I encourage you to obey God as worship of God
Desires often war within us against the idea of walking with the Lord in obedience. This is because sin works at every level, in the most seductive of ways to lure us away from faithfulness to Christ.
The Lord taught Samuel; “to obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Samuel 15:22). We can easily get caught up with doing Christian stuff out of a sense of obligation. We can even sacrifice things for God out of religious duty instead of from loving obedience, thus missing the heart of worshipful living for the Saviour.
Listen then do
Listening to God’s Word and walking in co-operative compliance is the best expression of love for Christ that you are capable of. Unfortunately though, there can be internal conflict which occurs when you mix your old unsaved behaviour with your new life in Christ. As a believer, you can avoid this conflict if you “put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24).
This takes conscious effort, a determined desire and willingness to allow Christ to change your thinking, your values, your motives, your dreams, and your desires. It’s inviting Christ to exchange the wrong or weak things that bring you pleasure for things that bring Him pleasure, things which are useful for His purposes and beneficial to others.
Prioritise by faith
Our goal as Christians is to express the character of the Lord Jesus Christ in an attitude of worship. It begins and continues when you “present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (Romans 12:1). As the desire to live worshipfully grows, so does your willingness to change the things that hinder, and slow down behavioural worship.
Both obedience and disobedience have tremendous power to alter the course of both our lives and others. Taking your eyes off others, and adjusting your focus from self to Christ is essential if victory is to be the outcome. Realise that you are not only to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,” but also that “it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12-13). Desiring to obey, wanting to change for Christ; is a sovereign work of the Almighty within you. Follow His lead! This will also allow others to witness the reality of God at work in your life.
Submissively following Jesus Christ is a sweet walk with God because “this is the love of God: that we keep his commandments. And his commandments do not weigh us down” (1 John 5:3 NET). God is not a harsh dictator, determined to beat us into submission. Jesus invitation is to “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
Today, I encourage you to consciously worship the Lord through your obedience to Him. Then you will able to say with the Psalmist; “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth” (Psalms 119:103), “Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and forevermore” (Psalms 113:2).
Together for Christ: Lincoln Forlong www.bbf.net.nz