In the third lesson from the word GROWTH we are looking at the letter O.
O - Obeying God moment by moment...
So what in the world does this actually mean and why is an important part of our spiritual growth?
The way I think about it is this - every second of every day we have a choice to make. We can choose to go our way, follow our own plans and dreams, and satisfy our own desires... Or we can choose to put God first - at the very heart of every decision we make and every thing we think, say or do. When we actively decide to put God first we learn to obey Him moment by moment.
From my experience this is all very good and easy in theory - but WHY is this so important and HOW do we go about putting this into practice?
Let's go back a bit to start - in John 15:10 we read -
So this helps us to understand WHY we need to obey. In order to truly shine for Jesus, to show His light to others and to live for Him, we need to remain in Him. This just means we need to be immersed in His Word and in His love, taking time out of our busy days to spend time reading His Word and talking to Him in prayer. We need this time so much - when we don't have it we can so easily grow cold, compromise and end up making all our decisions with a screwed up perspective. Daily time with God helps to ground us in the way He wants us to go.
And the parable in Luke chapter 6 warns us again why we need to obey -
"But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house
without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house,
it will collapse into a heap of ruins.”
Our lives are too precious to waste them by basing our foundations on things that are going to collapse. Money, career, and even relationships, can't support us when we need it most, no matter how hard they try. We need to build our foundation on the Rock - the God of heaven and earth - the One who knows all and loves us unconditionally. Only then can we be sure we're going to be alright.
So that's the WHY answered. Now we need to think about HOW we put this into practice. We've mentioned earlier that we need to spend time daily in God's Word. This is so important and cannot be put off for anything! I know myself that when I don't take the time to sit down and actually 'do' my quiet time everything else just seems off. It's hard to fit in it - I know - and I've been there through the crying kids, sleepless nights and hectic days. But it is so worth it.
Someone once said that every time you read the Bible you should get something out of it. Now, I have to admit, when I first heard this I struggled so much - because to be honest that wasn't what I was finding. I was reading some days and getting amazing words of wisdom, but them sometimes I was reading passages and getting nothing. Nada. Niente. Nothing. I thought something was wrong with me - either that or I was doing something very wrong!
Thankfully it was the latter reason and I'm perfectly fine and normal!!! :)) Up until then I had been using Bible reading notes, and mostly I couldn't remember what I'd read by lunchtime never mind bedtime. It wasn't ideal and I didn't really get what I wanted out of them. But then I discovered a couple of wonderful tools that revolutionised my Bible reading.
The first one is the GMG programme which I have mentioned before - which uses the SOAP system. Then there was the WORD system of reading, and finally I read these words of wisdom -
Nearly all passages of Scripture have one of the following:• a command to obey• an example to follow• a sin to avoid• a lesson to remember
This was such an encouragement as I read through my verses over the next few weeks and months. When I knew what I was looking for, and then was thinking about a way I could actually apply this truth and wisdom to my life, I found that most days I was coming away with something real that I could focus on in my day to day life, helpig me to focus on God throughout the day and helping me to make decisions for Him rather than myself.
I'll admit - it's not always easy - but it's always worth it. The things I find it hardest to obey in are the things I struggle with most - especially because my selfish nature comes out and wants it's own way. For me these include laziness, my issues with food and the core of selfishness that threatens all the good I want to do. But I'm a work in progress and I praise God that He's not finished with me yet!!!
Tomorrow we'll take a little look at how to move forward when we do disobey as so often happens.
See you then!
Keep shining xx