The women's class at my church has been going through a series called "Undercover" by John Bevere. Last night was Week 3, and let me tell you...that stuff hit home hard. The basic theme of this study is submission to authority: authority to those who have been placed over us and submission to the ultimate authority of God. This stuff is truly life changing y'all. There are things that I have learned in just these three sessions that have changed how I deal with my supervisors at work, and there are things that I have learned about obedience to God that I had never heard before.
Last night's topic was about disobedience to God. Thankfully I have the ability to listen and write at the same time, so I was able to jot down several quotes that I thought *ahem* stomped all over my feet and broke my toes. (These quotes are not word-for-word, but they are close.)
"You can create a Jesus that gives you what you want--that loves you and blesses you despite your constant disobedience, but that is rebellious and that is not the real Jesus." (please note: John Bevere is referring to those people who live a constant life of sin without repentance yet still continue to think that they are a Christian and deserve the blessing of God)
"The highest form of worshipping is not singing, it's obedience." As a worship leader, that one threw me for a loop, but it's so true. We see worship as only singing, but obedience is so much more important!
"Rebellion is when you embrace your own reasoning and forsake obedience to God." Example: we 'reason' ourselves away with statements like "well everyone else is having sex before marriage and God is not striking them with lightening, so it must be okay"
"The greater the faith, the greater the obedience. The greater the obedience, the greater the faith." You really can't have faith in God as the King of the universe and then refuse to obey His Word.
"When you try to correct a religious person, they immediately clam up and refuse to hear you. They refuse to admit that they could be wrong because your correction made them feel uncomfortable. But anytime Scripture gets tough and convicts our hearts, it's going to be a little bit painful. We have to look at it as God causing a little bit of pain now to protect us from a whole lot of pain later in hell." Broken toes right there. I hate being corrected. I hate being told that I am wrong. But correction from God is absolutely 100% necessary in order for me to grow as a Christian and endure this world. We need to see God's commands not as a huge list of things we can't do, but as His divine protection for our eternal souls.
"When we rebel, we bring God down to our own level. We think we know more than Him and know what is better for our own life. We make Him human like us." Something I had never thought about before, but that is true. I can look back into my past and see places where I deliberately disobeyed God because I thought it was okay for me to do something...I thought He just didn't understand the times we live in today. That is so silly, but we do it all of the time.
"Whether you are aware of it or not, there is a spiritual door to your life, called the Access Door. The Access Door gives legal access to sin and demonic power in your life. Obedience to God slams this door shut, but disobedience throws it wide open."
That last quote is what made the biggest difference for me. I had never thought of disobedience that way. I always viewed sin (and I believe this is how most of us view it as well) as something bad. Something bad that I do all of the time that I can just ask God for forgiveness for later. I'll gossip about somebody at work but it's okay, I'm a Christian and God loves me and He'll forgive me when I ask Him to. We use God's grace as a reason to continue sinning, rather than seeing it as the power that saves us from our sin.
Friends, this has got to stop. The unsaved people in America do not hate God, they just can't understand what's so great about Him because we live like they do. If God is so great and awesome and powerful, then why does the church act the way it does? Why aren't they different from the world? We have lost our reverence and respect for God. We put Him in a little box and sit Him on the shelf and live our lives our own way, but then when something bad happens we expect Him to rush in without hesitation and save the day.
God is not some sort of heavenly grandfather that gives us exactly what we want when we want it. And I believe He is growing so very tired of watching "the church" continuously disrespect Him and disobey His commands.
Sin is real folks. Spiritual warfare is real. Satan is real. Demons are real. The enemy desires to sift you like wheat. He desires to destroy your whole life. And when we disobey God, we throw open the doors to our souls and allow him to walk right into our lives and create a huge big mess. And one day, it will be too late. The trumpet will sound and the Lord will descend and it doesn't matter how much you say you love God, you will not be entering into heaven. Actions speak louder than words folks. And if we aren't striving daily to obey God, then we really don't believe in Him.
Of course we will mess up. I mess up every day, we all do. But where are our hearts? Are we desiring with every fiber of our being to please Him? Are we striving to work for His kingdom? Or are we too caught up in our own lives to care about the lost souls around us that are dying and going to hell? I believe a vast majority of the church is asleep, and it's time to wake up. It's time to run hard and fast after our Lord and Savior. It's time to try our best to be obedient to Him. That's all He wants: our very best...our whole souls in a constant effort to further His kingdom.
Time is running short. And I am afraid that if we don't wake up soon, we will miss Him. Don't miss this. Don't clam up and continue to dwell in your own self righteousness. Seek Him. Ask for His heart. Ask for His strength. Ask for Him to cleanse you and teach you His ways.
Be obedient. Your eternal soul depends on it.
"During the days of Jesus' life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverent submission. Son though He was, He learned obedience from what He suffered and, once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him."
"We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him." ~Acts 5:32