Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast Episode 003 Obedience
Terri Hitt – Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast
Episode #003 - Obedience
Thank you for entrusting and investing your precious time with me to grow in Jesus together. I am blessed and thrilled to be back with you today to discuss more ways to live with eternal perspective.
So many topics are swirling in my mind, vying for attention, trying to be the one we are going to focus on. I don’t know whether it’s because obedience is one of my favorite themes and life goals, but I keep returning to humility, submissiveness, and respect for God. I deeply treasure how I have watched those qualities grow in my children.
My youngest daughter lived without even hearing the name of Jesus for most of her life. We adopted her when she was 9 years old, then consistently began filling her empty spiritual reservoir with love and reverence for Jesus. Seeing us live out our beliefs and hearing us speak and teach of Jesus ultimately led her to accept Him as her Savior this past summer.
My daughters, Brooklyn and Marissa truly enjoy our daily Bible studies together. I see God working in and changing each of us steadily as we continue committing part of our days to Him. One of the most rewarding parts for me is knowing that the girls don’t limit their spiritual development to one portion of the day. They understand that their relationship with Jesus is their responsibility. In order to grow and mature their walk, they must commit to the Heavenly Father individually, by making private and quiet time with God a personal priority and communication with God through prayer, an active and on-going conversation each day.
When I promised God that I would raise each of them to know, love, and honor Him, I knew it was a solemn choice and a task I was completely unable to manage on my own. This is my second time raising a family, and although I was not a bad mother the first time, I did not have the spiritual maturity I have since developed. I married my husband soon after we graduated from high school. I was 17 years old. He was 18. I was not a Christian. I loved God, but never knew the story of Jesus.
We had our first baby, a daughter, when I was 18. Our second child, a son, was born when I was 21. I accepted Christ as my Savior a few months before I turned 22. I could not have loved either of our children any more than I did, yet I was not the Christian mother I wish I had been because I did not know Jesus or have the spiritual relationship with the Lord to have done so at that time. Although I raised them to know and love the Lord to the best of the ability I had at that time, I am a different mother now. I have intentionally matured as a woman and in my walk with Christ. I receive such joy from teaching the girls about Jesus and in continuing to mentor my grown son.
By the time my husband and I knew that God was calling us to adopt in our early forties, we had a much stronger walk with Jesus and knew with a certainty that raising our child for Him would be a priority. It was such a treasure to know that God was entrusting us to begin a second family. We wanted to please Him with the spiritual choices we made and practiced. Despite a few people telling us we were too old to start another family, and that we should keep working and saving for retirement, we kept our hearts and minds focused on the Lord and His desire and directive for us. When we brought home our ten month old baby girl from China, my heart was awakened to the power of obedience despite circumstances, and the delight that follows it.
Psalm 47:1 says it best, “Clap your hands, all you nations; and shout to God with cries of joy.”
Blindly stepping out in obedience brought undiluted and absolutely precious joy. It was the first time I knew for certain that God had called me to fully trust and submit to His will with a plan I had never dreamed of. Allowing God to orchestrate a new direction and provide in absolutely every way deepened my faith and ability to understand God’s heart. My Heavenly Father began showing me the desires He had created in me. Simply hearing and trusting Him, then obeying at any cost, changed my life. It transformed each member of our family in personal ways. When God was gracious enough to ask us to adopt again ten years later, we brought home our 9 year old daughter.
Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
The words are so true.
With such pure blessing coming from obedience, what makes it so hard for Christians to obey? Is it fear? Or is it the fact that we have free will and think we will make time for what God asks later? Maybe we don’t want what God requires and think we know better? I think often we step on the fast-paced treadmill of life and allow ourselves to be pushed along, falsely pacified by the thought that we have tomorrow. We don’t recognize the blindness of our eyes and hearts, or the subtle deceit we invite into our life by placing God behind us instead of before us.
How many gifts and blessings do we miss or lose because we don’t step out in obedience? Only God knows.
How do we train ourselves to experience lives of submission that are pleasing to God? Jesus is the answer.
Although the Bible doesn’t tell us much about Jesus as a child, we do gain important insight about obedience in Luke 2. When Jesus was just 12 years old, He went to Jerusalem with His parents for the Feast of the Passover. When the family left to return home, however, Jesus stayed behind without His family knowing. It was three days before His parents returned and found Him at the temple, sitting in the midst of teachers. The Son of God was absorbed in listening to them and in asking questions of His own. All who heard Him were astounded at His answers and understanding.
Yet Jesus’ mother could not understand why her son had committed this act of disobedience against them. They had anxiously searched for Him. When Mary asked Jesus why He had done this to them, Jesus calmly asked her, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”
These words of Jesus prove that He knew His identity as the Son of God. How incredibly challenging, it must have been for Mary to raise God’s divine son! The next verse, however, clearly shows that Jesus submitted to His earthly parents when He left Jerusalem to return to Nazareth with His family. God in human flesh respected the call to yield to earthly parents, as instructed in the Ten Commandments through Exodus 20:12a. “Honor your father and mother.”
Submission takes concentrated effort, as well as love and reverence for the Heavenly Father. Jesus first made the decision to remain in Jerusalem to learn of God and to submit to His Heavenly Father, but then acknowledged that obedience to His earthly parents was imperative. Returning to Nazareth was what God required Jesus to do.
Obedience brought Jesus to earth and He remained submissive to God in every way during His years of human life. He modeled submission so that we see the importance of obedience. Every request God made of Jesus was humbly and obediently followed, even to the point of death on a cross, so that every single one of us has the ability to approach God for eternal life through Him. Jesus knew death was imminent, as well as the excruciating separation from His Heavenly Father, yet He remained faithful to obey His call.
The respect and humility Jesus exhibited for us also demonstrates how godly obedience, in God’s timing, extracts fullness of joy. When it does, it is not only for the benefit of one, but usually for many. Simple obedience leads to living life with an eternal perspective that is pleasing to God and offers a promise of blessing to those who follow Him through it, as Jesus said in Luke 11:8. ‘He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”’ Jesus possessed a heart fully yielded to God and He demonstrated how we can, too.
As believers, we experience both our flesh, and the power of Jesus, within us. It is our option to choose which one to follow. Matthew 26:41 warns, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Jesus devoted His life to studying the word of God, looking to His Father for guidance, living with a humble and submissive heart, and obeying God’s calls regardless of the outcome for Himself. He aligned Himself with God and did not suffer from distractions of a world He was only traveling through. His heart was fixed above and His hands and feet followed. He desired to do the work purposed for Him.
How do we live the same way? How do we walk like Jesus without fear?
By studying and clinging to the teachings of Jesus. Start by looking Up to the Lord and placing Him first. So often, believers are paralyzed because it is hard to step into the unknown. Fear should be a warning to us that we are looking to self. Fear does not come from God, unless it is a healthy reaction to danger. When I feel fear, I immediately step back and assess what I am doing. If the underlying belief and motivation driving my action or desire can stand against scripture without shame, and I have counseled God about what I am considering, I turn the fear into fuel that births obedience. If God has placed a thought in me that will honor or glorify Him and fear is present, I know the father of lies is attempting to keep me from following the Father of Light and Truth.
As believers, we have the power of the Holy Spirit living within us. I don’t value or believe present day quotes that challenge us to “be strong” or that “we can do it.” These are meaningless and distracting words strung together that give Satan glee each time we mutter them to ourselves or each other. Why would a believer desire to stand on our own limited ability? With Jesus within us, we have unlimited strength and power ever present. He waits for us to lean on Him, to ask Him to carry us. Through the strength and wisdom of the Holy Spirit, combined with God’s Holy word, the Bible, and the valuable access we have to God through prayer, we are armed for any battle.
Once we have accepted Jesus as our Savior and are living with the intent of growing closer to Christ, we are already taking steps of obedience. The Holy Spirit within us enables us to believe and to live for Jesus, yet we still have the choice as to whether we will yield and allow Christ to be the ruler of our heart and life each moment. As we draw nearer to Him, He draws nearer to us. Our spirit and heart are open and ready to accept our humble position at God’s feet and our heart is pliable to acknowledge the power of God and His sovereignty.
Will we submit?
As we grow in the Lord, our thoughts and actions better match the desires He created for us.
A request from God becomes a catalyst to blessing through our submissiveness. My obedience demonstrates to God that my heart trusts and desires His will.
When we view obedience through an eternal perspective, we see that humble obedience affects our life, the lives of others around us, and even the lives of strangers. In contrast, so does disobedience.
Just like ripple effects of a pebble on water, our decision to obey or disobey God can bless or cripple the spiritual walk and relationships of others. Obedience blesses; disobedience curses. Our present, as well as future is altered by our daily choices.
What will our spouse, children, grandchildren, neighbors, co-workers, family members, etc. reap from our actions? Or what will they have to contend with? In what ways have we enabled them to live a life full of blessings? Or have we set them up for a life stunted by condemnation?
Obedience can be easy. Most often, it requires sacrifice. It always demands a humble and submissive heart. It took me years of following Christ to finally absorb at a deep level that yielding to His desires brings the sweetest fruit.
The God of the Universe created me with intimate needs and desires combined with gifts He placed inside me for specific reasons that only He understands. I have discovered that as I follow where He leads, joy and peace capture my spirit. I don’t have to know where the road leads. I just have to follow His direction. Instead of looking ahead or behind, my greatest blessings are found in looking straight Up to the only One who knows where my heart truly desires to go and where He can use me for the good of His kingdom.
One of the beautiful blessings about obedience is in knowing that it looks different for every one of us. To obey Jesus means that we willingly and lovingly submit to His authority and will for our life. It means that we look forward to seeing where our life will lead and what beautiful and uniquely created desires He will draw from us. Most often, we never even knew they were in our heart because He opens our eyes and hearts to delighting in Him and loving others more than ourselves.
Thank you for listening to this episode of the Live With Eternal Perspective podcast. God has impressed so much on my heart to share. Living with an eternal perspective affects absolutely everything in my life. I am thrilled to delve into different areas with you. Since everything affects our eternity, we will have a lot to discuss! I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you found value in this podcast, please subscribe so you don’t miss an episode. I also encourage you to leave a review. In order for others to be able to find this podcast, I will need the support of listeners who will invest a few minutes in subscribing and reviewing to lift Live With Eternal Perspective higher on the charts so that the platform shows it to everyone.
Thank you again for sharing part of your day with me. Until next time, keep looking Upward and finding new ways to live with an Eternal Perspective.