God has a good life for us. We can live with real peace and joy every day. John 10:10 says Jesus “came that [we] may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)” (The Amplified Bible). And in John 17:13, Jesus prayed that His joy would “be made full and complete and perfect” in our lives.
God’s plan is to bring you out of the bondage of sin so He can bring you in to the good life of peace, joy and righteousness that He offers. And radical obedience to God’s will and His Word is the key to experiencing it.
Obedience isn’t a topic that usually makes people excited. But the benefits of obeying God – righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit – are greater than any sacrifice or suffering we may go through when we receive His Word and choose to follow His commands (see Romans 14:17). And it is a choice we make – God will not force us to do what He wants us to do.
A Milestone Moment in My Relationship with God
It’s important for us to understand that God gives us His commands because He loves us and knows they are good for us. Anything He asks us to do is for our good. The truth is, obedience to God changes us and makes our lives better. And true obedience begins with our thoughts, attitudes and the motives of our heart – our inner life.
I remember a milestone moment in my relationship with God when He revealed to me how important the inner life is, and no matter what I’m looking at, He’s always looking at the real me on the inside – my heart. It became clear to me that if I keep my thoughts and attitudes right with God, I will be obedient to whatever He asks me to do. In other words, it will be a natural response for me to obey Him when I have His heart about the circumstances in my life.
God wants us to serve Him first and foremost with all our mind, heart and attitudes. This is what it means to have a pure heart. Matthew 5:8 says the pure in heart are blessed and will see God. When we are pure in heart, we’ll hear God’s voice speaking to our heart, be divinely led by the Holy Spirit and won’t live in confusion. This is a benefit of radical obedience to God.
The Danger of Compromises and Excuses
We have to learn to guard our heart from sins that will keep us from having a pure heart. Compromise is one of them. To compromise simply means that you go a tiny bit below what you know is right. It’s easy to justify it and convince yourself that it doesn’t matter that much anyway.
For example, if you have critical, judgmental thoughts about someone but are nice to them anyway, you may think its ok because you were nice and they don’t know what you were thinking anyway. But God knows what you’re thinking and it matters to Him. If you allow those thoughts toward that person to remain in your heart, you’re going to have a hard heart that isn’t right with God.
You may be thinking, Joyce, what about grace? And forgiveness and mercy?
• Grace is not an excuse to live a sloppy life – it’s the power not to have to live that way.
• Forgiveness is wonderful and restores peace in our heart but it doesn’t always remove the penalty for what we’ve done wrong.
• God is merciful, but He’s also just and knows it’s in our best interest to do what’s right even though His love covers a multitude of sin.
Don’t give in to excuses that can keep you from really living the best life God has for you. Resist being a Christian who knows the Word of God, agrees with it, and even tells others they should obey it but then makes excuses for why you don’t have to.
Get rid of your excuses and get radical in your obedience to God instead. Be determined to live for God’s glory and be quick to hear, quick to obey and ready to do whatever He wants you to do. Then enjoy the radical benefits God has for you.