Mar 27, 2013
Last week I knew God was calling me to do something. But I didn’t want to. I didn’t feel like it.
And I’m not alone.
We all have times when we don’t feel like obeying.
We know God wants us in church — but we’d rather watch the football game.
We understand we should read the Bible — but we don’t feel like it.
We realize God calls us to forgive — but we don’t want to.
So What Should We Do?
Many of us think we should go ahead and obey. Just do it. Git ‘er done.
But — ahem — there’s a problem.
It’s that God doesn’t just call us to obey. He calls us to obey in a certain way.
He calls us to obey —
- Heartily — Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men. Col 3:23
- Earnestly — Above all, keep loving one another earnestly. 1 Pet 4:8
- Joyfully — Because you did not serve the LORD with joyfulness … therefore you shall serve your enemies. Deut 28:47f
So God calls us to want to obey. To desire to obey. To gladly obey.
Why are these attitudes, feelings, and desires so important?
It’s because they show the truth about our faith.
Take whatever it is that you don’t really want to do. Maybe it’s mowing the lawn, or inviting your neighbor to your Easter service.
Now think of what God has promised about that area of obedience. He has promised —
- that His will is good and perfect (Rom 12:2)
- that He knows better than you what is best (Isa 55:9)
- that obeying Him will bring you more of His presence (John 14:21)
- that obeying Him will bring you the most blessing (John 13:17)
- that obeying Him will bring you the greatest treasure (Matt 13:44)
So — if you really trusted these promises, would it be possible to obey grudgingly, reluctantly, resentfully? Not a chance.
You’d obey heartily, earnestly, and joyfully.
Let’s say a stock broker promised that a $100 investment would bring you $100 million. If you trusted his promise, you’d write that $100 check heartily, earnestly, and joyfully.
In the same way, if we trust that God’s will is perfect, that He knows what is best, that obeying Him will bring more of His presence, the most blessing, and the greatest reward — then we will obey heartily, earnestly, and joyfully.
Which shows that if we are not obeying heartily, earnestly, and joyfully, it’s because we are not trusting God’s promises.
So what can we do?
Ask God To Change Your Heart Before You Obey
Maybe it’s something God is calling you to do tomorrow. Which means you have time to do something about this today.
In that case, here’s what I suggest —
- Get your Bible, and maybe kneel by your bed, or sit down at your desk.
- Turn to God with your unbelieving heart, trusting that through Christ you are forgiven and welcomed by God (Luke 18:13-14).
- Confess your attitude and unbelief as sin, and ask Him to forgive and cleanse you (1 John 1:9).
- Ask for the work of the Spirit to free you from unbelief, and strengthen your faith (Luke 11:13).
- Open your Bible and pray over each promise listed above (or other Scriptures you find helpful) (Gal 3:5).
- Do this until the Spirit strengthens your faith, and you feel your attitude changing (Luke 18:27).
But what if it’s something God is calling you to right now? In that case —
Ask God To Change Your Heart While You Obey
Remember that God doesn’t just want obedience. He wants obedience that’s hearty, earnest, and joyful.
So if your heart isn’t right, don’t just make yourself obey. Ask God to change your heart while you obey.
Let’s say you are driving your family to church, but you’d rather stay home and watch the football game. What can you?
Keep your eyes on the road and join in the conversation — but as you can, pray through the above steps.
Cry out to God to forgive you. Plead with Him to change your heart. Pray over His promises.
Then continue to pray as you get out of the car and walk to worship. And continue as you start to worship.
As you do this the Holy Spirit will change your heart. He will destroy your unbelief, strengthen your faith, change your desires.
In fact, He could so overwhelm you with God’s majesty that if someone later asked about the game you’d say —
Football game? What football game?
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And here are some related posts you might find helpful –
- If Faith Without Works Is Dead, What Can I Do?
- How Does The Holy Spirit Empower Obedience?
- Jesus Gives Us Reasons To Obey
- How To Obey God — Self-Pushing Or Spirit-Empowering?
(Picture is from Microsoft Publisher Clipart.)