Obedience to God. It’s a requirement. But how do we actually achieve this obedience?
Genesis 12 gives us some idea, for it begins with an incredible story of obedience:
“Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, And from your relatives, And from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you…” (Genesis 12:1 NASB).
Now I don’t know about you, but this would be an incredibly hard command for me to obey. I am of the personality type that needs to have all the answers before embarking on something as big as a move! Yet God is basically asking Abram to leave behind everything that he knows — his family, his land, his livelihood, his friend, everything – without even telling him where he is to go! All God says is, “…to the land which I will show you…”!
Fortunately for Abram, he wasn’t like me. He “…went away as the Lord had spoken to him…” (Genesis 12:4a NASB). Perhaps Abram had a lot more faith than I do. He is, after all, named in Hebrews 11 as one of the great fathers of faith. But Abram also had something more than faith…He had a promise:
“And I will make you into a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing;And I will bless those who bless you,
And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” (Genesis 12:2-3 NASB).
God always blesses our obedience. Abram knew this, and because of this, he was faithful and obedient. The first step, then, to obedience is to have faith that God blesses the obedient!
The next step is outlined in Genesis 12:5-7: “…so they came to the land of Canaan. Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. Now the Canaanites were in the land at that time. And the Lord appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your descendants I will give this land.’ So he built an altar there to the Lord who had appeared to him.” (NASB)
One of the many pieces of my old life that continues to hang around is pride. I am ashamed to admit this, but I must be truthful. The times I have encounters with God, my tendency is to become quite proud of myself. After all, I must have done something right or God wouldn’t have spoken to me! And if I do take a step or two towards obedience, I tend to be quite proud of myself for that as well!
But not Abram.
Abram’s response? “So he built an altar there to the Lord…” (Genesis 12:7 NASB)! To Abram, it wasn’t at all about himself. Rather, it was completely about God. God spoke to Abram, Abram built an altar to worship God. A few verses later, we see him building yet another altar: “Then he proceeded from there to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord.” (Genesis 12:8 NASB). This time, Abram wasn’t visited by God. Nonetheless, as he continues in his obedience, he continues to build altars to God!
This is the true secret to obedience, friends! We can’t allow any pride to direct our paths. Rather, we need to focus our energies on worshiping the Lord! Just like Abram of old, we need to understand how special it is for God to speak to us at all, and instead of becoming proud that He does, or becoming proud that we are being obedient, we need to pour out our gratitude in humble worship! When we approach the tasks God has given us with a humble heart, ever believing that He blesses us when we obey, our obedience suddenly is not difficult at all!
What is it that God is asking YOU to do? Whatever it is, consider it a great honour. Bow down and worship God for allowing you the privilege of serving Him in this way, and trust Him to bless your obedience.
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart
Author, Moderator, Acting Director, Answers2Prayer Ministries