Do you often find yourself wondering why God doesn’t answer your prayers? Or why, despite all your best efforts, the circumstances of your life still don’t work out? The answer could lie in your level of obedience to the Lord. Or perhaps waiting may be the result of God wanting you to be still, trust Him, and watch for His cue to move forward.
Any area of disobedience needs to be addressed. Sin prevents us from experiencing His best. Perhaps God has asked something of you, and in response, you have either ignored His words or done only part of what He asked. True obedience to God means doing what He says, when He says it, how He says it should be done, and as long as He says to do it—regardless of whether or not you understand the reasons for it—until what He says is accomplished.
Before you try to make a list of everything God has ever asked you to do or not do, consider this: Is there one particular area of your life in which you struggle to obey the Lord? As you read Scripture, does He continually bring a specific sin to mind? When you go to Him in prayer, does the same issue surface repeatedly? If the Lord is bringing something to your mind right now, consider this: It could be that you have been living in the same uncomfortable situation for years because at some point, you chose to do things your way instead of God’s way.
Following His will instead of your own can make a tremendous difference in your life, which is why you must make obedience to Him your top priority. But to do so, you need to understand why submission plays such an important role in your relationship with God.
An excellent biblical example to illustrate the point is Noah—a man who obeyed God, even when what the Lord asked him to do didn’t seem to make much sense. God called this man to build an enormous ark—something that seemed both impossible and illogical—and Noah complied without asking questions (Gen. 6–9).
Will it always be popular to obey God? No. Will people criticize you? Probably. Will they think you do some ridiculous things? No doubt. Will they laugh at you? Yes. But think about this: Noah chose to walk with God in the midst of a corrupt society. In fact, it had grown so wicked that God determined to destroy every living human being on the face of this earth, with the exception of one family—Noah’s. We can only imagine what those evil people must have said to Noah as they watched him day after day. But soon after the raindrops started falling, all mocking stopped.
Noah obeyed God despite what other people thought of him, and the Lord spared him from the great flood that covered the earth. If he had listened to his critics, Noah would not have built the ark, and he would have been swept away with everyone else. Instead, he chose to obey God, regardless of any misgivings he might have had.
When we choose the path of obedience, we must be prepared for the negative responses we will undoubtedly receive, knowing that God has an excellent reason for His command and will help us in extraordinary ways. We must never focus on the things or the people who try to distract us from doing God’s will. The Holy Spirit enables us to obey every one of God’s commandments and always directs us in the very best way possible. Therefore, whatever He requires of us—whether it be painful or joyful, profitable or costly, reasonable or peculiar—our heavenly Father will give us the ability and strength to be faithful, regardless of what others think or how our circumstances appear.
Obedience must be a priority in every believer’s life. It is the only way you will ever become the person God wants you to be and the only way you will ever achieve the things in life that He has so wonderfully prepared for you. It is the Holy Spirit who enables you to walk obediently before the Lord in His strength and His power.
So choose to obey Him, even if you don’t understand why He asks you to do something. Have faith that His instructions are for your good (Jer. 29:11). That way, you can become the person He wants you to be, do the work He desires of you, bear the fruit He enables you to bear, and receive all the blessings He has prepared for you.
Adapted from The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible, © 2009.