BE OBEDIENT TO GOD!

(Part 4 of the current Message Series)

We are looking at 2 Greek words that translate time, Chronos and Kairos.  We have only 1 word for “time”, but the Greek has these 2 words.  Let’s give this simplified way to describe the 2 Greek words.  Chronos is the unchanging ticking of the clock—a measured duration that consumes all

Kairos Is The Wonderfully Unique Moments Where God Steps Into Our Space And Time—To Renew And Restore Human Hearts And LivesChronos Is Ordinary Time—Kairos Is Holy Time.

So that we can recognize Kairos Time and insure that we are living in Kairos Time, there are certain steps we need to take.  First, we need to remember that God is in control of Kairos, not us.  We simply need to be involved where God is involved in order to see it.  Then we need to listen to God, not just hear Him—by being alert, sensitive and ready to move with God. 

There is another step for us to take.  It’s by Being Obedient.  Obedience is a word that isn’t well received in our Chronos Culture.  Our culture has replaced Obedience with holding onto views, beliefs and opinions that confirm whatever it is we want to believe.  It’s designed to relieve people of responsibilities for their choices and actions.

And even in the Church Culture, obedience is seen much in the same way.  I want to introduce you to a new word, a word I picked up from fellow blogger InsanityBytes.  That word is Churchian.  A Churchian is someone so deeply entrenched in the status quo of church that they reject everything contrary to what they believe and want.  They look for confirmation for what they already believe and typically—what the average Churchian believes is something that makes them comfortable and is easy to follow.  For example, “The Lord wants us to help those who are worthy of our help.”  Or, “The Lord never puts more on us than we can bear.”  But you won’t find those anywhere in the Bible.

Obedience is a word that is presented by both sides in a negative way.  But it’s a word that we cannot avoid if we are going to seriously follow Jesus in life.  It’s a missing word that we need to reclaim—but reclaim it the right way.  Let’s look at today’s passage from 2 John 1:5-6 (TPT)

Dearest woman, I have a request to make of you.  It is not a new commandment but a repetition of the one we have had from the beginning: that we constantly love one another. This love means living in obedience to whatever God commands us. For to walk in love toward one another is the unifying commandment we’ve heard from the beginning.

If you can remember only 1 thing today, this is it:  Obedience That Honors God—The Obedience God Demands From The Followers Of Jesus—Must Come From The Relationship, Not From The Rules.

Thanks to the Legalists and Modern Day Pharisees, obedience sounds harsh, difficult, and quite honestly, it is unfulfilling.  Modern day Legalists and Pharisees present obedience in such a way that it puts more emphasis on the external than the internal—and all at the expense of the heart.

Obedience to God doesn’t mean that we give up the freedom of the heart.  To the contrary, there is a real freedom that we find in the new heart—and this new heart calls us to obey.  It’s this freedom that draws us in the direction of what Eugene Peterson once called in a book he wrote, A Long Obedience In The Same Direction

Obedience Is Not The Relationship God Offers.  But You Cannot Have The Relationship God Offers Without Being Obedient.  And here in John’s letter, we have the way obedience works the way God has designed it—obedience that develops both maturity—and a life of holiness that pleases God.

1.  Obedience Begins As A Decision

And the first decision we need to make is to admit our need for The Savior.  Here are the first 3 critical decisions we must make about this need: 

  1. We Are Sinners cut-off from God.  We can’t save ourselves.  If we bypass this step, we will never be able to have The Relationship God longs to have with us.  Obedience grows from the heart that knows it is dead without being forgiven and delivered from our sin by the atoning work of Jesus on the Cross.  None of us are exempt from it—that we are sinners.  No sinner is any worse than any other sinner.  We are equally sinners needing Jesus to deliver us from the penalty and dominion of sin.
  2. The Second Step Is To Confess.  Confession means being of the same mind.  It means we cannot follow Jesus into the life of holiness until we are of the same mind about what God says about our sin—For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. (Romans 3:23)  Confession isn’t the same thing as admitting you sinned.  Simply admitting you’ve sinned is like a child admitting they took a cookie from the cookie jar when confronted by Mom, acting like they are sorry and won’t do it again.  But deep down, they really want another cookie, so when Mom isn’t looking the next time, they will get a cookie.  Confession starts the process of changing how we see ourselves in light of God’s Truth.
  3. The Third Step Is To Repent.  Repent Means That You Turn Away From The Old Life, And Move Into This New Life.  Repentance doesn’t mean you have to feel miserable and cry your eyes out.  You might need to do that—but tears of remorse are not enough.  It’s like Peter preached in Acts 3:19-20—“And now you must repent And Turn Back To God so that your sins will be removed, and so that times of refreshing will stream from the Lord’s presence.  And He will send you Jesus, the Messiah, the Chosen One for you.”  Without turning back to God and His Ways, we haven’t repented, we’ve only admitted we are sinners.  There has been no transformation—and transformation will NOT happen until we turn back to Him.  Repentance is not repentance unless it includes the desire to turn back to God and live like He wants us to live.

God has only one plan for Salvation, and that is in Jesus Christ, through confession and repentance for those who will admit they are sinners.  We obey God’s plan because we have been saved through His grace.  If we try to have a relationship with Him in any other fashion, it becomes a negotiation—and God doesn’t negotiate.

2.  Obedience Becomes The Choice

Every morning and all day long obeying God is a conscious and intentional choice.  Every situation we face becomes a moment where we choose to obey God or disobey God.  Everything in your life, everything you face, from ordinary moments to even painful moments, are moments we choose to obey God or disobey Him.

I think about Joshua’s retirement speech to the Hebrews in Joshua 24:15—“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living.”  Once you come into the Relationship, there’s more.  Obedience Is Doing What God Wants Done—More Than What YOU Want Done.

And so you make a choice, every day and all day long.  That’s what Peterson meant in his book—it’s a long obedience in the same direction.  Your Choices Are Based On The Values Of The Land You Are Living In OR Based On The Truth Of God

Too many are making choices based on the land they are living in—a land filled with idols and false gods.  The land we are living in has declared war on the Rule of God!  Our choice is either to surrender to the culture or to step into the realm of God’s Rule and join in the battle against Satan by living in obedience to God. 

J.D. Walt, a powerful writer, teacher and preacher reminded me the other day of something very important. The Pharisees of Jesus’ day focused on the Rules of God because they thought God was in the Rules.  Jesus came to proclaim God’s Rule! To experience Kairos, Our choice needs to submit our heart, mind, soul and life to God’s Rule over us.

3.  Obedience Builds Into A Process

God created life to work for us and not against us.  And life does work for us when we live it the way He designed it to be lived.  To successfully and abundantly live this life He created, we live in His way, not our own way.  Obedience Is Doing What God Says, How God Says To Do It And When God Says To Do It. 

We learn to obey God’s Law—God’s ONLY Law—and that is to love the way He loves.  We don’t obey so that God will bless us.  We obey God because we Love Him!  The difference is in these 4 words:  Have To or Get To.  Your heart and mindset will be the you either have to obey or get to obey! The New Heart God gives us responds with the joy of “get to”–you get to obey God because His heart and strength now lives in you.

I want to close out with this quote from Eugene Peterson’s book, A Long Obedience In The Same Direction, and it’s about obedience:

“We need roots in the past to give obedience ballast and breadth; we need a vision of the future to give obedience direction and goal.”

Obedience must be rooted in both—the Past AND the Future.  Obedience without God’s Word is living without roots to hold us steady and strong in the winds of change.  Obedience without the Future—that direction and goal—leaves us stuck in the past—and we miss out on God’s future.

Obedience is about becoming whole in Jesus.  It is through obedience that we become whom God made us to be—the reflection of His Image.

Here Are Your Next Steps:

  1. Focus On The Relationship Not The Rules.  This was where Satan began with Adam and Eve—The Rules.  They forgot about the relationship because they were so focused on that Rule.  Had their focus been on The Relationship, they would have made a different choice.  Choose God’s Rule over the Rules of God.
  2. Start With One Area Of Your Life Where You Know You Are In Disobedience And Work With The Holy Spirit To Change That.  Have you become someone else’s judge?  Are you holding onto a grudge?  Is there a bad habit?  Align that one area of your life with obedience, and the others will begin to change, too.
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