Go to your nearest Christian bookshop and take a look at all the different books on the shelves. Big ones, little ones, heavy theological ones, devotional ones, and so on. But have you noticed that bookshelves have so many books about guidance and knowing the will of God?
For years the ‘trend’ for books was not guidance or knowing God’s Will, but it was obedience. People had an understanding that God’s Will is written in Scripture and if people want to follow God’s Will then they need to follow Scripture. But that is an unpopular message today. Why do you think that is? Why are people searching for a sign instead of obeying Scripture?
I think that people don’t want obedience, but they want a plan. I think that people don’t want general commands, but they want a specific plan created by God specifically for their lives.
I think people want more than obedience because obedience isn’t glamorous. Obedience isn’t anything ‘special’ it’s what everyone is called to. Therefore, to some people obedience has become normal and they don’t want normal.
People don’t want to be missionaries in the office on a Monday morning, they want to be missionaries abroad. People don’t want to Pastor a small flock for years, but they want the big new flashy church that everyone’s talking about. People don’t want to have that gospel conversation with their one friend, they want to be speaking on a stage in front of hundreds or thousands of people. Obedience isn’t exciting enough because it doesn’t bring acknowledgment, it doesn’t bring recognition, it doesn’t bring fame. But deep down, I think that is what many people want.
If this is your current thinking of obedience and guidance, you’re way off base and you haven’t understood obedience at all.
Obedience is not a heavy task, it’s not a bare necessity, it’s not a chore! Obedience is a privilege, it is an honour to obediently and submissively serve and live according to God’s Will. If we become bored with the ‘ordinary’ lifestyle of obedience that Scripture called us to then we’ve got a problem.
Firstly, it’s an eye problem. We aren’t seeing the sheer beauty of the gospel that we even have the privilege to serve God and do everything for His glory. We aren’t seeing the beauty of Scripture which calls us to be living sacrifices before God.
Secondly, it’s a heart problem. We don’t want to ‘settle’ for obedience because “surely God has something better for me in store”. I pray that you do not really believe this because it is so damaging! I’ve heard people say this before and it has never ended well. We are nothing special, we are sinful people made right with a holy God by Christ. God isn’t the privileged one to have us on His team, we are the privileged ones because we shouldn’t even be let in through the gate, never mind be called children of God!
Thirdly, it’s a here and now problem. Those who want to know their ‘calling’ or ‘God’s will for their life’ at the detriment to obedience are focusing on this life. If we focus on fame and recognition now then we haven’t grasped the beauty of God or eternity. As Christians we get to spend an eternity with God, we’ll praise Him forever. Eternity is far more important than the few years we have of life here. Death is not the end, for Christians, it is simply the beginning of the perfect relationship with God that we were created to have.
God has set forth His Will in Scripture for people to follow. Are we doing it or are we holding off for something ‘better’ and more specific to our own lives?
A search for greatness should characterise the Christian’s life, but it is the search for God’s greatness and a desire to see Him lifted above every other name.
Do you want to have a ministry teaching thousands for Christ? Start by sharing the gospel with your neighbour and who knows what will happen!
Do you want to be the most well known Pastor in the world? Start by faithfully teaching people and caring for them well and who knows what will happen!
Do you want to be used mightily for God’s Kingdom? Start by living wholeheartedly by God’s Word and your obedience might be used by God to draw someone nearer to a Him.
Obedience won’t get you on the headlines, it won’t make people applaud you, it won’t make people love you more. But it will cause you to love God more, to have a deeper desire to serve Him and it will cause you to remember that even your obedience is not your own but it is a gift from God.
You can never become bored of obedience, because we can never be 100% faultless and blameless. But we can hunger and thirst for righteousness, we can be pure in heart, we can be poor in spirit and we can obediently serve our Great God!
Obedience is our calling, it is His Will for our lives, and it is the privilege that we should never forget because we don’t deserve it!