This one really just tops-off the first two. If you are really willing to do ANYTHING to see change happen in your life, and you are willing to humble yourself before God in order to do it… then this one should be the easy one. You simply follow through on what you are supposed to do by obeying what God has said in His word or though His leading in regard to that subject.
But obedience is seldom that easy – is it? Just ask any 8 year old boy who has a bazillion thoughts in his head at once and tons of energy to go along with it, and a mom who’s giving him something to do. So many things can knock you off track. Let’s list some of the more common ones…
- Distractions (something more appealing vies for the attention that needs to be placed on the obdience)
- Preferences (you’d simply rather do something else)
- Emotions (you’ve been through this before and it hurt – BAD, so you want to avoid that again if at all possible)
- Doubt (you aren’t sure that what God is saying to do is REALLY the way you should go)
- Stubborn-ness (you didn’t realize you’d have to go THAT far to really see this thing change)
- Other truly important things (family, career, finances, etc. It’s not just the frivolous things that make it hard for us to obey)
Here’s an example of how this might work out…
A husband and wife have been counseling for some time with their Pastor. It has become clear to all of them that the husband has been harsh and demeaning toward his wife for years and he’s going to need to change that behavior. The husband sees it and admits it – and does want to change (see the will and the humility in that?)
It’s also become clear that the wife needs to begin working at encouraging her husband, building him up, making him feel like he really CAN lead the family. She recognizes how she’s been lax in those areas and wants to begin making changes (again, see the will and humility?).
But there are some problems. Since he’s never treated her like she’s important or valuable to him, the wife is having a very difficult time getting around the offense and hurt that she feels toward him. She wants to do what is right, but her wounds are screaming out for her not to do this. She simply doesn’t trust him – yet. The husband’s got some similar issues – his wife has been kind of a nag, in fact she treats him just like his mother used to treat him – and in his mind, that’s plenty of reason to treat her the way he does. So he’s got his own emotional reasons for not wanting to do what he has come to realize needs to be done.
It’s at those types of places that the issue of obedience comes to the forefront. Are we going to do what God wants us to do – NO MATTER HOW DIFFICULT IT MAY BE – or are we going to effectively look Him in the eye and say, “I hear what You are saying, Lord. I even understand why it’s the right thing for me to do. But I’m not going to obey You in this – I’m just not.”
There is no getting around the fact that we are winding up in that exact place when we refuse to go where we know we should.
So there they are – will, humility, and finally obedience. When you combine the three, you will see change happening in your life that brings health, blessing, and joy. When you drop the ball on any one, you’ll see your life stall out and lose its momentum.
Having said all that – it’s God who is at work in us, to will and to do His good pleasure. Keep that in mind and ask yourself, “How can I learn better to cooperate with Him as He is doing His will in me?”