I love to hear God speak to my heart through His word. The Word of God gives us historical moments that explain what He did and who He was to others. It gives life to the knowledge so we can relate to the creator. We receive the instruction from the creator in Proverbs 3:5-8. We receive the promise from the creator in Isaiah 58:11 and then God gives us the example of his personal relationship with us, the weak human flesh that he created. God shows how his power will hold us up when we are willing to follow him as our master and only savior.
Have you made a decision to follow God as a way of life? I’m not talking about obeying once in a while but rather, complying in every area to the best of your ability. Or do you find that you sometimes struggle to do His will?
Disobedience is not always wrapped in a sinful-looking package. It can be as simple as refusing to act upon what God has gifted, trained, and called us to do. Our resistance to His plan can bring misery and regret because we have only limited insight into the future. But God has promised to provide the guidance that we need:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your body
And refreshment to your bones (Proverbs 3:5-8).
Being obedient does not mean you and I will never make mistakes or face adversity. However, when trouble comes, the way will be straight, sure, and manageable because our trust is in God. The prophet Isaiah reassured us,
The LORD will continually guide you,
And satisfy your desire in scorched places,
And give strength to your bones;
And you will be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail (Isaiah 58:11).
Notice that both passages of Scripture speak of physical health and well-being. You may be living in complete obedience and yet are battling a serious illness. That situation does not mean you’ve done something wrong. But believers who refuse to trust and obey God will feel stressed, pressured, out of control, and fearful—such emotions often contribute to health problems. And disobedience can simply be a case of not trusting Him to guide your decisions concerning family, community, or job.
Obedience Is a Choice
I doubt that many of us adequately consider the impact our decisions can have on the future. Often believers make choices based on what makes sense. For example, the interest rates are low; therefore, it must be the right time to purchase a house. However, no matter how the circumstances look, our decisions must always be directed by the Lord.
In Luke 5, Peter was faced with a life-changing choice that, at first, appeared insignificant. Jesus had been preaching along the shore of the Lake of Genesert (also known as the Sea of Galilee). With His back to the water and the crowd pressing in on Him, Jesus had no place to go (v. 1). When the Lord climbed aboard Peter’s boat and asked the fisherman to move it off shore a little distance, the future apostle agreed. That was Peter’s first step toward obedience. You see, unlike salvation, obedience is not a gift but a process—something we learn over time.
After Jesus finished preaching, He had another request: “‘Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.’ [Peter] answered and said, ‘Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets’” (vv. 4-5). Going back out to fish during the heat of the morning didn’t seem wise to Peter. Every fisherman knew that the fish stayed on the bottom of the lake during the day.
People sometimes sense God’s leading but fail to see the logic in what He’s telling them. Such individuals have told me, “I just don’t know whether God wants me to do this. It simply doesn’t make sense.” You must trust the Lord—not overanalyze the situation to determine what you might gain or lose. As we hear His voice and submit to His leading, we build our faith and develop greater confidence in Him. Calculating, questioning, and doubting will not build the faith that He wants you to have.
Peter chose to obey Jesus’ unusual request to fish during the day. His catch was so successful that the nets began to break, and John and the others had to come help. The only words Peter could utter to the Savior were: “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” as “amazement had seized him and all his companions because of the catch of fish which they had taken” (vv. 8-9). Here is one truth on which you can stake your life: If Jesus asks you to do something, you know without a doubt that a blessing will follow—not only for you, but often for others as well.
The outcome of Peter’s faith was a new line of work—one that had an eternal purpose. Jesus said to him, “Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men” (v. 10). What is God’s will for you? Only His plan guarantees you maximum joy, peace, and purpose. The way He operated in Peter’s life is the same way He will operate in yours—step by step, guiding you in the process of obedience. This is an awesome way to live the rest of your life—in the shadow of the Father’s constant care, in the light of His truth and eternal glory!
Adapted from “In Step with God” (2008).