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No one should be satisfied with a mediocre, barely-get-along kind of life. God has a great plan for every single person, and I want to encourage you to go for the very best life He has for you. If you want to get to that life, the key is obedience to God and an understanding of His great love for you!
I used to have to hide teachings about obedience under a different title because people honestly get hung up on this word. But I decided I didn’t want to hide it anymore, because obedience to God truly is the path to the greatest life possible.
But it’s pointless for me to teach you to obey God more without teaching you how to love God more and to let Him love you. Because the only thing that is truly going to compel you to be obedient is your love for Christ.
John 14:15 says, If you [really] love Me, you will keep (obey) My commands.Notice Jesus didn’t say, “If you keep My commands, I’ll love you.” He already loves you perfectly, and He could never love you more than He does at this very moment.
Now, I’m not saying we can buy more of God’s love through our obedience, but our love for Him will grow as we live in obedience to Him and as we experience His faithfulness. I obey God much more now than I did thirty years ago, but I also love God and His Word much more than I did back then. I love Him for who He is…because He’s beautiful and amazing. And it’s because of that love for Him that I want to obey Him.
Is there any area in your life where you are being disobedient? When I taught this at a conference once, almost every hand in the building went up when I asked that question.
I want to encourage you with the same advice I gave them. Just like a parent with a child, God is saying to each of us, “Why don’t you just do what I tell you to do? I’m telling you this for your own good.” The truth is, whatever God asks us to do, it’s for our benefit, so we need to take it seriously and submit to His direction.
He’s not taking things away from us to be mean or giving us a long list of impossible rules. He’s teaching us what things are going to benefit us and what aren’t, because He wants us to live the very best life we can. He doesn’t want us to be bitter, hurt, resentful, and lost, which often come as a result of disobedience. He wants us to have righteousness, peace, love and joy.
First, make a commitment to obey His Word. In other words, anything you read in the Bible that tells you what to do or not to do—do that. If you don’t understand some of it, focus on the things you do understand first. Start with the clear instructions like, Forgive your enemies; pray for those who hurt you. And remember that even though the instructions are clear, you’re still going to have to be determined to do it. It may not be easy to forgive people who hurt you, but it’s actually a lot easier than being bitter and resentful your whole life. And remember that whatever God asks you to do, He will give you the ability to do it.
Second, obey the prompting of the Holy Spirit for your life. God doesn’t lead every individual in the same way. The Bible applies to everyone, but the Bible doesn’t give every detail of everything we need to do. That’s why we also need to listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in our heart.
My prayer is this teaching is an encouragement to you. No matter how many things you need to work on, give them to God one by one and let Him do the work in you. As you step out and become more determined to obey Him, He will help you do what needs to be done. And not only will you experience more peace and joy, but your love for God will grow and grow.