Following Jesus Requires Obedience

As we continue our series on following Jesus, our Scripture today reminds us that we must be obedient to what Jesus is asking us to do, and that means even when it is difficult or what we are not comfortable with.  1 Peter 1:14-16 says, “So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, ‘You must be holy because I am holy.’” (NLT)

There are times when God calls us to step out in faith and do something that is so far beyond our comfort zone, that I think some of us tend to say, “Wait a minute Lord, I can’t do that!”  It reminds me of Moses.  God called him to rescue the Children of Israel from Pharaoh and take them out of Egypt,(Exodus 3) and Moses protested, saying that he couldn’t do it because he didn’t talk well when in reality, I believe he was afraid.   When it boils down to it, I think that’s where we are when we say we can’t.  We are walking in fear instead of faith, and we don’t obey the call to a mission He has given to us.

Peter reminds the early church that we must live holy lives and must be obedient to what God calls us to, whether it be a ministry, or asking us to conduct our lives in righteousness.  Obedience is key.  Peter says we are not to live to satisfy our desires, but we are to live to seek God’s desire for us.  What does He ask of us?  “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:8 KJV) In following Jesus, we should walk in an upright manner, our actions, speech, and attitudes should be just.  Our lives should show mercy to others with love in our hearts for them and if they are unbelievers, our hearts must break for their lost condition.  Our lives ought to be an example of how God wants us to live, as we show our love for them in everything we do and say.  As examples, we are to follow God with humility, not with an attitude of, “Look at me, I’m a Christian, I’m better than you.”  Nothing will drive an unsaved person away quicker than a “holier than thou” attitude.

When God calls us out to step into a new arena, yes, it can be scary.  Our knees are knocking, and we can feel fear rising.  But we also know that God has promised not to abandon us. (Hebrews 13:5) He will help us take that first step of obedience.  Remember, obedience means we are dying to our selfish desires and accepting the task God is asking us to take up.  One way to remember this is to look at the word, “obedience.”  Obedience.  See the word inside the word?  The word, “die” is tucked inside the word, “obedience.”  We are to die to self and turn to Christ and follow Him, and we are to do this with an attitude of humility, just as Christ was humble. 

Is God asking us to witness to others and tell them what Jesus has done for us?  He will help us. He will give us the courage to open our mouths and share with them the love of Jesus.  Is He asking us to take a new job?  Is He asking us to move clear across the country?  I’ve been in all those situations (I had to move across the country twice!) …and yes, I was scared to death. But He helped me put one foot in front of another and I now know why I had to walk those paths.  As I was obedient in each of those cases, my faith became stronger, I learned something new.  I learned about myself and I learned about the faithfulness of God.  Being obedient to the call of God brings peace and a life that is full because we have obeyed the voice of the Lord.

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