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Simple Obedience

July 28th, 2010

“If you just listen and don’t obey . .” James 1:23 NLT

To obey is to do fully and promptly what you know clearly to do!

My thoughts today are that “simple obedience.”

Have you ever noticed that when a child does not promptly obey, a parent will usually ask, “Did you hear me?” In the Greek language, the language in which most of the New Testament was written, the word obedience comes from the root word, “to hear.” Life is this simple; hearing presumes obedience.

It is a mistake to assume that a person will do better if they know more. So we give them more information, and wonder why they do not do better. More information is not what a wrongdoer needs. I have observed that the real problem is this: people are naturally inclined to do too little of what they know, rather than their knowing too little of what to do. Jesus gives people greater truth, not more information, and adds inspiration to that – the desire and power to do what you know to do. “It is God that works in you both to will and to do His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13.

I was just a teen when my spiritual life was permanently changed at a youth service by a testimony from the newly saved mother of one of my friends. Whatever else she said, God spoke quietly but powerfully into my heart and life when she challenged us with a probing question Jesus asked, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not do the things that I say?” Luke 6:46 NIV. Read Matthew 7:24-27. If Jesus is your Lord, your obedience is not optional.

Jesus told a story of a father who asked each of his two sons to work in his vineyard. The first son said that he would not work, but later decided that he would do as his father asked. The other said that he would work in the vineyard, but ultimately did not. He knew what his father wanted, and simply chose not to bother. Jesus asked his listeners, “Which son did the will of the father?” Matthew 21:28-31 NIV.

The correct answer is, neither. They both had sufficient information of their father’s need and intent, but neither of them had sufficient interest to do what they knew. You are never commended for eventually doing what you knew to do much earlier. Procrastinated obedience is actually just temporary disobedience. To obey is to do fully and promptly what you know clearly to do! See James 5:1 NLT.

James, the brother of Jesus, compares God’s Word and will to a mirror that reveals a true and accurate reflection of yourself that inspires you to live according to the knowledge you have. But James warns against turning away and ignoring what you know. That describes a person who “listens but does not obey . . one who looks intently at the (Word of God) and abides in it . . that man will be blessed in all he does.” James 1:23/25.  If you will take care of the “doing, “ God will be faithful with His “blessing.”

My prayer for you today is that you know the will of God for your life, and do it!

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