When All Else Fails…

by Andy Wood on September 15, 2012

in Esteem, Five LV Laws, Following Your Passion, Life Currency, LV Cycle, Principle of Increase, Turning Points

When I was studying for my doctorate, I was required in one class to write a literature review.  I had never done that before, but we had a guidebook for writing lit reviews as one of our textbooks for this particular course.

I’m not sure what inspired me, or even where I got the idea.  It was a bit outside my standard operating procedure.  But I did it anyway:  I opened the book and followed the instructions.

Step by-step.

No creative re-engineering.

No rethinking, reinventing, or re-anything.

My professor, who was Regent’s answer to Simon Cowell, raved.  Talked about how refreshing it was to read my review after enduring a string of mediocre-to-bad papers.

While his feedback was amazing, what was more amazing was that all I had done was follow the instructions.

Before “Computers for Dummies”

Twenty-two PCs ago, when the personal computer was a novelty and scary-intimidating, a computer science instructor and friend of mine told me how easy it was to learn to use one.  “Go buy a Kaypro 2x,” he said.  “They come with all the software you need, and step-by-step instructions that start with, ‘First, turn the computer on.’  It’s really that simple.”

(In the same conversation, circa 1984, he also said, “What would anybody ever need more than 64k of RAM for?”  If you have no idea what that means, just laugh and pretend you do.)

I got the fever, bought my first PC-that-wasn’t-a-PC that weekend.  Sure enough, it came with instructions.  I followed them, and the rest is history.

Obedience and Honor

The same principle holds true in our spiritual lives.  When it comes to a lifestyle of worship, your highest ovation – the simplest, clearest expression of honor to the Lord Jesus – is obedience.

Is it any wonder that when God invaded history in the coming of Jesus, He chose the home and marriage of two people who understood that?  It was Mary who said, “behold the bondslave of the Lord.  Let it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:37). And three times Joseph was told by an angel to take action because the life and growth of their baby depended on it.  Three times, Joseph did what he was told.

What greater honor could he offer?  What other of expression mattered without obedience?

Jesus Himself filled up His ministry with teaching about the importance of, and promises for, obedience.

  • Those who do the will of His Father are His true family (Matthew 12:50).
  • Obedience is the proof of His Lordship in our lives (Luke 6:46).
  • Following His voice is evidence that He is our shepherd, and we His sheep (John 10:27).
  • Keeping His commandments is the evidence of loving Him (John 14:15).
  • Keeping His commandments is the evidence of friendship with Christ (John 15:14).
  • Having His commandments and keeping them are the gateway to loving, discovering, and being in communion with Christ (John 14:21).
  • Keeping His commandments enables us to remain in His love (John 15:10).
  • Those who keep and teach God’s commandments are the greatest in the Kingdom (Matthew 5:21).
  • Those who hear the word and receive it produce spiritual fruit (Mark 4:20).
  • Obedience serves as a solid foundation against the storms of life (Luke 6:47-48).
  • Those who hear the word of God and do it enjoy the deepest kind of happiness (Luke 11:28).
  • Those who keep His word will never see death (John 8:51).

I Wish I Could Say…

…that I always followed the instructions that simply and clearly.  But something about practice, or experience, or “maturity,” or pride easily cons me into believing there are shortcuts.  Or that somehow I’m immune.  Or (God forbid, but true) smarter than something so simple.

What an arrogant expression of dishonor… to presume that obedience to the Lord of Lords is somehow reserved for other people.

On the other hand, every time you delight to do His will, every time you let go of your own conflicting desires, every time you make changes for no other reason than He asks you to, you are doing far more than keeping a checklist.

You are declaring with your life that He is worthy.

And your obedience… is His applause.

You can sing, dance, clap and shout to your heart’s content.  All of those and more are legit.  But when all else fails (and eventually all else will)… follow the instructions.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Martha Orlando September 15, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Yes! He has given us all the instructions we need to truly live a life of obedience to His will. Thanks for another marvelous post, Andy. It’s now getting posted to Facebook. 🙂
Martha Orlando´s last blog post .."Let us Pray, Let us Pray, Everywhere and Every Way . . ."

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