The Christian Lifestyle
Part 3: Obedience
"Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul
diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart
from thy heart all the days of thy life"
"Then shall I bow in humble adoration, and there proclaim my God how great Thou art."
There is little, if any, examination or scrutiny placed on the Christian by todays church regarding the manner in which one is expected to walk. The pinnacle of the Christian experience for many is realized in their evangelical decision and consummated by their baptism. This leads to a void of old fashioned piety or practical godliness. Much of what is defined by the church as Christian piety can be seen in the emphasis on church programs that are doctrinally weak if not altogether meaningless. Therefore, for the average church member there is little conformity to the holy image of Christ because there is spiritual apathy or laxity and no self-denial of the personal comforts that attained to the previous lifestyle; there is no "Closer Walk" with God. There is a better chance for the Christian to have their family dog develop an intelligent response to a specific command than it is for them to develop an intelligent response to a command given by the authority of Scripture or the demands of a righteous God. The dog once trained understands the demands of their master and responds correctly to given stimuli. But the Christian acts out of untrained ignorance and responds to God based on precepts that are unbiblical. Why? Because they have "God in a box" and do not know the God of the Bible they know the god of the church. But "when the eyes of our hearts are open to see something of Gods sovereign majesty, infinite dignity, supernal glory, and we begin to rightly esteem Him, then we perceive how thoroughly right and just it is that such an One should be held in the utmost reverence, and esteemed far above all others and exalted" (A.W. Pink).
With this in mind, let us proceed to examine the problem of a walk of obedience. "One may call himself Christian, and be impulsive and impetuous, and drive furiously in the work of the Lord, but have an improper heart or no heart to the service of Jehovah God. A person may not possess a mind that is yielded reverently and obediently to the worship of God, neither does he come to know His mind and law. This type of person is merely a hired servant of the Most High and the fear of the Lord does not reign utmost in his heart. He does Gods work as did the Lion who slew the wicked prophet, but remained a lion" (C.H. Spurgeon). The Christian is first to "obey" the commands and precepts of God; he must adhere flawlessly and constantly to the conformity of the revealed will of God, which is His right to insist upon and His just do. The chief aim of the Christian is to serve God, that is, to be in subjection to Him. How is this possible unless he be obedient to the commands of God? "The great God could never be imposed upon or satisfied with mere external performances from His creatures" (A.W.P.).
However, this is no easy task, as some might think easy. Yet our Lord Himself assures us that if we take upon His yoke we will not find the burden to be a task that is unaccomplishable. The Christian lifestyle does require obedience and as such it is our duty to understand how such obedience might be obtained. Therefore this article will examine Christian obedience in the following areas:
It is motivated by love.
It is progressive.
It is accordance with Gods revealed will.
It is set forth in His divinely inspired Word.
It is Motivated by Love:
It is Progressive:
It is accordance with Gods revealed will:
We are exhorted to obey in all things according to the dictates of our Master. Yet how can we do this if we do not understand and then accept the will of God for our lives. Many of us fail to grasp Gods will for our lives. This may or may not be as difficult as many make it out to be. We are to serve our God! There is to be an uninterrupted obedience to our Christian obligation in which we please the Lord both with our actions towards others and our love for the brethren.
Thomas Watson gives four points on how we are enabled to do God's will aright:
It is set forth in His divinely inspired Word.
While the Scriptures do not give a precise formula for discovering Gods will in intensely personal circumstances, they do plainly tell us that we have a Guide, Jesus Christ, who will lead us in the right direction and help us make fundamentally sound choices in major and minor decisions. It can not be our expectation of what Christ would have us do, we must have such a knowledge of His Word that our life decisions have a good foundation.
We are enjoined by God to rationally seek His will for our lives (our part), but ultimately we must depend upon Him for sure and certain guidance (His part). We do not have all the details, but we do have an all-knowing, all-loving, and all-powerful Guide, Jesus Christ, who promises guidance to His followers (His part).
It is hoped that this article has in a small part outlined the importance of Christian obedience. At the outset of the Christian walk it is of utmost importance for the believer to realize the importance of obedience. Yet, all to often there is a failure on the part of the church to properly instruct each believer of their duties and responsibilities to the Lord. Many new members, as well as old, view their responsibilities to the church equal to their responsibilities to the Lord. But it is not the responsibility of the church to read your Bible, pray your prayers, and walk your walk. It is the responsibility of the church to tell you for your obligations, to minister in such a way that it fosters spiritual growth, and ensure that all is done for the glory of God.
Baptist Ministries ©