Obedience is not a bad word. We would avoid a lot of suffering if we would obey God. But at the same time, obedience to God can lead to persecution. However, God calls us blessed when we suffer for the sake of righteousness. The Word of God is good news. It comes to set men free. Yet, some people don’t want to be set free from bondage.
- James 1:12 New King James Version – Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
There is a crown of life promised to those who endure temptation. Temptation means to be tested. The enemy won’t waste time tempting us with something we don’t want. The issue is do we desire the temptation more than God. Every day we are tempted in some form or fashion. But we must endure that temptation and do the right thing. The battle is between our flesh and spirit. Jesus paid the price for our salvation. But we have to do daily maintenance on our walk with God.
- Matthew 4:1-4 New King James Version – Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. 3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” 4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”
- 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 New King James Version – 12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
Look at the same verse in another version.
- 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 New Living Translation – 12 If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. 13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
If we think we are standing in our own strength, we need to be especially careful. When we depend on ourselves we are not believing and leaning on the Lord. Whatever God allows to come our way, He will give us the ability to overcome it. Put up a fight against temptation–resist it. Don’t get used to succumbing to the temptation and thinking that you can’t avoid it.
We always have the ability to say no. Take authority over thoughts of temptation before they come. The Holy Spirit will help us overcome every battle. The Holy Spirit will give us strategies to defeat the temptation and even avoid it. (If we leave sin alone–it will leave us alone.)
The best things in life are tested. Who wants to go to a doctor who has never been tested? Who wants to ride in a car that hasn’t been tested? No one. In fact even after we are tested, then we need to develop experience. If we get tired of being tested, then that means we are tired of growing. Things that aren’t properly tested often get sent back for a recall because there is a defect that can lead to harm and sometimes even death. Let’s learn from our tests so we can become proven men and women of God.
Sometimes we focus on our strengths, when we need to sometimes focus on strengthening our weaknesses. Even if people we depend on leave our life, we can’t shut down. We must learn to make adjustments and stand firm in Christ.
Develop an enduring attitude. An enduring attitude perseveres through testing.
- 2 Peter 1:5-8 New King James Version –5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The closer we get to God, the more we will go through.
We will be tested by friends, family and enemies. Our enemies can even be those of our own household or even ourselves. We must be determined to stay true to God and our faith in Him, no matter who comes against our faith. That’s what Job did. He lost everything and then even his wife tempted him to curse God and die. But Job stood strong in the Lord.
- Job 1:21 New King James Version – And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, nd the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Why limit God to our level of thinking?
- Isaiah 55:8-10 New King James Version – 8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.
Why don’t people believe God for the miraculous?
- Some people don’t believe God because they really don’t think it can come to pass in their life.
- Some people just become complacent (satisfied) with the way things are.
- Some people have been listening to limiting people who think at a low level.
- Miracles require believing prayers!
People called Jesus when things seemed impossible. When a synagogue leader’s daughter was sick, He sought out Jesus. But before Jesus arrived, the situation turned from difficult to impossible.
- Mark 5:35-36 New King James Version– While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” 36 As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.”
The recipe for a miracle has certain ingredients. To believe God for a miracle, get self out of the way.
- Psalm 20:7-9 New King James Version – Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the Lord our God. They have bowed down and fallen; But we have risen and stand upright. Save, Lord! May the King answer us when we call.
- Joshua 10:12-14 New King James Version – 10 Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel: “Sun, stand still over Gibeon; And Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.” 13 So the sun stood still, And the moon stopped, Till the people had revenge Upon their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. 14 And there has been no day like that, before it or after it, that the Lord heeded the voice of a man; for the Lord fought for Israel.
You can’t have a miracle without believing. Joshua believed God for a miracle–he prayed that the sun wouldn’t go down until he fought off all of his enemies. The sun didn’t go down for 24 hours. God gave Joshua a whole extra day!
“Do not be afraid; only believe.”
Obedience is not a bad word. We have to get to a place where we have a mindset to learn, and especially learn from our mistakes. We don’t have to learn something by experiencing it. We can learn from others who have experience, so we don’t have to make all the mistakes they made.
We don’t want to put ourselves in danger because we refuse to take heed to warnings. God places boundaries in our lives to protect us. Don’t think that God is being mean by placing a fence (of rules) around us. God’s ways protect us from evil. God sanctifies His believers–that means he sets us aside for a particular purpose. Too many Christians are trying to blend in with the world.
- Joshua 24:15 New King James Version– “choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord”
- 2 Corinthians 6:17 New King James Version – Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.”
BELIEVING needs to become a favorite dish of yours. We all have our favorite meal. But, believers should love the Word of God, have an appetite for it and believe it. God doesn’t want us to be forgetful hearers. The Word of God is unlike any other Word we can read from any other book. It is living and it changes lives.
- Hebrews 4:12 New King James Version – For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
We should have an appetite for God’s Word more than man’s word. Guard your heart against distractions when the Word is going forth. Sometimes you are not tired, you just need a Word from the Lord. God will never leave us nor forsake us–sometimes we just need to look a little harder and press into His Presence. Jesus may be silent at times but He is always carrying us. Pray to have an appetite for God’s Word.
- Psalm 34:8 New King James Version – Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
Any problem or crisis that we face comes with a feeling–fear. Fear will take you to doubt. Then doubt will take you to unbelief.
- Mark 5:35-36 New King James Version – 35 While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” 36 As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.”
Jesus doesn’t want us to be afraid. Fear is not of God. Fear does not come from God. Fear is a spirit. Fear can make you believe things that will not even come to pass. Fear makes you doubt the promises of God. God won’t operate in an atmosphere full of fear. We have to move forward even when we are afraid. Don’t stay in fear. You can’t have fear and faith in the same house–one has to leave.
- Mark 5:37-42 New King James Version – 37 And He permitted no one to follow Him except Peter, James, and John the brother of James. 38 Then He came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and saw a tumult and those who wept and wailed loudly. 39 When He came in, He said to them, “Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping.” 40 And they ridiculed Him. But when He had put them all outside, He took the father and the mother of the child, and those who were with Him, and entered where the child was lying. 41 Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, “Talitha, cumi,” which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” 42 Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age. And they were overcome with great amazement.
Jesus chose three men of faith to be with Him during this faith crisis–Peter, James and John. Jesus trusted these proven men to stay in faith with Him and learn. (Be careful who you trust your personal business with–people change.) Jesus only wanted faith in the room with Him because He planned on doing a miracle. Situations that seem dead are not hopeless when Jesus is involved. Jesus is the Author of Life. Nothing is hopeless when Jesus is around. (If your environment is full of doubters, put them out).
Jesus didn’t care about offending people when He needed to take care of God’s business. Jesus put people out! Jesus put all the doubters out. ONLY BELIEVE. We need to put the doubt out of ourselves. Even put your feelings out. This is not a walk of feelings. This is a walk of faith. God’s Word operates by faith.
Jesus will answer, but it is not always in the way we think. Jesus answers in a way that is for everyone’s eternal good. God loves to ask us to do things that don’t make sense because He wants faith to kick in. Jesus took the hand of a girl that was dead and started talking to her. Could it be that your miracle is just sleeping? It’s not dead. Your turnaround is only sleeping. It will wake up if you stop doubting.
We can’t always go by just what was said. WE must pay attention to what was not said. Jesus didn’t say, “If you can rise…” Jesus commanded her to rise. If you know something is in the Word of God, you don’t have to question it. The most important type of prayer is a believing prayer.
- Hebrews 11:6 New King James Version – But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Could it be your situation hasn’t changed because you are not speaking life over that situation that seems dead? Faith speaks. In the natural, you cannot build anything without building materials. God built the entire world by the Word of God. Speak the Word of God over your life.
- Hebrews 11:1-3 New King James Version – 1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. 3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
Pray to God and ask for what you need.
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:13 NKJV)
You must wear your armor if you’re going into a battle. Why would a soldier show up on the battlefield without his sword and without his armor? Don’t be complacent in the middle of a battle! People have died for the gospel. Don’t try to blend in with the world–the enemy’s army. Don’t be afraid to offend someone if it means pleasing the Lord. We are soldiers in the Lord’s army. We take orders from Jesus and not today’s culture.
A big part of the whole armor of God is keeping on the belt of truth. Don’t drop the truth for a short season of fun. Christians should dress like Jesus Christ and not like the devil. Why would a Christian want to look like a demon. Dressing for success in the kingdom of God means putting on Christ and wearing the full armor of God 365 days a year.
- Ephesians 6:11-13 New King James Version – 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
The enemy does not fight fair. Right now the enemy is targeting our children. Even Christian children must put on the whole armor of God and fight–daily. The enemy is not using just the old ways of getting people to sin, he is using technology. Social media is a major method of causing depression because people are continuously comparing themselves to others. The Word of God calls that foolish.
We see the results of spiritual attacks in our physical world. Random acts of violence, foul language, quarrels, strife, depression, addiction and many other evils are often inspired by evil spirits influencing people. Christians dressing in the armor of God are able to fight off the fiery darts coming at their minds from the enemy. Christians with the armor of God on can put up a strong stand against evil.
- Ephesians 6:14-18 New King James Version – 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—
We can use the Word of God when the lies of the enemy comes against our minds. And remember, we can always call on the Name of the Lord for help. At the Name of Jesus everything must submit.
His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” (John 2:5)
Just like fish need water, people need water and oxygen in order to survive. And the Christian needs to BELIEVE in the true and living God. If you believe, you will believe and obey.
- Acts 16:30-34 new King James Version – 30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.
- Mark 9:23 New King James Version – Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
Even when “it” gets tough–keep on believing. Even if you pray about ‘it” and “it” gets worse, keep believing. Our duty as a Christian is to keep believing. Even if it seems like you are the only one in your family or on your job who is a Christian, keep believing that those you are praying for will come to know the Lord.
If we stop believing, we will die spiritually. If we keep on believing, we will keep on receiving from the Lord. Look at how Jesus solved a problem when one person had faith.
- John 2:1-5 New King James Version – 2 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. 3 And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” 4 Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”
How many of us have thought, it is not my time yet? How many of us are delaying because of fear? Fear that we are not able to do what the Bible says we can do. We don’t have to understand everything in order to get the victory. All we need to do is believe and obey.
God is looking for obedient believers. Whatever Jesus tells you to do, do it. Not only is Jesus is our Savior, but Jesus is also our Lord. Because Jesus died to save us we need to obey Him. We need to obey the Holy Spirit too. The Holy Spirit is God. We must obey even when we don’ t understand.
- Isaiah 55:8-9 New King James Version – 8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.
Jesus is a problem solver and He doesn’t solve them in conventional ways. Jesus doesn’t always answer the way we think or move the way we think He will move. We need to submit to the way Jesus thinks. While we are trying to figure it out, Jesus has already worked it out.
- John 2:6-11 New King James Version – 6 Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. 7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it. 9 When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. 10 And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!” 11 This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.
No problem is too big for our God. Don’t focus on the problem. Focus on Jesus. Jesus’ job is to problem-solve. Our job is to believe. Maintenance your believing by feeding on the Word of God. The Word of God builds faith.
Don’t doubt the Lord and disobey because of past experience. Believe and keep believing. If you truly believe, you will obey.