The Advice of a Mother
All of us can cite examples of not listening to our mother’s advice and living to regret it. In John 2, Mary, Jesus’ mother, gives a bit of advice to servants at a wedding feast. Jesus, the disciples and His mother were attending a celebration that was such a success then they ran out of wine, a great embarrassment to the hosts.
John 2:5 – “Whatever He says to you, do it.”
Great advice! Can you imagine the miracles that would take place if we would heed this advice? Jesus told the servants to fill six water pots with water, draw some of it out, and take it to the governor of the feast. When the governor tasted the water (that had now become wine) he was amazed.
John 2:10 – “Every man at the beginning does set forth good wine: and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse; but you have kept the good wine until now.”
Will you do whatever Jesus tells you, no matter how foolish, risky or hard it may be? The servants risked looking very foolish, taking what they thought was water to the governor. But, because they obeyed Jesus, a miracle took place.
A Few Facts About Obedience
- Obedience adds stability to life (Matthew 7:24-27). In Matthew 7, Jesus gives the example of two houses, one built on the sand and another built on a rock (sturdy foundation). When the storms came, the house built on the sand was destroyed, while the house built on the rock survived.
The house on the sand represents those who hear the word of God but do not obey it. The house built on the rock represents those who hear the Word of God and obey it. People who refuse to obey God and His Word will fall apart when trouble comes. On the other hand, those who obey God will withstand all the storms of life (Hebrews 2:1).
- Obedience causes us to grow. “For unto everyone that has shall be given, but to him that has not shall be taken away even what hes has” (Matthew 25:29). In other words, if you don’t use it, you will lose it.
If we are given an opportunity to obey God and don’t, sooner or later we will lose the opportunity. If we obey God in faith when He speaks, He will give us another opportunity to obey. That’s how we grow. Life is not a long jump. We do not go from step one to step ten. We must take one step at a time. Each step of obedience provides with it another opportunity for personal, spiritual and corporate advancement.
When something is revealed to us, we must step out in faith and obey. When we do, we will be given the next step. The same thing holds true for the church. The church must move in obedience when God gives it vision and direction. If it doesn’t, its growth will be stunted.
- Obedience flourishes the Work of God. Peter and John’s response to those who threatened them not to speak or teach in Jesus’ name was: “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:18-20).
How many times has the work of God been hindered because God’s people failed to obey? I’m not referring to personal failure. Peter failed, but afterward moved on to obey the Lord. As a result, the work of God flourished (Matthew 28:15-20, Mark 16:15-20, Acts 1:8).
This applies not only to those who are sent, but also to those who send. Paul said, “How shall they preach except they be sent” (Romans 10:13-15)? Those who are called to preach or minister full time cannot fulfill their call without the support of those God calls to send (support) them. Paul and Silas were able to go on their first missionary journey because of the moral, prayer and financial support of the Antioch church (Acts 13:1-3).
Paul sought the support of the church at Rome to continue his labor for God in the region of Spain (Romans 15:23-24). He also was supported by the Philippian church while incarcerated (Philippians 4:10-19). Great things have been and can be accomplished because of the faithful obedience of God’s people.
- Disobedience is often covered up by superficial spirituality. When going to battle with the Amalekites Saul was told to utterly destroy everything and everyone. Instead, he kept the king and the best of the flocks alive. When Samuel arrived, he rebuked him saying, “Why did you not obey the voice of the Lord” (1 Samuel 15:19)?
Saul covered up his disobedience with something appearing to be spiritual. He said he obeyed, but kept the best of the flock to sacrifice to the Lord. Samuel responded, “Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness (insubordination) as iniquity and idolatry” (1 Samuel 15:22-23). How often do we cover up our disobedience with supposed spirituality?
- Obedience is learned through suffering. “Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him” (Hebrews 5:8-9). Jesus learned obedience through the things He suffered. What makes us think we’re better then him? We learn and grow through suffering and difficulties. We not only learn to obey through suffering, but more accurately, we learn how to obey in the midst of suffering (Acts 8:1-4, Romans 8:17, and 1 Peter 1:6-7).
- Obedience will be tested. “Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered” (Hebrews 5:8). God will test us to see if we will obey Him. He will put his finger on the very thing in our life that stands between us and Him to see if we will put Him first or not. He tested Abraham with his son (Genesis 22) and the rich man with his riches (Mathew 19:16-22). Abraham passed the test, but the rich man did not. Jesus proved His obedience through the test of suffering at Gethsemane and the cross (Philippians 2:6-11). What is God putting His finger on in your life? Will you pass the test of obedience?
- Obedience identifies those who truly know and love God. The Word makes it clear that obedience is the real identifying factor of those who love and know God. It reveals those who really belong to Him. That does not mean we will never fall short and fail, but is the normal course of our life one of obedience?
John 14:21 – “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
1 John 2:3 – “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.”
Matthew 7:21 – “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”
- Obedience is the mark of a true disciple. “As the Lord commanded Moses his servant, so did Moses command Joshua, and so did Joshua; he left nothing undone of all that he commanded Moses” (Joshua 11:15). This does not refer to blind obedience, but if the direction our leader is giving us is reasonable and aligned with scripture, then do it.
The church is not a democracy, but a theocracy. There is headship in the body of Christ. Jesus is the head (Ephesians 4:15) and a good pastor is like the central nervous system which takes direction from the head and sends it to the rest of the body (Hebrews 13:17 and 1 Peter 5:3). The church should be more like the military where the chain of command is expected to be followed. Anything other than obedience is insubordination (1 Samuel 15:19-23).
- Obedience adds blessings and success to life. The Word works. If we obey God and His Word it will bring success to our life. There will still be times of testing, but if we persevere in obeying the voice of the Lord, His blessing will follow.
Joshua 1:8 – “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”
Psalms 1:2-3 – “His delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.”
James 1:25 – “He who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what (all) he does.”
- The Call to Salvation Must be Obeyed “He (Jesus) became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him” (Hebrews 5:9). Paul told the Athenians that God “now commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). To the Romans Paul referred to salvation as the “obedience of faith” (Romans 1:5 and 16:25-26). He referred to those “that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall (not may) be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and the glory of His power” (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9).
The Holy Spirit is calling you to salvation through faith in Jesus. Will you obey His call by putting your faith in Jesus as your only hope of salvation? Will you accept Him as your personal Lord and Savior? Jesus is even now Choosing you and knocking at the door of your heart, to take His rightful place as Lord of your life (Revelation 3:20).
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I have sinned against you and I ask you to forgive me. I believe you died for my sins, rose from the dead, and are seated at the Father’s right hand making intercession for me. Come into my heart and help me to live for you the rest of my life. In Jesus name, amen.