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Determined To Obey

Matthew 26:39
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

My children have normal attitudes. I’ve heard my fair share of “I don’t want to” when I ask them to do a chore. I usually respond, “You don’t have to want to do it, but you do have to do it.” Lots of adults pay taxes they don’t want to pay. To be honest, I don’t really want to cook and clean. But if I don’t do it, who’s going to?

Jesus wasn’t looking forward to the crucifixion he knew was ahead of him, but he knew no one else could do his job for him. His obedience wasn’t just for him. It was for us too.

In our relationship with God, there will be things we’ll have to learn to do even if we don’t want to do it at first. Some people have a hard time praying for their enemies. Some don’t like giving away part of their income. We have to remember that if God asked us to do it, we should be determined to do it.

If we focus on the fact that it is God’s will, and God knows what he’s doing, then we can get our faith stirred up enough to go against our own will - and obey God.

You never know how someone else will be affected by our obedience to God.

Prayer Attitudes

Mark 6:45-46
Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat
and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.
After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.

Many times we pray, complaining and whining about our hardships or our needs. Or we tell God about our situation and issue direct orders about how we want Him to fix it. Other times we just beg. When we catch ourselves being distracted by our problems or by the gossip of the day, we should rethink our prayer attitude.

Jesus dismissed the crowd and prayed alone. He was intentionally listening with a desire to obey.

People wanted to kill him, but he didn’t let that distract him. He kept a great prayer attitude throughout his life on the earth.

When you get rid of distractions, you can focus on God. That’s why many people close their eyes during prayer. If we’re distracted by what’s around us while we’re praying, maybe we need to change locations.

Intentionally listening to God with a desire to obey means not allowing interruptions to steal your time with God. I know of a man who bought a house with one more bedroom than he needed. He called that room his prayer room. Occasionally, he locked himself in there, read his Bible, took notes, prayed, worshipped, and listened for God’s guidance. The prayer room was a place to block out all distractions. This was where he, like Jesus, went up on a mountainside to pray.

If we went to God alone everyday to listen for HIS plan for our day, how would that change what we do? Would we act on his plan or ours?

What Do You Expect?

Right after the 176th verse of Psalm 119, we find a small seven-verse psalm written by a man in distress. Psalm 120 begins:

“I call on the Lord in my distress, and he answers me.”

The rest of the psalm describes the frustration and anguish he lives in. But I think it’s interesting that he started out with the knowledge that God answers him.

That is why we pray. If God never answered anyone, why would we persist in our prayers? Why would we bother bending a knee?

We know God hears us and answers. Expecting God to answer affects your prayers.

What would happen if we started all our prayers with this attitude?

If You Hear God's Voice

Psalm 95:7-8
Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah,
as you did that day at Massah in the desert,
where your fathers tested and tried me,
though they had seen what I did.

At Massah and Meribah, God told Moses to show the people that even in the desert, in a desolate place, God could provide for them everything they need. The people needed water, so they complained to Moses. God told him to take his staff and strike the rock so water would flow from it. That was the first time. The second time, God told Moses to take his staff and speak to the rock to let the water flow. Moses had struck the rock the first time and it worked. He had his staff with him. He apparently thought God had forgotten that rock-striking success, so he struck the rock twice instead of speaking to it in obedience to God.

The water flowed a second time. But was Moses successful?

God was merciful and gave the water anyway, but he had a little talk with Moses in Numbers 20:12. “But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, ‘Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.’”

When God speaks, we must remember and obey every word. God is merciful, but he expects us to trust him. His way is better than our way. We may not know why we’re supposed to speak to the rock rather than strike it, but if he said “strike”, then that’s what we should do.

If you hear God today, know that he is able to do anything. Be thankful that he asked you to participate with him in whatever task he assigned. Also know that you won’t be doing it alone.

He is with you.

Listen to God

Psalm 85:8
I will listen to what God the Lord will say;
he promises peace to his people, his saints
– but let them not return to folly.

How will we receive peace with God if we refuse to listen to him?

One of the synonyms for folly is stupidity. We’ve all made stupid mistakes. Everyone knows it’s better to learn from your mistakes than to keep making the same mistakes over and over. The one who refuses to climb out of the pit of folly is living in arrogant stupidity. God wants to help all of us stay out of the pit. Don’t go back to your mistakes. Learn. Grow. Move on.

Imagine how your world will change if you wake up every morning reading the words taped to your alarm clock. “I will listen to what God the Lord will say.” As you shower and dress, if your mind and heart dwells on the fact that God Almighty wants to visit with you, then you are more aware of his presence. You live in expectancy.

Listening for God on a regular basis gives him a chance to speak. Our minds are busy scheduling our jobs, necessary errands, appointments, school meetings, and sports practices. When do we wind down and listen to God? If you need to write it on a calendar to keep an appointment with God, do it.

It’s worth it.