Week 10: Respond

FRIDAY

I hope that by this last devotional we are gaining a deeper appreciation for responsive obedience. Often times the way we view the things that we are facing impacts the results that occur. Sometimes we quit before we even try, thinking things like, “that is too difficult” or “what’s the point” or “I would much rather do this other thing”. It is times like that where our purpose (living lives to please God in response to who He is and what He has done) must override whatever we may be feeling in the moment. If we lose sight of the purpose of obedience it won’t be long before we can talk ourselves out of it altogether.

I think it is fitting to close with these words from the Apostle Paul. Remember, do not give up being obedient to what God is calling you to do!

Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.

Galatians 6:7-10 The Message

THURSDAY

We have to address the way that we sometimes view obedience. It can be easy, for many different reasons, to view obedience in a negative light. When obedience is mentioned some view it as too legalistic. Others view obedience as a prison that keeps them from doing the things that they want. The obedience that Jesus desires is one that recognizes who He is and appreciates what He has done and responds by doing the things He is asking us to do. Not only that but it is in that obedience where we find the life that God desires for us.

King David had a great desire to honor God by keeping His Word. He knew that by doing so he would communicate to God his love for them. But he also knew that there was a significant impact on his own life for the better as he obeyed. He said in Psalm 119:129-132, “Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them. The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple. I open my mouth and pant, because I long for your commandments. Turn to me and be gracious to me, as is your way with those who love your name.” May the same passion and desire to obey Jesus’ words be in your heart today as you respond to God’s Word.

WEDNESDAY

In the John 14 passage Phillip asked Jesus to show him the Father. He had heard the words Jesus was saying, but was asking for more proof so that he could have greater confidence in what was said. Again, as in so many other ways, we are not too different from the disciples. But how you might ask? We have been given the Bible and its words reveal to us important truths. Paul told Timothy, “Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.” (II Timothy 3:16-17, Message)

But the question that confronts us is do we act like Phillip did in this passage? In essence do we say, “I hear your Word Lord, but just show me something more. Give me a sign and then I will believe and obey what you have said.” We need to stop living as if God needs to prove Himself to us at every single turn, during every decision we face. We are called to believe in both the power of His Word and who He is. He has already proven more than faithful in the seasons that we have faced. Learn a lesson from Phillip’s interaction with Jesus in this passage and don’t seek more proof before you will obey what God is calling you to do.

TUESDAY

We do not always show our love for Jesus in the way that we should. In fact, there are times when are actions demonstrate a lack of love for Him. Jesus knew our limitations and knew that we would help. In John 14:16-17a, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth…” The Spirit would lead us into all truth and as Jesus said the Spirit would, “teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:26b) The disciples would need to be reminded of Jesus words because they would face obstacles that could cause them to forget what they had been taught.

We are very similar. Whether it is the busyness of the day; the obstacles that can discourage us; or the things we have a hard time understanding; we sometimes forget the truth of God’s Word. We forget that we are called to respond to God’s love by being obedient to what he is calling us to. We forget that faithfulness matters and every single demonstration of it effects our lives. That’s why we need a Helper and that is one of the reasons the Holy Spirit was sent. So when you are reminded by the truth of God’s Word and how He is calling you to live or what He is calling you to do respond with obedience. Obedience that is motivated by grateful love for all that God has done on your behalf.

MONDAY

Jesus told his disciples, “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) Jesus is not telling his disciples that in order to earn his love they would have to keep His commandments. What he is saying is that the disciples would demonstrate their love for Him by their obedience to things He had taught them. Jesus love was given freely to us, there is nothing we can do to earn it. But that love should do something in us that causes us to respond to Him.

What we must realize is that following Jesus commandments is the best possible thing we can do. Henry Blackaby said, “God’s commands are designed to guide you to life’s very best. You will not obey Him, if you do not believe Him and trust Him. You cannot believe Him if you do not love Him. You cannot love Him unless you know Him.” The disciples were at a point where they had spent so much time with the Lord that they did know Him. In that knowing they were drawn to love Him. Jesus is telling them now that as they love him they should respond to His love and do the things He is calling them to do. The same rings true for us today. Respond to the love that God has shown you by doing the things He is calling you to do and being the person He is calling you to be.