THE FRUIT OF OBEDIENCE
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But 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.
The fruit that comes out of obedience is beautiful.
But it cannot precede obedience. It is the reward given as a result of submitting to God's plan- His way, and at His time.
We know that, but how can we walk in obedience when it just feels so so hard at times.
The fruit of obedience is not just for us. But for those in our generation, and for those who will come after us that we must pave the way for.
It doesn't always feel pleasant when you are in it, and it certainly isn't easy. The longer we walk with God, obedience can become difficult because it requires the constant relinquishing of our own strength, desires and preferences after the initial zeal and excitement has worn off.
When we first say yes to Jesus the elation and excitement is so strong that we say "send me Lord, yes, I'll go!" without hesitation. However, as we experience a little more of life, are faced with fearful situations, and have to process and do some hard things, obedience calls us to go beyond blind zeal.
Know what I mean?
Obedience requires a quiet rooted trust in God, and discipline of our minds, hearts, and bodies.
Our willingness to walk in obedience has to mature
I was in thought this week about how salvation in Christ is an incomparably marvellous gift given to us by God.
When we first surrender our lives to Jesus the exhilarating, renewing feeling is oh so real.
This gift given changes everything about our lives, and gives us a new motivation and direction in life.
We want to show off the gift to family and friends, and use this gift every day because its new. Tell everyone and anyone who will listen about Jesus and how He has transformed our lives and can do the same for them if only they be willing.
As times goes on, however, the temptation to put this gift back in the box, and move on to other things in our own strength is all too easy.
I am learning that obedience to God has to be exercised daily, and it can be done in the seemingly small things.
How can we "practise" walking in obedience so that we become more comfortable with trusting in God?
1. Exercising obedience daily through study, reflection, meditation in the Word so that we grow more confident in it rather than in our own voice.
2. Opening up in conversation within a community of trusted friends who can encourage you along the way.
3. Listening and application! It doesn't always mean that the request to obey will feel easy on us. It certainly won't.
But, obedience will be more welcomed because we'll be armoured with the right tools in the form of examples in scripture to help us along the way.
When we become used to doing things in our own strength, desensitisation is not far off.
Walking in step with the Holy Spirit becomes a little mundane- not our first choice no matter even how small those steps required of us may be.
Think upon the fruit borne from one mans obedience, then also yours
There have been so many occasions where in the attempt to make sense of things and get the answers that I want, I have taken for granted the gravity of what God has done for me by sending His son Jesus Christ to live, die, and rise in my place.
Jesus's life and death hinged 100% upon His willing and focused obedience. There was no other alternative, no other way but to obey.
If it was not for the joy set before Him (Hebrews 12:2)- the plan, and hope of seeing us redeemed and resuscitated from death to life was His motivation.
He was blinded to everything else.
Yet isn't this also the very thing that causes us to buckle at the thought of obedience? The moment we become struck with blindness.
Losing sight of the fruit that will be borne from our sacrifice and pain. For a moment, or several moments we somehow don't have a fixed joy set before us.
We rather see the magnitude of what will be required of us, and out comes an overwhelming sense of insecurity, uncertainty, doubt, fear, mistrust and unbelief.
Not a trickle. A flood. A tsunami that threatens to overwhelm us and erode every good thing that God has built up within us.
In doing so, I myself have often overlooked the power of the Holy Spirit who resides in me and as a result, not realising that Spirit-empowered obedience is a necessary fruit of the gospel and my life.
I felt fear during the whole process of writing my book, but seeing the fruit that has come from it is humbling and I can't help but reflect on Psalm 1:1-3 and bringing forth fruit in my right season.
However, I know that this can only happen when my delight and roots remain in the Lord and not in my self-sufficiency as John 15 encourages.
Self-sufficiency weakens and debilitates.
We need something bigger than ourselves to jolt us into obedience. Something that goes beyond us, and forces sight and light into the moment of blindness.
Obedience has context, and although it may be difficult in some areas- I am able to follow through because I am anchored to something -someone bigger than myself.
So my love, today I just want to encourage you to lean into the strength of God, and He will pour His strength into you, helping you to obey.
The fruit borne will be like nothing you could have ever imagined.
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