Obey God by Using Your Brain

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Do you think that living an obedient life means putting your mind in neutral and letting God direct you wherever He wants? That’s not the way obedience works.

Today’s devotional is by Tom Holladay, teaching pastor at Saddleback Church.

“When [Joseph] heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth” (Matthew 2:22-23a NIV).

A lot of people think living an obedient life of faith means putting your mind in neutral and letting God direct you wherever he wants as if you are a robot. That’s not it at all.

The Bible says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” (Luke 10:27a NIV). You’ve got to engage your brain with God and live out the kind of life he has for you to live. 

This is what Joseph did when he obeyed God’s command to move back to Israel. Joseph heard that Herod’s son was reigning in Judea so he was afraid to go there. “Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth” (Matthew 2:22b-23a NIV).

Nazareth is where the Bible prophesied that Jesus was going to live, so Joseph was exactly in the center of God’s will. And he got there by looking at the situation — the politics, Herod’s son as ruler. He realized it wasn’t a safe place to be and engaged his mind with God to make the right decision.

So where should we get God’s command for our lives? We may not have angels showing up to guide us, but we do have hundreds and hundreds of pages of God’s Word. To live a life of obedience, we need to get to know what God has said to us.

Jesus talked about this in Matthew 7:24: “So then, anyone who hears these words of mine and obeys them is like a wise man who built his house on rock” (GNT). 

We have God’s Word to help us live out a relationship with him. It’s not a dry book of directions. It is God’s love letter to us, a Father’s letter of instruction to show us how to live the kind of life he wants to give us.

As you read God’s Word, I encourage you to pray Psalm 119:34: “Give me insight so I can do what you tell me — my whole life one long, obedient response” (MSG). 

Talk It Over

  • Why do you think God wants you to engage your mind when you obey him? 
  • What do you need to do to create space in your life to study God’s Word? 
  • How does your life reveal that you desire God’s wisdom?

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This devotional © 2017 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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