Obedience Leads to Blessing
The only way to experience all that God has for us is to walk in complete obedience. Then we can be sure not to miss any good thing He desires for our lives. Obedience always brings blessing (Life Principle #21).
But sometimes, in spite of our faithfulness, we suffer. We notice that people who don’t acknowledge God receive the things we long to have or experience for ourselves. What’s happening when pain enters the life of an obedient believer? In this study, you will learn more about the kinds of blessing found in the midst of suffering.
One way to describe a blessing is: any expression of God’s goodness and love toward us. We typically limit our concept of blessings to things like answered prayer, supernatural provision, and other positive events. But sometimes God blesses us in the midst of difficulty with things like inner strength, new insight, or greater spiritual maturity.
- “Obedience always brings blessing.” Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not?
- Have you seen this principle demonstrated in your life?
- What questions, if any, do you have about the relationship between obedience and blessing? Have you ever expected God to bless you for obeying but later felt disappointed at the results? If so, explain.
When obedience doesn’t lead to an expected result, look for one or more of these less obvious ways God may be working in your life.
1. An Adjustment of our Priorities
God uses disappointment to realign our focus. We might have set our eyes on something that was not His will or not yet in His timing. Or maybe we assigned too much importance to a worldly goal that is of little value to God.
- Read Romans 11:26-12:2. Why should we “present our bodies a living sacrifice” (12:1)?
- Evaluate your life. Have you conformed to “the image of this world” in some way (12:2)?
- How has disappointment helped you turn away from “worthless things” or submit to God’s plans for your life? (See Psalm 119:27 NKJV.)
2. Spiritual Insight to His character
When life takes an unexpected turn, we are wise to ask what God may be trying to teach us about Himself.
- God did not answer Paul’s prayer for deliverance from his “thorn in the flesh.” What new insight about the Christian life did He eventually reveal to the apostle (2 Cor. 12:9-10)?
- What have you learned recently about the Lord because of unanswered prayer or unforeseen hardship?
3. Greater Dependence on God
We cannot live the Christian life apart from the work of the Holy Spirit, who empowers us to obey God. But we frequently take back control of our lives, thinking we can manage without Him. Life’s difficulties remind us how much we need the Lord.
- Read Galatians 2:19-21. What does it mean to have been “crucified with Christ” and to allow Him to live through you?
- Looking at your life over the last few weeks, how much do you need God in this season? Explain.
4. Opportunities to Prove the Lord’s Faithfulness
People notice how you respond to life’s tragedies and disappointments. When you allow God to carry you through difficulty, your life becomes a testimony of His power and goodness.
- Paul and Silas were thrown into prison for healing a demon-possessed girl (Acts 16:19-34). What were they able to do despite their horrible circumstances (v. 25)?
- What opportunity did God give them because they stayed focused on His purposes (vv. 27-34)?
- Describe a difficult situation in your life where your trust in God could bring glory to Him and possibly open doors for evangelism.
5. Greater Hunger for His Word
When things don’t go well, we are more likely to dig deeper into the Bible, searching for answers, peace, and encouragement.
- King David wrote, “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes” (Ps. 119:71). Describe a time of your life when you grew in your knowledge of Scripture because of suffering.
- Read 2 Timothy 3:16-17. For what is the Bible “profitable”? Which of these qualities do you value the most?
6. Peace and Joy
Regardless of the situation, we can be content and even happy. Why? Because our contentment is based upon trust in God, not possessions, achievements, or circumstances.
- Read Philippians 4:11-13. How was Paul able to be content even “in want”?
- Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Do you need supernatural joy, peace, and hope right now? If so, ask the Spirit to renew your mind and lift your countenance.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for the promise that obedience always brings blessing. Open my eyes to the less obvious ways You desire to bless me. Enable me to grow spiritually so that I will value the things You value. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.