Tag Archives: Obedience

From “Day-by-Day By Grace” by Bob Hoekstra

Jesus, the Ultimate Example of Humility

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. (Phi_2:5-8)
In order to live daily by the grace of God, we must be willing to walk in humility. “God . . . gives grace to the humble” (1Pe_5:5). The word of God offers extensive teaching concerning a life of humility. Moreover, in all of the scriptures we will find no greater insight than that which pertains to Jesus, the ultimate example of humility.

Before He came to earth as a man, Jesus had existed throughout eternity past as deity, the eternal Son of God. “Bethlehem . . . out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2). Since He was God, claiming deity was not an inappropriate intrusion into another’s domain: “who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God.” Although He would of necessity exist endlessly as God (even during His pilgrimage as a man), He did not go about independently exercising His Godhood: “but made Himself of no reputation.” Instead of manifesting all of His innate glory, He functioned as any human slave would: “taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men.” During His earthly ministry, He Himself would emphasize His servanthood role. “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mat_20:28).

In His majestic salvation mission, Jesus, the Son of God, would voluntarily accept the path of humility. “He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” This humility involved a yielding to the Father that was so extensive He would even embrace the most abhorrent death of all, a sin-atoning crucifixion. In spiritual agony, He would pray, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Mat_26:39). This humble surrender to the Father’s will is the path that our Lord calls us to walk. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”

Dear heavenly Father, my heart is humbled as I consider the humbling You accepted in coming to this sinful planet. As God, You deserved all honor and glory. Yet, in order to please the Father and to save sinners,You were willing to become a lowly, human servant. Unlike Your example, I am easily tempted to resist humility, even though I deserve to be totally humiliated. Lord, please work in me a humble heart like You, in Your holy name, Amen.

From “Rylisms” by James Ryle

Uncovering Lost Secrets of True Success

“For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:8).

Nordstrom’s, one of the most successful retail companies in the world, hosted the top executives from J.C. Penny’s at a business luncheon held in the Nordstrom corporate offices. Penny’s, a company once at the forefront of commercial success, but whose profit margin had now been in steady decline for years, was in desperate need of some sound business advice.

During the lunch one of the execs from J.C. Penny asked his Nordstrom counterpart, “What is the secret of your company’s success?” It was an awkward moment, to say the least; for it is not always prudent to share company secrets with your potential competitors.

Nevertheless, after a slight pause and without saying a word, the Nordstrom executive got up from the table and walked out of the room. Moments later he returned with a large, old book and placed it on the table in front of his counterpart.

“This is the secret of our success,” he said. The Penney’s executive was dumbfounded when he saw that the book before him was a 100-year-old copy of the Franchise Manual for J.C. Penny’s!

Nordstrom was simply doing well what Penny’s had once done – but somewhere along the way had stopped doing. Nordstrom had found and followed the values and guidelines that Penny’s had lost.

When Joshua was divinely chosen to succeed Moses in leading the children of Israel into their Promised Land, God charged him with a single responsibility — “Study this Book of the Law continually. Meditate on it day and night so you may be sure to obey all that is written in it.” The charge was then followed by a powerful promise, which holds true even to this very day — “For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good success.”

That’s the bottom line every man and woman seeks.

There is an ancient, time-tested and time-proven manual for success in life. It is the Bible, and we can advance our lives in ways that are pleasing to God and prosperous to ourselves by following the teaching of this Book — just as others have done who have gone before us.

Why not give it a shot and see what happens?

From “The Word For You Today” by Bruce Christian

LIVING IN THE FLOW OF GOD’S BLESSINGS

When they were slaves in Egypt, the Israelites had to pump water from the Nile River to irrigate their crops and put food on the table. Can you imagine slaving every day on an old foot pump just to get by? But then things changed for the better. God told them, “Go in and take over the land…flowing with milk and honey…not like the land of Egypt…where you planted your seed and irrigated it by foot” (vv 8-10 NIV). There’s a lesson here. You can reach a place in your walk with God where you get “off the pump and into the flow”; where you stop “sweating it,” because God’s goodness flows into every area of your life. But this promise is conditional–it’s for those who obey God: “Observe therefore all the commandments I am giving you today, so that you may have the strength to go in and take over the land” (v. 8 NIV). Obedience is like having the right access code. It enables you to make withdrawals on God’s blessing because you are walking in His will. We all want to live in the flow of God’s blessing, right? Yet too few of us do. Who are these “blessed” people? (1) Those who act on God’s instructions. (2) Those who confront the giants of fear in their life. (3) Those that refuse to be swayed by the “wilderness mentality” of others. (4) Those who have the faith to say, “The Lord…will lead us into that land…[He] will give it to us…do not be afraid (Nu 14:8-9 NIV). And you can be one of those people.

From “Music For The Soul” by Alexander Maclaren

Do you have…

A CALL TO FAITH AND OBEDIENCE

If any man serve Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall also My servant be. – Joh_12:26

From the beginning Christ’s disciples did not look upon Him as a Rabbi’s disciples did, as being simply a teacher, but recognised Him as the Messias, the Son of God, the King of Israel. So that they were called upon by His commands to accept His teaching in a very special way, not merely as Rittel or Gamaliel asked their disciples to accept theirs. Do you do that? Do you take Him as your illumination about all matters of theoretical truth and of practical wisdom? Is His declaration of God your theology? Is His declaration of His own Person your creed? Do you think about His Cross as He did when He elected to be remembered in all the world by the broken body and the shed blood, which were the symbols of His reconciling death? Is His teaching, that the Son of Man comes to give His life a ransom for many, the ground of your hope? Do you follow Him in your belief, and following Him in your belief, do you accept Him as the Saviour of your soul, by His death and passion? That is the first step, to follow Him, to trust Him wholly for what He is, the Incarnate Son of God, the Sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, and therefore for yours and for mine. This is a call to faith.

It is also a call to obedience. “Follow Me! ” certainly means, ” Do as I bid you “; but that is harsh. Sedulously plant your little feet in His firm footsteps; where you see His track going across the bog, be not afraid to walk after Him, though it may seem to lead you into the deepest and the blackest of it. Follow Him, and you will be right; follow Him, and you will be blessed. Do as Christ did, or as according to the best of your judgment it seems to you that Christ would have done if He had been in your circumstances; and you will not go far wrong. “The Imitation of Christ,” which the old anonymous monk wrote his book about, is the sum of all practical Christianity. “Follow Me!” makes discipleship to be something better than intellectual acceptance of His teaching, something more than even reliance for my salvation upon His work. It makes discipleship to be, springing out of these two, the acceptance of His teaching and the consequent reliance, by faith, upon His word – to be a practical reproduction of His character and conduct in mine.

It is a call to communion. If a man follows Christ he will walk close behind Him, and near enough to Him to hear Him speak, to be “guided by His eye.” He will be separated from other people and from other things. In these four things, then – Faith, Obedience, Imitation, Communion – lies the essence of discipleship. No man is a Christian who has not in some measure all four. Have you got them?

 

Taken From F.B. Meyer’s “True Vine”

     We live in a world that has trouble with defining “Love” and knowing whether it is genuine or not.  True love for man, woman, child, neighbor, friend, or enemy lies in the foundation of obedience.  In our obedience to God we show the true depth of our ability to love.  Mark 12:30-31 says “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.   And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  There is none other commandment greater than these.”   John 15:13 says, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”  True love has always been, and will always be, found in the expression of our obedience to the laws of God, and our willingness to sacrifice on the behalf of others.  F.B. Meyer puts it this way: 

October 27

” Ye Are My Friends, if Ye Do the Things Which I Command You ”

Joh_15:14

Our Lord has said what He gave as proof of His friendship: He gave His life for us. He now tells us what our part is to be—to do the things which He commands. He gave His life to secure a place for His love in our hearts to rule us; the response His love calls us to, and empowers us for, is that we do what He commands us. As we know the dying love, we shall joyfully obey its commands. As we obey the commands, we shall know the love more fully. Christ had already said: “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love.” He counts it needful to repeat the truth again: the one proof of our faith in His love, the one way to abide in it, the one mark of being true branches is—to do the things which He commands us. He began with absolute surrender of His life for us. He can ask nothing less from us. This alone is a life in His friendship.

This truth, of the imperative necessity of obedience, doing all that Christ commands us, has not the place in our Christian teaching and living that Christ meant it to have. We have given a far higher place to privilege than to duty. We have not considered implicit obedience as a condition of true discipleship. The secret thought that it is impossible to do the things He commands us, and that therefore it cannot be expected of us, and a subtle and unconscious feeling that sinning is a necessity have frequently robbed both precepts and promises of their power. The whole relation to Christ has become clouded and lowered, the waiting on His teaching, the power to hear and obey His voice, and through obedience to enjoy His love and friendship, have been enfeebled by the terrible mistake. Do let us try to return to the true position, take Christ’s words as most literally true, and make nothing less the law of our life: “Ye are my friends, if ye do the things that I command you.” Surely our Lord asks nothing less than that we heartily and truthfully say: “Yea, Lord, what Thou dost command, that will I do.”

These commands are to be done as a proof of friendship. The power to do them rests entirely in the personal relationship to Jesus. For a friend I could do what I would not for another. The friendship of Jesus is so heavenly and wonderful, it comes to us so as the power of a divine love entering in and taking possession, the unbroken fellowship with Himself is so essential to it, that it implies and imparts a joy and a love which make the obedience a delight. The liberty to claim the friendship of Jesus, the power to enjoy it, the grace to prove it in all its blessedness—all come as we do the things He commands us.

Is not the one thing needful for us that we ask our Lord to reveal Himself to us in the dying love in which He proved Himself our friend, and then listen as He says to us: “Ye are My friends.” As we see what our Friend has done for us, and what as unspeakable blessedness it is to have Him call us friends, the doing His commands will become the natural fruit of our life in his love. We shall not fear to say: “Yea, Lord, we are Thy friends, and do what Thou dost command us.”

If ye do

. Yes, it is in doing that we are blessed, that we abide in His love, that we enjoy His friendship. “If ye do what I command you!” O my Lord, let Thy holy friendship lead me into the love of all Thy commands, and let the doing of Thy commands lead me ever deeper into Thy friendship.