For me, the start of the new year is a great time for spiritual examination. It’s time for me to examine my heart and ask some honest questions. On what did I spend most of my time and resources? How did I use the opportunities God gave me to bear witness about him? Was I faithful? Did I place other things before Him? Was I quick to repent? Was I bold? Did I stand firm? Did I obey? Did I follow through with my resolutions and commitments from last year? The answers to those questions help me see what’s going on in my heart.
The problem for many of us is that we are good at talking about changes we need to make in our lives, but not very good at doing anything about them. We are great at making commitments, but terrible at actually keeping them.
Conviction does not equal obedience.
I think the problem lies in the fact that conviction does not equal obedience. It happens all the time. We can hear a sermon or read something in the Bible and be convicted by the Spirit, but never actually obey. This is a big problem, because Jesus said “if you love me, you will keep my commands” (John 14:15). So the level of my obedience to Jesus reveals the level of my love for Him. Obedience to our Lord is not always easy, but it is not optional either. You don’t take Jesus as Savior, and not as Lord. You take and follow him as Lord, or not at all.
The level of my obedience to Jesus
reveals the level of my love for Him.
The commands of God flow from his heart. He does not just give us a random list of do’s and don’ts. He gives us his commands because he knows what is eternally good for us. Growing up, mom and dad used to always tell us, “Listen and obey!” I remember one day I was outside riding my bike and I was told to stay in our yard. Instead, I went across the street into the neighbors yard and rode my bike through their flower garden. Obviously, they were not happy, and neither were my parents. I heard what they said, but I didn’t obey. That scenario played itself out far too often when I was growing up and I felt the stinging results from it on my backside. My disobedience was met with discipline. In the same way, our God disciplines us when we walk in disobedience. But he does so “for our good, so that we may share in his holiness” (Hebrews 12:10). Now I tell our girls all the time, “Listen and obey.” Not because I want to domineer over them, but because I love them. Hebrews 12:5-6 explains, “Do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves.” So this year, I’m committing to radical obedience. God, whatever you say, whatever the cost, I will obey. What about you? What is God saying to you? Will you listen? Will you obey?
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them…is like the man who built his house and laid the foundation on the rock.” – Luke 6:46