16 Obedience – 1 John 3:23-24
We may live a life that seems full of faith and people think we are great, but when we come before God in prayer we are filled with doubts and fears that keep our prayers from being answered. That is why it is so important to walk in total obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit if we want powerful boldness in our prayers and a wholehearted confidence in God. When the Spirit of God tells us to do something we must do it. As we do our confidence in God will rise in us. It won’t be something we mentally drummed up or talked ourselves into, the confidence will be there. Instead of being consumed with doubts and feelings that the Word of God isn’t going to work for us we will find ourselves full of faith in His Word. We can begin to trust God and flow with Him and come to a place of peace and rest. Even though our sins are paid for and forgiven, a life of disobedience will cost us so much in our relationship with our loving Father and the power of our prayers for others, Hebrews 4:16.
The simple Life
John here and Jesus before him makes the commands of God so simple, just believe in the Name of His Son and love one another John 13:34. At the end of the day that is what being a Christian is all about. Everything we do should be measured against these two criteria. Do we believe in the Name in other words walking by faith in Christ (Hebrews 11:6) and are we walking in love with all people? To please God we must first and foremost believe in Jesus Christ and love Him. True faith never exists by itself; it is always expressed through obedience and obedience is always expressed through love, Galatians 5:6 and James 2:17. Faith is the tree, obedience is the fruit. To believe in the Name of Christ is the same as to believe in Christ Himself. Jesus’ name tells us who He is. He is Christ the Saviour, immortal Redeemer, the Lamb of God; the Word; the True Vine; the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, unapproachable Light: 1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 19:16. All these are names of Jesus.
This means yielding to authority, and complying with another’s command.
As we have already seen in Lesson 4 obedience is directly related and interrelated to loving others. We can check how much we love the Father by seeing how much we obey the Word. We can have open access to Heaven by obeying all God asks us to do. We can have a clear conscience as we saw in the previous lesson if we obey God’s commands. We have been given the Spirit of the Living God in order to obey so really it is the only way to walk the journey of Life. Yet so simple!!
Because we have the Holy Spirit and are no longer under the curse of the Law it is not a rote obedience or even ‘have to’ obedience it is ‘want to’ love obedience from a heart overflowing from a desire to please our amazing Father who has shown us the ultimate love and we just want to say ‘thank you’. My experience is this happens when our focus is totally on Jesus and His Word
Deuteronomy 8:1 tells us to obey God’s commandments. We do this by obeying God with…
Body: Doing the Word of God in the area of our strengths, talents and gifts, sexuality and relationships, rather than doing our own thing. We need to recognise that these have been given to us by God to be used for pleasure and fulfilment according to His rules, not ours, Exodus 15:26; Matthew 26:39.
Soul: Mind – Choosing to think how God wants us to think, We seek to know Him and His Word, so His principles and values form the foundation of all we think and do 2 Corinthians 10:4-5; Philippians 2:5.
Will – Giving ourselves completely to God, Deuteronomy 11:26-28; Joshua 24:15.
Emotions – Loving God more than any other relationship, activity, achievement or possession! John 14:15-23; Deuteronomy 30:2
Spirit: Our born-again inner man – Listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit and doing what He says, not what we think or have always done, 1 Samuel 15:22.
Finances: By deciding that all of the resources we have ultimately come from God, and that we are to be managers of them and not owners.
Past: Putting the past behind, pressing forward, John 13:17; Isaiah 43:18
Present: Knowing that everything we have of ourselves comes from God, 1 John 2:3-4; Deuteronomy 30:14.
Future: The main purpose of our life’s work should be to serve God and others, Philippians 2:8; James 1:22.
People who obeyed God:
- Abraham – Genesis 11:31; Genesis 25:9-10.
- Noah – Genesis 6:9-10
- David – 1 Chronicles 21:18-24; 1 Samuel 17; 1 Chronicles 29
- Solomon – 1 Chronicles 28; 2 Chronicles 9
- Moses – Exodus 2; Deuteronomy 34
- Levites – Exodus 32:26-29
- John the Baptist – Matthew 3:1-17
- Jesus – Romans 5:19
Do you want Jesus to be real to you on a daily basis and show Himself true to you and working on your behalf in all your problems then obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit is the decision you need to make and you will experience this life of victory. Do you feel you have had this type of lifestyle where God seemed so real when you prayed and read the Word, heard a sermon or talked to a friend but recently everything seems to have dried up spiritually? You are still doing all your Christian work, don’t have any sin in your life, praying and reading the Word but nothing seems to be working.
Look back to the last thing God told you to do, it was probably nothing big, just a seemingly minor issue but the trouble is these minor things stop up the flow of the Holy Spirit just as the major ones do. We listen for God when we need life changing guidance like a new job or house, but when He tells us to speak to a neighbour, or refrain from our third biscuit we don’t think it at all important. Remember no matter how insignificant God’s instructions may seem obeying them is no small thing. It is the simple acts of obedience that will make you walk in holiness (Hebrews 12:14) and victory (Luke 6:49) and close fellowship, 2 Corinthians 6:14.
Blessings of Obedience:
- Healing – Exodus 15:26; Deuteronomy 6:3; Deuteronomy 28:1-14.
- Saves lives – Genesis 7:5 (Noah).
- God’s glory – Leviticus 9:22-23
- Miracles – 1 Kings 17:13.
- Peace – 2 Chronicles 14:1-6
- Combats temptation – Luke 4:1-13
- Key to living as Jesus did – 1 John 2:6; Hebrews 5:8.
Sometimes when we get direction from the Holy Spirit we don’t take it too seriously and feel we will obey, but not just yet as it doesn’t fit into our plan in some way. Or we can’t be bothered or we are offended so we drop the idea. In the dropping of the idea we are actually hardening our heart to the leading of the Holy Spirit. We know we are wrong deep in our heart but we don’t want God to tell us His way so we proceed along our disobedient path. This is such a dangerous path to follow as we refuse His guidance our hearts harden we hear less of His voice and draw ourselves away. He will take us back into fellowship any time we confess and repent but in the meantime we can get into a mess of our own making. This is so real today with the financial pressure in the world, some people are under pressure and instead of asking God what He will do they try and sort the problem themselves often getting outside the Father’s protection and making the problem worse. Often God wants us to stand still and see Him work on our behalf 1 Samuel 12:16
The children of Israel got into trouble so much through disobedience. God told them what to do but they wouldn’t do it often because they were afraid and didn’t believe God or trust Moses. They actually thought that they would be destroyed if they obeyed but as far as God was concerned that was disobedience and that hardened their hearts so He finally sent them into the wilderness for forty years to do an eleven day journey, they had become so stiff necked.
This resulted in the destruction of a whole generation of Israelites before God led them across the Jordan River into the Promised Land. Even Moses missed out as he struck the rock for water a second time even though God had told him to speak to the rock so in his anger he disobeyed God, Numbers 20:11-13. The whole generation missed out on all the blessings God had planned for them and He raised up a generation of soft hearted followers led by Joshua and Caleb who had guarded their hearts, Proverbs 4:23.
We cannot afford to play around with sin in the form of disobeying the simple leading of the Holy Spirit be it ‘don’t lust after that man’ or ‘spend time with Me’ or ‘do that friend’s ironing’ ‘show love to that person’. Don’t reason these ideas away, God is well aware of your time restraints. Likewise He could be talking to us about things we should not be doing or attending. Often we don’t ask God about things we want to do in case He does refuse us and so we push ahead and then wonder why we are tired and never have time to pray!!!
When God tells us what to do let us decide now that we will be obedient immediately and walk this life journey with peace in our hearts, a clear conscience and joy from intimate close fellowship from our Father who loves us passionately. We need to order our lives according to the Word of God and the promptings of His Spirit.
Remember the amazing thought in John 14:21 ‘Whoever has My commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves Me. He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I too will love him and show Myself to him.’ What a promise as we decide to walk the way of holiness being in one mind with God and turning away from the ways of the world and living in agreement with Him. We have this fantastic promise that the God of this world wants to live with us and show up on our behalf in all our life situations. We must love God with all our hearts by obeying His commandments. He will show His love to us by manifesting Himself to us in powerful new ways and pour out Himself upon us as He has done on His children all through the generations. This is power and love that this generation needs to see but there is a price of obedience that needs to be paid, are we willing to pay it today?
16 Obedience – 1 John 3:23-24 Challenge Questions
Read all the notes on ‘Obedience’ – 1 John 3:23-24
1. Is there any area of your life where you know you have a problem with obedience? Which area of your life in the notes do you find this affects? In your opinion does it restrict your relationship with God? Would you like prayer for this?
2. Do you think accountability to another person or group helps in this situation?
3. Which name of Jesus do you feel most represents Jesus to you? Who has God given us to help us be obedient?
4. In the section ‘People who obeyed God’ who do you find most encouraging and most challenging? Why?
5. Do you agree with the ‘Blessings of Obedience’? Are there any you would like to add to this list?
Read the verses 1 John 4:1-6
6. Who would you say Jesus is today? Is this correct according to the Bible?
7. Read Acts 8:9-25 was there any part of this story that challenged you?
8. Looking at the life and work of Simon what do you think was wrong with him?
9. How did Peter behave towards him and what advice did he give him?
10. Do you think you have the gift of discernment? Can you share an example of when you have used this gift? How did you act after you realised the truth?
11. How does John suggest we test the spirits?
12. What points does John make to encourage us towards victory?
13. Who will take note of what we say? What does this show us?
14. Who do we have in us who is far stronger than anything in the world? Does this encourage you and how does this information affect your behaviour? Romans 8:11
15. Sum up these few verses in one sentence highlighting what you have learnt from this passage.
Memory verse, ‘because He who is in you is greater than he (Satan) who is in the world [of sinful mankind]’. 1 John 4:4 AMP