Often sermons on obedience focus on backsliding or significant falls from grace. However, in this sermon by Charles Stanley, obedience is defined in the every day nature of choices to trust God or not. Dr. Stanley’s preaching notes state that in decisions we make every day in every circumstance, we can either obey God and trust Him in the good and bad circumstances, or we can rely on ourselves. The act of trusting Him is a simple and recurring act of obedience, even in the most minor decisions of life. Be inspired by this sermon on obedience that will challenge believers in any stage of life.
Have you ever made a decision to obey God as a way of life? I’m not talking about obeying once in a while but in every area to the best of your knowledge and ability. Or do you find that there are times when you struggle to do what you know is right and in keeping with His principles? There may be times when it is easy to discern between what is right and in keeping with God’s will and what is wrong and not a part of His plan. In fact, you may actually obey Him at crucial junctures because you want His best. Other times, you may feel as if you are being pulled aside by disobedience simply because you did not do your homework in prayer and the study of God’s Word.
Solomon admonished us to “catch the foxes.” He went on to explain that it is the “little foxes that are ruining the vineyards” (Song of Solomon 2:15). Often the smaller decisions bring about the biggest consequences. A decision to tell a little white lie is very costly because it leads to sin and usually the next step, which is deception. The enemy is very keen. He knows better than to tempt a seasoned believer to flat out disobey God. Obvious sin always draws a response. Friends and family members usually speak up when you are involved in something that leads to shame, failure and a damaged testimony. You may falsely believe that something perceived as being insignificant is much easier to disguise. It may be for a season, but at some point God pulls the covers back, and the truth is revealed about what you have done.
Too many people reach the point of being shattered, broken, hurting, lonely and discouraged before they seek God’s help. A Christian counselor who works with corporate executives once told me that if he can be brought into a conflict before it escalates to a serious level, he usually can show people how to solve the problem. But this rarely happens because most of us are very reserved and will not freely expose what we are feeling and thinking until much later. By then the conflict is threatening to spiral out of control. Jesus knows our hearts, and He makes it clear from page one of His Word that obedience to Him should be our central focus. Adam and Eve disobeyed God and suffered the loss of everything they knew as right and good.
However, just as you can track disobedience down through the generations, you also can trace the benefits of obedience. God provides a perfect contrast between the two in His Word:
“If you diligently obey the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country. … But it shall come about, if you do not obey the Lord your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you. Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the country” (Deuteronomy 28:1-3, Deuteronomy 28:15-16).
The only similarity between obedience and disobedience is that they reflect the type of lifestyle we have. If we have sincerely committed our lives to God, then we are going to obey Him; we are going to trust Him and leave all the consequences to Him. In times of disobedience, we lean on our own desires for direction. We vacillate back and forth between what we want to do and what we know is right.