Archive for the ‘obedience’ Tag

OVERCOMING THE DEVIL’S WILES

We’re all in this worldly mess together. Evil lurks everywhere. “Your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

We all, at times, have thoughts critical of others enter our minds. Further, jealous feelings spring up in our hearts over others possessions or achievements. This is human nature. We easily find the thoughts and feelings too difficult to resist. We dwell on them and own them, thereby sinning. The devil tells us these are little sins; they don’t matter.

The word of God supplies a solution to resisting temptation: “Submit yourselves thereby to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you” (James 4:7,8). Develop a relationship with Jesus and abide in Him daily. He will give you His strength, making it possible for you to obey God’s law, as Jesus, Himself, was able to do perfectly while on earth, being tempted in every manner as we are tempted. When we resist the devil through Christ’s power, the devil flees from us because he knows he has no chance of overwhelming us. Then we can turn those initially critical thoughts to an acceptance that none of us is perfect. Also, we’ll transform the germ of jealous feelings over someone’s possessions into happiness for them and we’ll turn jealous urges over someone’s achievements into admiration of them.

Jesus offers us a promise we can internalize: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phil 4:13). Many of us underestimate our ability to do what we are called to do by the Lord. That’s because we don’t recognize that the Lord will empower us if we believe in His ability to make marvelous things happen through us. We have to remember that we are His instruments and He is the Provider of success.

To work with the Lord requires a strong prayer life. We need to develop trust in Him to show us the way. He does this one step at a time. This is how God works when He is going to do something great. He doesn’t lay it all out ahead and let us agree or disagree that his plan will work for us, giving us a chance to bail. We need to trust Him one step at a time, in earnest prayer.

To have a relationship with God is imperative if we want to do His will. Only God can enable us to resist temptation. Only He can orchestrate His successes. Also, He is our only Friend who, if we seek Him in earnest prayer, always understands and can comfort.

God loves you. He is longing for you to tap into His strength, wisdom, and unconditional love. He wants you to have a full life. And being so endowed, you’ll be better able to introduce your family, friends, and even enemies to the love of your Lord and Savior.

—Scripture quotations taken from KJV—

GOD’S LAW — JUST RULES?

What is the greatest gift we can give to the Lord? Would it be going to church weekly on the Sabbath for worship service? This is certainly one of the duties of a Christian. God looks with great favor on those who worship Him. Our duty to Him to comply with the fourth commandment is partially fulfilled by this worship of Him. The other component is ceasing work on the Sabbath. I would advise you to read the fourth commandment in it’s entirety, found in Exodus 20:8-11. It is the longest of the Ten Commandments and bears careful consideration.

Another gift we give our Lord is loving our neighbor. Truly loving, reaching out to him in times of struggle or sorrow, involves sacrifice on on part. Spending time with friends in wholesome activities that glorify God, helps developmental growth and offers opportunites for exchange of spiritual experiences. We all need to witness our faith.

When Jesus was on earth He reached out in love to thousands of needy souls, curing their illnesses, as well as teaching and healing them spiritually. When we follow His example by loving our neighbor, we please Him. Although our human abilities are limited compared to Jesus’ capacities which were aided by His dual divine and human nature, He knows we are helping Him move His work forward when we show genuine love for one another. Jesus says: “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).

As followers of Christ we need to attend seriously to the Ten Commandments. God gave us His commandments because He loves us immensely. He wants us to avoid sin and its disastrous consequences. He wants us to be happy. Obedience to all of the Ten Commandments is the supreme gift of love we can offer the Lord. It reciprocates the love He has for us.

But how do I keep all the commandments of God, you may ask? I am prone to sin because of my human nature. Well, there is a solution: abide in Christ. Connect with Him in prayer each day. Stay close to Him and depend upon Him to guide you all day. If you slip up He is there to help. God’s Word says: “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).

If we obey the Ten Commandments, not as a set of rules we have to follow, but as a deep expression of our love for God, who sent His only Son to die for us, He accepts our obedience as the greatest gift we can give Him.

(All quoted Scripture from NKJV.)

PSALM 40:6-8

“Sacrifice and offering You did not desire;
My ears You have opened;
Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require.
Then I said, ‘Behold, I come;
In the scroll of the Book it is written of me.
I delight to do Your will, O my God,
And Your law is within my heart'”(Psalm 40:6-8).

God desires us to obey the commands He directs toward us and to obey the Ten Commandments, above personal sacrifices and prescribed burnt rituals. Here David speaks of the priest and prophet Samuel’s experience recorded in 1 Samuel 15 in regards to King Saul. Saul and his army had just decimated the Amalekites as the Lord had commanded him to do. But Saul did not follow the Lord’s command to also destroy all the enemy’s livestock, but rather took them as plunder. Saul intended to sacrifice the best sheep and oxen to God, as was the Israelite’s religious practice. But God, through Samuel, communicated to Saul that obedience is required above sacrifice and burnt offerings. To fully realize this required an opening of the ears to God’s wishes, instead of one’s inclination to do what one thinks is best, as Saul did.

God, in His infinite wisdom, always directs us to do what is best for us. Samuel, as well as David, realized this. Sacrificing to the Lord is fine, but true worship of God requires obedience to God, first and foremost. This is a prime ingredient to spiritual growth. If we live our lives in line with God’s requirements as revealed in the Bible, we can also say, “Behold, I come. I delight to do Your will, O my God.” We can serve God with joyful hearts because His Law is indelibly inscribed on our hearts. Our obedience to Him flows as a wellspring from our hearts.

(Quoted Scripture from NKJV.)

WHY DO WE WORSHIP A GOD?

Have you ever thought about it? Is God deserving of our worship? Can someone other than God meet our deepest needs?

Let’s explore these ideas. What deep, primal needs does God satisfy for the believer? Everyone needs to be accepted. God does not turn anyone away. He lovingly beckons all to join His family of believers, the Body of Christ. And He takes us as we are. Humans handle this differently. We want people to change to suit us. God doesn’t require us to get rid of those bad habits first. He only requires us to believe in Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the cross, to come to Him on our knees in confession and repentance, and to obey Him. Obedience, then, is not a burden, but an act of love on our part for a loving Father who knows what we need for happiness. Not continuous bliss, but a journey ripe with relationships that satisfy, including an intimate relationship with our Creator. As we draw close to Him, He embraces us, imparting peace, grace, and a certainty of eternal life with Him as long as we remain true to Him.

Another of our needs is love. No one loves us more than God. His love is unconditional. We don’t have to love Him first or obey Him to earn His love. He just loves us. Period. Even though we are flawed and sinful, God extends His arms to embrace us, soothing us with His compassion, leading us on our journey. If we abide in Him, this journey will lead to Heaven.

Who wouldn’t want to love and worship a God who satisfies our every need? Sadly, only those without love. The next time you encounter a lost soul without love, extend to him or her behavior that speaks of love and compassion. Just a smile and a few well chosen words can do wonders. Then lead them to God. Tell them what God has done for you. Many will accept a relationship with a God who satisfies needs others can’t satisfy.

Why do you worship God? What has He done for you? Share if you’d like.

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