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Christians, as people who have obeyed the gospel of Jesus Christ and now wear His name, understand that they must follow Him as their Master. We can hardly claim to be the “disciples” or “servants” of Christ if we don’t follow Him. But following Christ sometimes challenges our self-will. And when the Lord asks us to do things that we don’t wish to do, we may try to find some way to excuse ourselves from obedience. Faced with responsibilities that we find unwelcome, we may find ourselves setting aside the parts of God’s instructions that we find objectionable. But surely this approach will not work. If God is our Creator, than all of His will must be taken seriously. We are not at liberty to pick which parts of God’s will we wish to obey.

Jesus said, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” (Lk. 6:46). The word “lord” means “master” or “one in a position of authority.” It makes little sense to claim that Jesus is our Lord if we don’t submit to His will. And it makes little sense to say that we submit to His will if we only submit to Him when it pleases us to do so. In that case, we’re not doing His will — we’re trusting in our own understanding and doing our own will.

Noah is a good example of what real obedience means. When he was instructed to build the ark in which God would save him and his family from the flood, the command must have seemed strange to him. No such thing as the flood had ever happened before. And no doubt there were things about the design of the ark, as God commanded it to be built, that Noah would have questioned. Nevertheless, Noah carried out all of the Lord’s instructions exactly as they were given. He did so by faith, and the obedience of his faith was commended by God. “Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him” (Gen. 6:22).

We need to have the same attitude toward God that Noah had: an unqualified, no-strings-attached disposition to move at the Lord’s command, doing not only what is commanded but also all that is commanded. God is looking for those who will reverently obey His wisdom — and when obedience doesn’t come naturally or there are other things we’d rather do, that’s when we find out whether the Lord is really our Lord!

Monday: 2 Corinthians 10:3–5

Key Idea: Being a Christian means submitting all of our thinking to God’s wisdom.

Questions for Family Growth: What are the “weapons of our warfare” that Paul speaks of? What he mean when he said that these weapons are not “of the flesh”? What does it mean to “take every thought captive to obey Christ”?

Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 24:7.

Tuesday: James 2:10–12

Key Idea: We must conduct ourselves as those who are under God’s law and not above it.

Questions for Family Growth: Do we have the right to set aside any of God’s instructions because they are not agreeable to us or they don’t seem wise? What does it mean to live as those who are to be judged under “the law of liberty”?

Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 24:8,9.

Wednesday: 1 Samuel 15:1–23

Key Idea: If we disregard some of God’s instructions, then our attitude is one of rebellion.

Questions for Family Growth: Since Saul carried out most of God’s instructions, what was it about his conduct that God found so stubborn and rebellious? Is God pleased when we perform acts that are outwardly obedient but on the inside our hearts are rebellious?

Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 24:10.

Thursday: Matthew 7:21–23

Key Idea: Jesus is our “lord” only if we obey His will, in deed as well as in word.

Questions for Family Growth: According to this familiar text, who are those who will actually “enter the kingdom of heaven”? How is it possible for someone to be guilty of “lawlessness” who verbally claims that Christ is their Lord?

Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 24:11,12.

Friday: Matthew 22:34–40

Key Idea: We must love God with a love that is complete.

Questions for Family Growth: Is it possible for us to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind? What is meant by wholeheartedness and how is that different from half-heartedness? Consider 1 Kgs. 18:21. What did James say the “double-minded” person should do in Jas. 4:8?

Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 24:13,14.

Gary Henry — +

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