The self-will of mankind has caused us much suffering and loss. We like to plan our course and then move forward without asking God if our plan is His plan and desire for us. Why do we leave the Lord out of our decision-making process?
The Bible assures us that God has plans to prosper us, not harm. We view discomfort as a bad thing but really, adversity builds character and refines our nature. Sometimes we need to feel pain before we can find healing. God wants to give us hope and a future.
“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.’” Jeremiah 29:11-12 (NIV)
Obedience is very important to God. From the very beginning, it was His plan to sacrifice His son, Jesus, for the redemption of mankind. God is omniscient. He knew Adam and Eve would fall in their disobedience and that sin would enter the world. He gave them free will and they fell, losing their paradise.
But God wants fellowship with us. He loves us, even while dressed in our filthy rags of sin! Since God is perfect, He is unwilling to abide with us in our rebellious and sinful state. Therefore, Jesus was given as a final sacrifice to restored our relationship as the children of the Most High. Only because Jesus was obedient to His Father’s will are we once again renewed and promised eternal life. Jesus was not partially obedient and He did not put off or delay His obedience.
Although Jesus did not hesitate to fulfill God’s will, He did ask (Matt 26:39) Him a question, three times. “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.” Jesus wanted to know if there was another way to reunite mankind with their Creator. It is okay to ask God questions.
God answered His Son’s prayer with silence. He heard the prayer but He did reply, “Wait, Son! I have a different plan. You do not have to die on the cross in order to atone for the sins of mankind.” God’s answer was a resounding, “No, proceed as planned.”
We would have no future or hope if Jesus had disobeyed God’s will.
Half, or partial obedience, is still disobedience. We sin when we pick or choose parts of God’s instruction to us. We sin because we overrule God’s plan, thinking we know best. We challenge His authority and wisdom when we rebelliously fall for partial obedience.
Consider the story of Abram. Genesis 11:31 says Abram and his family were to move from Ur of the Chaldeans to Canaan. They started out for Canaan, but stopped at a place called Haran and remained there for probably five years. Haran was the halfway point between Ur and Canaan. Many believers only go halfway in their obedience. They settle for a “This is good enough” attitude. They grow weary and do not want to suffer the discomfort of continuing on to their promised land. The blessing Abram was promised was not in Haran.
If God instructs us to go somewhere, do something, or stay still… He means it. Going in the correct direction but only going halfway to the destination is disobedience. Doing a task partially is disobedience. Moving a few steps forward when God has instructed us to remain still is disobedience. When we walk by faith we will walk in obedience.
“Now if you obey Me fully and keep My covenant, then out of all nations you will be My treasured possession. Although the whole earth is Mine.” Exodus 19:5 (NIV)
“He replied, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.’”
Luke 11:28 (NIV)
“A whole lot of what we call struggling is simply delayed obedience.”
~ Elisabeth Elliot