In my past, I have had more than a few seasons that I was stuck in a rut. I just kept on and kept on cycling through the same old muck and mire without ever figuring out that I could ACTUALLY get out of it.
I would say things like – “only if I would” —(fill in the blank, here)— OR “only if I could” —(fill in the blank, here)—
These things have been brought to my remembrance. They have brought with them further insight and enlightenment to my heart. Which, of course, makes me curious to know if this month has been enlightening for you, as well!
TESTING… TESTING… FOR OBEDIENCE
Have you ever found yourself in a season of devoted Obedience and SUDDENLY you are being blasted with immediate realizations that you are being tested in OLD muck and mire ruts?!?!?!? Blast after blast comes of testing to make sure that those old areas and old ways are gone and unrooted completely. It is as if you are being checked on to see if these renewed areas are real. Maybe they are just a facade, fancy-schmancy masks hiding the reality of the old roots that still exist and continue to grow, pleasantly comfortable to stay just where they are.
Yet, if you are praying for the testing to come and the renewing and transformation to empty you of the you of old ways of the flesh and world, then this is to be understood. Yes, if you are petitioning the Father to empty you so that you may be filled, overflowingly, with God’s newness… then, of course, this testing should not come as a surprise. I pray in such a way as this, personally. Firmly establishing His newness in every aspect of my walk is my heart’s desire.
Do you hold this same desire to please the Father in all your ways, too?
THINGS TO KNOW & DWELL ON IN THE TESTING
- God is a Refining God
- God is a Purifying God
- God will Sharpen you
- God will Transform you
- God Renews your mind
- God Replaces the old with the Newness of Him
- God’s ways are higher than your ways
- God’s thoughts are higher than your thoughts
- God will make you Wait
- God is a Preparing God
- God is a God of order, but this is following His order – not yours
- (this list is extensive so we will stop here)
JOURNALING PROMPT & KEY VERSE
- How often have you been tested this month?
- What are some things that you have noticed being repeated or pointed out to you by others? Whether it is in your choices of behavior, speech, or thought that you recognize within yourself, list them here.
- Have you sought God in prayer in a Psalm 139:23-24 manner concerning question 1 & 2?
- On a scale of 1-10 (1 being the least) How often do you obey the command, seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, as found in Matthew 6:33, in all your ways?
- List a few supporting scriptures for James 1:22 here.
There are so very many bible verses on Obedience and seeking God and following HIs commandments. But, where, oh where shall we begin?!
Is it in the first letter to the church at Corinth? What about James’ writings? We cannot forget the many, many, many references throughout Proverbs, Psalms, Deuteronomy, and other Old Testament writings, now can we?! Oooooh! And John’s writings…what about John’s “inspired by God” spiritual wisdom and revelation on this subject?!
As in all things, dear heart…
It is not necessarily WHERE we start – but THAT we start. Better Yet, Not that we simply start, then stop, no indeed! May it never be the case in our walk with God! So then, let it be said that We not only Start, but that we START & CONTINUE through until the END!
And therein you have the Biblical application of Obedience for this reflection: Follow-through.
OBEDIENCE = FOLLOW-THROUGH
James has won this one! Yes, indeed! The well-renowned passage is echoing through every letter I write. “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” We are called to do as Jesus, the Son of God, would do and demonstrated to us through His walk on this earth. We are called to be set apart from the world and its ways. We are called to be imitators of Jesus Christ. Let us be renewed in everything that we do as we do all unto the Lord for His glory alone! Let us be a mirror of reflection and follow-through in devoted Obedience of His commandments – focusing our eyes upon Jesus, emulating His speech, His thoughts, His walk. Yes, let us seek Him, first, in everything that we do and in every way that we are. May it be done in a spirit of excellence, reflective of His righteousness in all things, to ensure that we are letting His light shine out brightly for all the world to see and glorify our Father in heaven! May we dare not create a stumbling block of any kind to our brothers and sisters in the faith.
CLOSING PRAYER OF INTERCESSION
Father, I thank You that You are sending divine appointments across the path of the hearts that read this. I praise Your name for the great works you are doing in the background of the situations in their lives! I thank You that You are hearing every word that they breath Your direction and that You are, even now, bending an ear to this intercession on their behalf, Dad. They need to know You see their obedience and submission. They desire to be strengthened in obedience unto You and Your commandments. Enlighten the eyes of every heart that reads this, Father, and bring to them a fresh revelation of the wisdom and knowledge of You and the great love You hold for each of them! Send to each of these precious-in-Your-sight hearts, Father – through numerous mediums and ways – confirmation of this truth! Let them know that You hear their prayers and are answering them in accordance to Your will. Encourage each heart through bringing new revelations through the help of the Holy Spirit as they study Your word this week. Strengthen each heart in their inner being, Father. Teach them Your ways, direct their path as You have promised – show them the way to walk in by whispering in the Spirit within them, “This is the way, walk in it”. Demonstrate through others in their lives what it looks like in action to truly… “Consider I-T… A-L-L … Joy”, Abba and acknowledge You in all their ways! A heart seeking after You desires to be perfected and be pleasing in all ways, God. Teach them, each, what that looks like in action during the seasons of Obedience training You call them to. Let it all be to Your glory, Father. The waiting, the training, the enduring, the faith-building, the work, the submission, the Obedience – all of it – May Your name be Praised through all that You do in and through my brothers and sisters in Christ that are reading this. Let every heart that is within the “sound of my voice” or keys/words in this instance, be covered by this prayer, Father. In the Name of Jesus Christ, I intercede and praise Your name for Your provision in all these things brought before You and placed at the foot of Your Throne. I accept it! I declare that a deeper newness is coming to wash over each heart that reads this! I receive it! I give my Amen in full agreement of Your will being done in and through this. Amen.
MY FINAL NOTE OF REFLECTION
Obedient is something that we are called to be in the very same moment we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord. Yes, grace is gifted to us the moment we accept Him as our Savior. Yes, Indeed! That Lordship part has much to be spoken on, though, brothers and sisters! More times than not, it is a subject sifted under the rug like meaningless dust and clutter to be hidden. Not Today, though! We are talking about! Yes, indeed! We are not tossing it to the side and acting as if we are free to do whatever we want and continue going against the Word of God in our ways! Not here in this moment. Not really ever will Obedience be in my future a thing to take lightly. Reverent Obedience comes into your walk when an implanted understanding exists within your heart of how God’s Love interacts within the bounds of the Fear of the Lord. It is such a thing as this to seek after, fervently! Obedience is not the easy path. It is a pursuit of only Him path! It takes grit and fortitude. It takes steps of faith into the unknown – out into the DEEP that God calls you to walk in beside Him. It takes holding onto that Faith and Remaining Obedient to all His commandments in all our ways…
- Even IF_______ the unthinkable happens!!!
- Even IF_______ is lost!
- Even IF_______ notices or doesn’t notice!
- Even IF NOTHING is going right and EVERTHING is going wrong and EVERYONE is against you and ALL hope seems to be disappearing before your very eyes like Houdini!
When God calls you to new levels, it will require Obedience. Be prepared by practicing the things you have been taught in the Word of God by the Lord. Each step counts because it brings you closer to Him, increasing your faith and trust, every time! He loves you so very much and is a rewarder of those who seek Him with their whole heart. For He promises you will, indeed, find Him when you do! You just will.
Did you enjoy the Reflection, “Obedient, Even If…”? You are invited to Dive Deeper in further reflection of the Word of God for the next 7 days to study the full chapter of James 1! Are you ready? Scripture, my notes to get you started, and journaling reflection questions have been provided below. God bless you and yours as you go through your days!
TESTING YOUR FAITH
KEY VERSE(S): James 1:1
James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings.
NOTE: Notice how James introduces himself as a “Bond-Servant”.
REFLECTION QUESTION(S): What does this title have to do with Obedience?
KEY VERSE(S): James 1:2-4
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
NOTE: In Obedience training, there will be trials – but be reassured, dear heart, that there is a bountiful fruit from the laborious endeavors through these trenches of training.
REFLECTION QUESTION(S): Have there been certain areas that you have resisted and chosen to “Dis & Dismiss” by being Dis-obedient to the testing of your faith and, in turn, blocked endurance and the perfect result it ends in?
KEY VERSE(S): James 1:5-8
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
NOTE: Doubting has a tendency to ruin everything! It’s sole intent is to cause chaos and demise to any parts of your foundation that it is allowed near. No good thing comes from doubt being entertained in your thought life. No good thing. Instability does, indeed, come to the mind that entertains it!
REFLECTION QUESTION(S): In what way/ways have you entertained doubt this week? How many examples can you come up with of how doubt impacts your commitment to be Obedient to the Lord?
But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position; and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away.
NOTE: Priorities. We all have priorities, don’t we? The question is where/what/who/when and how are these Priorities of ours assigned, right?! So many things are temporal. Things of this world that sway you and take your focus away from God’s priorities, precepts, and commandments – those, too, will all pass away… just like the flowering grass – those are destroyed. Yet, He remains. His love endures forever. His Word is the everlasting truth.
REFLECTION QUESTION(S): What areas have you been Obedient in this week? What areas have you had other priorities rise above your Obedience to the Word of God in the way you think, speak, act, & behave?
Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.
NOTE: AH! The Crown of Life! What an End Goal! What an Achievement! What a great reward to aspire to obtain – Such glory to be found! Yet, WHAT A HUGE LIST OF WARNINGS THAT FOLLOW in this passage!?!?!? ‘Don’t blame your temptations on God, don’t be carried away by your flesh, enticed by your own lust. Giving into lust ends in committing sins… when sin continues to be walked in and chosen – Death is the finale that awaits!’ Not the Crown of Life… but Death! And another warning – “Do not be deceived” be aware and on alert – Know the truth. God is the Father of lights, not a shifting shadow or variation of what appears to be His truth and light. Fakes are fake. Always have been. Always will be. And fake won’t ever be as good as the original. Trust me on this one. Obedience is simple – follow Him, focus on Him – He will make your path straight. He just does.
REFLECTION QUESTION(S): Is there anything that you chose to use Deception in this week? What about Lust – have you lusted after anything of this world this week? What daily things, events, people, hobbies, activities, thoughts, words to use, actions to take – do you find it difficult to say NO to, in LIGHT of the Word of God? How many times do you seek the Bible concerning what God says about those? Have you prayed for God’s Light to remove any self-deception you may be walking in concerning these matters?
This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.
NOTE: Quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger… these are words to live by. This was me this week… Very slow to speak, mainly because I was on high alert of my circumstances. Quick to hear was more observance-mode for me in those moments. And the only thing close to anger was the demanding I chose to direct toward the enemy! It was in a “Get Thee Behind me satan, Flee from me in the Name of Jesus Christ” kind of stern commanding usage. Nothing in the flesh. Just a divine inspiration in claiming the God-given authority as a co-heir of Jesus Christ and adopted daughter of God! “How can you do that?” you ask… Well, because I have “received that Word implanted” just as James writes about and I know “it is able to save my soul” from old fleshly ways of muck and mire that the enemy tempts me with. That’s how I do that! For we are called to not merely HEAR but DO the word of God. ACT ON IT in Faith and Obedience, in full submission to the Lord. Walk it out. Receive it to heart, for it is Truth! Abide by it and become the effectual doer you are called to be!
REFLECTION QUESTION(S): How many opportunities have you had this week to walk in Obedience to His Word? How many times did you actually Choose to Submit and Obey?
If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
NOTE: The tongue is a fire that destroys! A ship, though large, is directed by such a small thing as a rudder. I encourage you to think about it like this. You are a ship in a sea that can either sail a straight path, directly to your destination… or… you can sail a crooked path, directly into smashing rocks that break apart your entire ship. The choice is yours. The direction you sail will be determined by the movement of the rudder. Such is the tongue. You have the fullness of the fruit of the Spirit working in and through you when you are choosing to walk in Obedience and submission to His will in your life. See Galatians 5 for the fullness of the entire fruit and read Paul’s teaching on Following the Spirit. So then, we are 100% capable in Him to operate in self-control, gentleness, love, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, patience, peace, and joy when it comes to our tongue. We just can, when we are intimately walking with the Lord in the Spirit. We commit our ways unto the Lord and Obediently follow His ways, not ours. His newness, not our oldness. If the words we speak do not please the Father, but instead grieve the Holy Spirit within us, we are going to hit rocks. If the words we speak do not encourage, edify, and strengthen the hearer of those words in the Word of God – we are speaking death, not life. We just are. There is no gray area. God is God. God is Truth. God is Light and there is no darkness in Him. There just isn’t. I encourage you to seek His guidance on this passage and dwell on this truth, today.
REFLECTION QUESTION(S): How often have you used words that would hurt someone else this last week? There is either light or dark, death or life – are you choosing your words wisely in Him? Does the wisdom you use to choose your words come from above or is it earthly wisdom? On a scale of 1-10 (1 being the least), how slow to speak are you? Have you asked God to search your heart and evaluate your ways, lately.. asking Him to see if there be any hurtful way in you and lead you in His everlasting way, instead?