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Vigilant Obedience

By Pastor Chad

Obedience doesn’t happen by accident. It is done by intentional, willful submission to another. We can develop habits and rhythms of life that incline and align our actions to obedience–and thus get to the point where we may be obedient without thinking–but, generally speaking, one just doesn’t stumble into conformity to the will of God. 

Disobedience, however, is–generally speaking–a thoughtless, easy process. One simply follows his or her own sinful desires. In fact, mankind does not need to be told how to sin, that comes natural to us. But we all have to learn and strive for obedience. Our innate sinful condition sets us up for failure. If we “always let our conscience be our guide,” or “follow our heart,” or “go with our gut,” we are very likely to do that which is contrary to the will of God. This doesn’t mean that we cannot discern right from wrong, we certainly can (Romans 2:14-15), but Scripture tells us that the human heart is wicked (Jeremiah 17:9), that our consciences can be seared (1 Timothy 4:2), and that our fleshly tendency is to sin (Romans 3:10-18). So when left to ourselves, we will do that which displeases God. 

Jesus indicates that there is a perpetual battle happening between our fleshly, sinful nature and the Spirit of God within all Christians (Matthew 26:41). The battle–like every battle–cannot be won with apathy, laziness, and feeblemindedness. As Jesus tells us, we must actively keep watch and maintain vigilance, for our enemy is roaming around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 4:18). He especially preys on the weak and straying. Thus, we must be guarded, alert, attentive, and actively pursuing the will of our Lord. 

If you are not intentionally seeking to maintain a close walk with the Lord, then you are straying from Him. I know that’s a hard reality. Again, our fleshly nature predisposes us toward laziness and indifference. Drawing close to God only happens with a vigilant, active willfulness seeking to be near to Him. 

Some might think such a condition is exhausting. Well, for those that think that, I have good news: We cannot and do not complete this journey on our own. We only strive and obey through the infused power given to us by God. We typically call this “power” grace. In other words, that which God has called you to, He will provide the needed grace to accomplish. That which God has commanded, He will provide the grace needed to obey. We can’t do it alone, but God can do it in and through us. 

So, how do we tap into this divinely infused power? Well, that’s the thing: For all who are called, they are already divinely supplied the grace needed. The author of Hebrews expresses as much in Hebrews 13:21. The author prays that God will “equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ…” Scripture strongly suggests that all who are called will be endowed with the grace needed to be obedient.

Watch the full sermon here.


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