You may remember the Saturday afternoon show, “Wide World of Sports," with Jim Mckay announcing. Do you remember the initial footage clips of the incredible wipeouts? Sometimes those “agony of defeat” moments were far more vivid than the “thrill of victory” shots. Most of us have known the “agony of defeat." We know what it is like to face the wall and fall down. And yes, there are many lessons to be learned in life from failure. But, I wonder if we don’t miss the boat sometimes on what we can learn from success..
Spiritually speaking, I’d like to draw a parallel. Are there lessons that we can learn from obedience? Most of us know what its like to disobey God, take a long detour and then come back to find our lives in a shamble. We’re a little like “Crocodile Dundee” who described his first marriage that failed. Upon pressed, he explained that he had taken a “walkabout” and when he came home, his wife wasn’t there. When asked how long he had been gone, he replied, 13 months!
Victory is a byproduct of obedience. When we submit to the design manual for our lives, we experience success in our living for God. We become more like Him, and our character is more like Him. And our obedience to Him demonstrates our humility and faith. This is a theme that resonates throughout the New Testament.
Training for Godliness is our Challenge
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever“ (I Corinthians 9:24-25).
Jonathon Edwards wrote in his diary, “Resolved never to do anything that I would be afraid to do in the last hour of my life." Let me use this paradigm. In so doing, I’ll going to lift up:
10 Benefits of Obeying God
1) I have renewed strength
“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:30-31)
The promise of God is that He will renew the energy and strength of those who follow Him. His encouragement and strength will be sufficient for us.
2) I have peace of mind and soul
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace" (Colossians 3:15).
The Bible promises that if our lives are in alignment with God, that we will have peace of mind. What kind of price tag would you put on that?
I heard a story the other day of two boys going to school, and they were talking about their families. One boy said he had figured out a system for getting along with mom. The other one was interested, so he asked his friend to explain.The little boy then said, "It's very simple. She tells me what to do, and I do it." (John Maxwell, "What Children Owe Their Parents-and Themselves," Preaching Today, Tape No. 140.)
3) I have a sense of direction in life
“in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:6)
Obeying God is like finding “True North." Some of you have been worried about the GPS satellite system which had to be reset. Navigational instruments dependent on that system had to “hold their breath” as the software was reset to “0”. Your system never has to be reset when you are obeying God. He becomes your point of focus and your direction in life.
4) I have character that is more like Christ
“We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ”(Colossians 1:28).
Your obedience to God today determines what you'll be for God tomorrow.
I’m a sucker for the patriotric, for the challenging, and for the character building. I just got to finish an autobiography by a guy named Richard “Little Bear” Wheeler. The subtitle was “Adventures of a retarded gopher skinner”! That book told the story of his growth and development. How God grabbed hold of him and, over time, he became more and more like Christ. That’s what I want my story to be. The Bible says that when we are in the presence of Christ, we will be like Him. Our aim now, then, is to live life in such a way that when we do pass from this life to the next, there has to be as little change as possible.
5) I have a transformed mind
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).
We need to think different to be different. This is one of those dimensions that is “synergistic”. The more we obey Christ, the more our thinking changes. The more our thinking changes, the more we obey Christ.
"Obedience leads to faith. Live faithfully by the little bit of light you now have, and you will be given more."
(Louis Cassels (1922-1974), Story of Young Man Learning Obedience)