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Benefits of Obedience
During my time of despair, the Lord reminded me that the essence of a real relationship with Him is obedience. I began to take a fresh look at the place of obedience in the believer's life, and I saw several benefits.
1. God's faithfulness is unceasing when we obey Him. "Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments" (Deut. 7:9).
None of us will ever fully understand the "whys" of the troubles and issues we face. But God is faithful in responding to our love and obedience to Him.
2. Obedience unlocks the door to prosperity and the pleasures of life. "If they obey and serve Him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures" (Job 36:11).
3. Those who obey Him become His special treasure. "Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep my covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine" (Ex. 19:5).
4. We have His protection when we obey Him. "But if you indeed obey His voice and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries" (Ex. 23:22).
Remember this: Only those who are sensitive to the love of God can submit to the peculiar ways of God. Not everyone will understand or appreciate the anointing on your life. But praise God—no weapon formed against you will prosper! (See Isaiah 54:17.) And when the enemy does attack, God will raise up a standard against him (Is. 59:19).
5. There is a marvelous freedom in walking in total obedience to God. It releases you from being concerned about the outcome. You just walk in faith and trust God to handle things.
Learning Obedience Through Trials
Though none of us likes to go through hard times, the truth is that suffering is the very thing that teaches us obedience. Even Jesus had to learn obedience this way: "Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered" (Heb. 5:8).
His words to the Father when He was facing the cross reflect the agony He endured: "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will" (Matt. 26:39). In spite of the pain, He surrendered completely to the Father's will.
Times of despair are tough and trying. But don't let these seasons destroy you. Allow them to refine and prepare you to fulfill your purpose and destiny.
Disobedient resistance prolongs the tough times. Listen carefully to what God is saying. Daily strengthen your walk in obedience to His Word. Stay focused. Remain rooted and grounded in the faith.
You will not be disappointed, for, as Paul says, "The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed" (Rom. 8:18).
It has been said that in God's economy we can't skip grades, no matter how capable or mature we think we are. God has a lesson for us to learn in each stage of life. But His Word promises that "tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope"—and that hope does not disappoint us (Rom. 5:3-5).
Lessons in obedience are a part of our daily walk as we "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Pet. 3:18). They are the key to finding victory over despair.
Barbara McCoo Lewis is the supervisor of women for the Southern California First Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of the Church of God in Christ.
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