Every parent knows the challenge of teaching obedience. Children must learn to respect our authority and follow our instructions. Obedience is not optional. That’s also expected of life with our heavenly Father. We must respect his authority and follow his instructions.

Looking back, we can attribute most mess-ups to failure in those two areas. We didn’t respect his authority. We didn’t follow his instructions.

When Moses confronted Pharaoh requesting permission to lead the Israelites out of Egypt to worship their God, Pharaoh asked a significant question. “Who is the Lord, that I should obey him?” (see Exodus 5:2 NIV).

He wanted to know: what authority does the Lord have to require my obedience?

God answered that question in his own words in an encounter with Moses. “Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, ‘The Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation” (Exodus 34:5-7 NIV).

God’s standard has not changed. Way back in history, he planned that his people would be different. And he promised they would reap great benefits from obedience.

God’s standard has not changed. Way back in history, he planned that his people would be different. And he promised they would reap great benefits from obedience. Click To Tweet

The Lord said, “…Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you” (Jeremiah 7:23). He didn’t leave us stumbling through the dark, wondering what he expects. He clearly laid that out in his Word.

He still requires us to live a separated life. Choosing separation is an obedience issue, and obedience is an authority issue. If God, my authority, commands me to live a life of separation (holiness), my response is obedience.

I still remember the moment when the voice of God spoke shocking truth in my heart. I was in a large arena listening to a well-known Christian leader. I thought I was a committed Christian with strong moral values. After all, I was attending this conference! As the speaker began describing worldly Christians, I heard God speak. You are a worldly Christian.

If anyone else had said that, I would have put on the boxing gloves. No way was I a worldly Christian! But when God speaks, I tend to remain silent. He started showing me all the places where I thought like the world. I had no clue I’d been contaminated with worldly thinking. That moment changed me.

Choosing God as my authority meant choosing to follow his instructions. That meant my life would be different. That meant standing against popular thinking. That large decision eliminated many small (yet crucial) decisions. 

List the challenges in your life and identify the places where the world’s thinking has crept in. Ask God to do a thorough cleansing.

One big decision settles everything: I choose to respect God and follow his instructions.

One big decision settles everything: I choose to respect God and follow his instructions. Click To Tweet

Delayed obedience is disobedience. Partial obedience is disobedience.

Have you thought righteousness was beyond you? I found this definition in the Amplified Bible: conforming to God’s will in purpose, thought, and action. That’s the life God intends for us. The life he will bless.

Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, said, “I do not know anyone who loved this world who has ever been used by God in any significant way” (How to Walk in the Spirit).

If you’re interested in changing your life, memorize this. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2:15-17).

What authority does the Lord have to require my obedience? What obstacles prevent my following his instructions?

Lord, I choose to live by decision. Show me the “unclean things” in my life. I confess my failure and claim your forgiveness and cleansing. Today, I am setting my heart to seek the Lord and to obey you in everything, trusting the awesome power of your indwelling Holy Spirit to enable me to live a life of separation that pleases my Father’s heart.

Has there been a time when you struggled with worldly thinking? Tell me about it. And please share this article with your friends!

© Dianne Barker 2020

(Scriptures from KJV unless noted)

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