust and obey!
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”John 10:10b
“And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”1 John 5:11-13
God reveals Himself in His word and has miraculously preserved it for us throughout history, in spite of numerous attempts over the years to destroy it. However, it is up to each person to seek Him through it. After reading through the Bible every year for a number of years, it’s so amazing how God reveals more to me about Himself and about the various passages I am reading. Bible illiteracy is one of reasons that America is experiencing so many problems. Ever larger numbers of people suffer from anxiety, depression, addiction, and confusion – even children now. People look for meaning or to escape in ways that end up being destructive. It’s heartbreaking. God wants more for us and looks for those whose hearts are turned toward Him.
“For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.”2 Chronicles 16:9
“Then Jesus cried out, ‘Whoever believes in Me does not believe in Me only, but in the One who sent Me. The one who looks at Me is seeing the One who sent Me. I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in Me should stay in darkness. If anyone hears My words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. There is a judge for the one who rejects Me and does not accept My words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. For I did not speak on My own, but the Father who sent Me commanded Me to say all that I have spoken. I know that His command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told Me to say’.”John 12:44-50
God sees all that is going on. He is not fooled by lies or deceptions or by those who speak seemingly positive things, but have hearts that are darkened. We can fool each other and sometimes even fool ourselves, but nobody is successful at fooling God. He knows our hearts and is completely just. If we’re not trusting in Jesus for our salvation so that His righteousness covers us before a holy God, the thought of standing before a holy God should cause us to shake in our boots – not because He is bad, but because He is so good. I don’t remember where I heard it, but someone likened God to the sun. The sun warms us, causes food and plants to grow, and provides us with necessary nutrients, but if we look directly at it, the intense light harms our eyes. If we get too close to it, we are destroyed. There is an ongoing spiritual battle between good and evil, between God and Satan (the prince of this world until Jesus returns and destroys Him and evil once and for all), and the consequences of who we choose to follow are eternal.
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in His Father’s glory with His angels, and then He will reward each person according to what they have done’.”Matthew 16:24-27
“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves His child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out His commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep His commands. And His commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”1 John 5:1-5
Recorded in the book of Deuteronomy just before Moses died is a song that God gave him to share with all the people (including children) before they crossed over the Jordan River to enter the Promised Land. It is referred to as the Song of Moses. God instructed the people to teach the song to every generation thereafter so they would remember who God is and all He had done for them. Even though we are no longer under the covenant of the law, the song reveals much about God’s heart for His people and how important obedience is for them to be protected and blessed. Interestingly, even with the covenant of grace, blessings are tied to obedience. Jesus also says that if we love Him, we will obey His commands. A blessed life is a life that is obedient to the Lord and fully trusts in Him. How can we be obedient to Jesus if we are ignorant of His commands? We need to read the Bible.
“If you love Me, keep My commands. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see Me anymore, but you will see Me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you. Whoever has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me. The one who loves Me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show Myself to them.”John 14:15-21
I didn’t grow up in the church, so was not familiar with many hymns, but this one written in the 1800s has been both inspiring and comforting to me and it explains this topic very well. It’s appropriately called “Trust and Obey”. The song’s lyrics were by John Henry Sammis and the music was by Daniel Brink Towner. You can listen to it on this link, but can also read the lyrics here:
“When we walk with the Lord In the light of His Word, What a glory He sheds on our way;
While we do His good will, He abides with us still, And with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, For there’s no other way To be happy in Jesus, But to trust and obey.
Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies, But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, Not a sigh or a tear, Can abide while we trust and obey.
Not a burden we bear, Not a sorrow we share, But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, Not a frown or a cross, But is blest if we trust and obey.
But we never can prove The delights of His love, Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows, And the joy He bestows, Are for them who will trust and obey.
Then in fellowship sweet We will sit at His feet, Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do; Where He sends, we will go, Never fear, only trust and obey.
Although this is the opposite of what our present culture would have us believe and it may seem counter-intuitive to our finite minds, the way to true freedom is to trust and obey God and His word – there is no other way. Our founding fathers based our government on biblical principles, trusted God for protection and guidance, and set up our legal system to reflect God’s laws. The Declaration of Independence made it clear that our rights come from God, not from man or the government. Our government was designed to protect those freedoms. They were quite concerned about corruption and were brilliant in their decisions. Unfortunately, it looks like their fears were well-founded and even prophetic. The farther away we get as a nation from the truth of God’s word, the more strife, confusion, division, and host of other problems we will see. As noted in an article by “Life News“, Congressman Jerry Nadler, in responding to another congressman’s speech, said, “What any religious tradition describes as God’s will is no concern of this Congress.”. That was the first time in my life I have heard a national leader publicly reject God’s will for our nation. Sadly, this does explain the state of our nation at present as we do seem to be experiencing God’s judgment. How can we expect Him to bless a nation that has leaders who publicly reject His will? The following is an excerpt from an article by “Got Questions?” called, “What are the consequences of nations turning away from God?”:
“…when we honor the Lord and obey His commands, we reap the benefits of living honorably, morally, and honestly. A nation that honors God’s laws reaps that benefit as well. History shows that those that do not are often destroyed from within. God gives us His laws for our own good. He created us to fellowship with Him and walk in righteousness. When we do that, we are living within the healthy boundaries He established and are protected from much of the heartache and catastrophe Satan devises. But, when a nation turns away from the true God and becomes its own god, the Lord removes His protective hand and allows that nation to experience the world it has demanded. Romans 1:18–32 shows us the progression of people and nations that have defied God and redefined morality. Homosexuality, unbridled lust, and idolatry are all part of God’s judgment on a nation that has turned away from Him. The good news is that God knows those who are His and promises to reward them, even when all others have turned away . Malachi 3:13–18 contains one of the most comforting passages in the Old Testament. It reminds us that God is watching, He knows all, and He will judge righteously. Even when a nation turns away from God, individuals within that nation can still follow Him and know that their names are written in God’s book of remembrance.”from article, “What are the Consequences of Nations turning from God?” by Got Questions
Oh that everyone would recognize what an amazing God we serve and choose to seek Him with their whole heart, mind, strength, and soul, that they would accept the amazing gift of salvation and eternal life that is freely offered to them because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ – who came to earth as fully man and fully God to live the perfect life that nobody else could and paid the penalty for our sins with His voluntary death on the cross because of His love for us so we could have fellowship with our holy Creator on earth and live with Him in heaven forever. This is truly good news – for all people!
© Constance Rice 2021