Genesis 12:4, ESV
“So Abram went, as the Lord had told him…”
Jesus, so simple to understand, so hard to do! I listen, you speak, I respond in humble, immediate obedience as I am empowered by you in order to honor you. Help me to do this in the small things as well as the big things.
A good 35 years ago I attended a Steven Covey seminar. The first evening of the seminar the leader asked us to write out a “Values List”–a list of those things that were very important to us and would serve as a foundation for life’s major decisions and daily choices. Here is the list I created at that time (not in order of priority):
- Be a person of integrity and authenticity;
- Slow down and practice: Listening, Loving, Learning and Laughing;
- To cultivate the habit of immediately responding to God’s revealed truth (John 2:5);
- To consistently take time to develop myself: spiritually, mentally, socially and physically
- To be faithful to my purpose and gifts of administration, teaching and leadership by concentrating on them and developing them to a high degree of excellence
- To be, first and foremost, a Christian husband and father;
- Manage myself well and end well.
It’s interesting for me to look back over all these years and realize that they are essentially the same now as they were then.
Number three on this list ties in with today’s topic: responding immediately to God’s revealed truth.
“His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you’.” John 2:5, ESV
I see four simple truths in this short verse:
- “Do”: Don’t just think about it, admire it, respect it, or agree with it, but DO it!
- “Whatever”: Anything He says, hard or easy, comfortable or uncomfortable, my preference or not my preference.
- “He”: What is Jesus telling me? I need to live for an audience of One. I hear lots of voices…lots of people telling me what I should do; but in the last analysis, I stand before Him and Him alone.
- “You”: I am not responsible for what He tells somebody else and shouldn’t compare myself with someone else. What is He saying to me?
It’s living in responsive obedience, in the power of the Holy Spirit, and to honor Him by quickly responding to what He is saying and making clear to me. It’s so easy for me to procrastinate or make excuses for myself as to why I won’t or can’t do what He is asking me.
In many circles today, obedience gets a bad rap. It’s equated with “Law Keeping.”
I obey not to be loved, but because I am loved. I obey not in my strength but in His strength. I obey not to gain His favor, but because I have His favor. I obey not to be saved, but because I am saved!
I deeply believe that God-dependent and God-honoring obedience demonstrates my genuine love for Him and is the pathway to experience all that Jesus has for me.
“Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” John 14:21, ESV
Whatever happened to God-led, God-empowered and God-honoring simple and immediate obedience as one key ingredient to leadership effectiveness and spiritual maturity?