— A person who accepts and obeys my commandments proves that he loves me. And the person who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will also love him and show him who I am.
Brothers, on other occasions we reflect on what Jesus is: Jesus is love. We conclude together that there is a way to love, that is, there is a way to Jesus. In today’s introductory verse we have yet another important teaching from the Holy Spirit that inspired John to write the closing passage “…and I will show you who I am.”
John is exhorting us, motivating us to obey what God tells us so that we can truly know Jesus, the risen Christ. Here we can understand that it is not enough to know that Jesus exists, many people do, but to really know Jesus, it is necessary to obey the Father!
Easy, just obey what God commands. But if you’re a normal human being like me, God isn’t all the time telling you what to do or where to go like you’re a GPS of our life. So today we’ll look at some tips on How to Obey God.
Note brothers, that we are going to talk about tips and not rules, because God is not limited to rules and we cannot build a recipe for God. So may the Holy Spirit speak to each and every one of us privately.
Tip 1: Call Jesus before you need him:
1Two days later, there was a wedding in the village of Cana, in the region of Galilee, and Jesus’ mother was there. 2Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.
The bride and groom did not know that the wine would run out, so Jesus was not called for the purpose of performing a miracle. Jesus was invited to the wedding because the bride and groom wanted his presence at the feast. Jesus must be present in every moment of our lives, not just when we want to ask him for something. There are many situations that we don’t even know He is working for us. At this wedding feast, neither the groom nor the master of ceremonies went to ask Jesus for help. Someone, in this case Mary, the mother of Jesus, brought the information to Him and Jesus acted without talking to the bride and groom. It also shows us that God knows what we need without even asking, but He needs to be invited into our lives.
Tip 2: Intercede for those you feel in your heart need God’s intervention:
John 11:3, 22
3The two sisters sent word to Jesus: — Lord, your dear friend Lazarus is sick!
22But I know that, even so, God will give you whatever you ask of him.
Intercession works even for the dead. Lazarus’ sisters first warned Jesus about their brother’s illness, that is, they declared that they did not know what else to do and asked for God’s help. Finally, even after Lazarus’ death, Martha, still full of faith, goes to meet the Master and declares that she knows that God answers all of Jesus’ requests. Note that she doesn’t even dare ask for her brother’s resurrection, but rejoices to see that Jesus is present and is surprised by the miracle!
Once again brothers, notice that sometimes it is enough to call Jesus, to be in his presence, for miracles to happen! Hallelujah!
Tip 3: When you really hear God’s voice, obey what God tells you to do:
Back at the wedding, in John 2:7 Jesus commands “Fill these pots with water.” The servants did what Jesus commanded even not understanding what he wanted with it. Let’s stop questioning God’s orders.
In the case of Lazarus, in John 11:39 Jesus commands “Remove the stone!” We need to remove the barriers that keep us from seeing the miracle.
Also in the Old Testament, in Genesis 12:1 God commands Abram to “Leave your land…” Abram left home trusting in God and, thanks to that, we are here today!
Brethren, there are many ways to hear the words of God: reading the Bible or listening to preaching are common ways. But there are times when God does speak to us. And if you are blessed with this experience, simply obey.
Tip 4: Pray and believe in your prayer:
Luke 1: 13, 18
13But the angel said to him, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah, for God has heard your prayer!” Your wife is going to have a child, and you will name him John.
18Then Zechariah asked the angel, “How am I supposed to know that this is true?” I am very old, and so is my wife.
John the Baptist’s parents were a couple who worshiped God. They lived in the time of the law and followed it faithfully. In verse 13 we read that God heard Zechariah’s prayer, which means he prayed for a son. However, in verse 18, when an angel comes in answer to that prayer, Zechariah doesn’t believe it!
Thanks to God’s infinite goodness, He didn’t change the plans of giving Zechariah and Elizabeth a child, but instead placed a punishment for the unbelieving father so that he would learn his lesson! (deaf and dumb)
It seems to me that Zacharias prayed not because he believed he would be answered, but because “it cost him nothing”. Even so, God heard him! Glory to God! Let us not be like Zechariah, but if you are this kind of unbeliever, pray anyway, for our Father always listens to us. Hallelujah!
Tip 5: Trust God even if the situation looks wrong in man’s eyes:
24When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded and married Mary.
Joseph supported Mary pregnant with Jesus by the Holy Spirit. Who of us would be able to do that today? Let’s remember that at the time of Joseph and Mary there was no Bible and, even if there were “the scriptures”, no woman had ever been pregnant with God! Only by faith, brothers, can we believe that a dream with an angel is God speaking to us. That’s why we always need to strengthen our trust in God by listening and telling testimonies, situations in which we could see that God intervened. Some testimonies will seem like a lie to unbelievers, but the more we listen, the more we will get used to the mystery that with God everything is possible.
Tip 6: When you sin, acknowledge and ask for forgiveness and accept the consequences of your sin without losing trust in God:
2 Samuel 12: 13-14, 20
13Then David said, “I have sinned against God the Lord.” Nathan replied, “The Lord has forgiven your sin; you will not die. 14But because by doing this you have shown such contempt for the Lord, your child will die.
(the boy got sick, David fasted and prayed, but his son died)
20Then David got up from the ground, took a bath, combed his hair, and changed his clothes. Then he went to the house of God, the Lord, and worshiped him. When he returned to the palace, he asked for food and immediately ate what was served.
King David, the man after God’s own heart, entered an incredibly long chain of sins: he failed to fulfill his duties as a king, preferring to stay at home when he should have gone to war, he committed adultery and killed his innocent soldier. However, when his eyes were opened by the prophet Nathan, he immediately recognized his mistake. This has already pleased God, for He knows we are weak to sin.
David did even more to prove his repentance and worship the Lord: he prayed for his fasting son, and when the boy died, he washed and went to worship God even before he broke his week-long fast! Without murmuring, David was sure that God had forgiven him, but the consequence of sin is death, and David accepted that sentence.
Brethren, God’s forgiveness allows us to be in the presence of the Lord and receive eternal life, but divine forgiveness does not always free us from the consequences here on earth.
If you have sinned against someone and really repented and asked for forgiveness, God has already forgiven you (hallelujah!), but that hurting person may take longer or may not even be able to forgive you. Keep obeying God and be sure He will provide you with new opportunities.
Conclusion: Finally live prosperity for God.
The Bible brings us several stories of people like us who trusted in God and were blessed: Noah (survived the flood with his family), Abraham (father of the entire nation of Israel), Joseph (governor of Egypt), King David and even Saul of Tarsus who became Paul and, despite the situations he went through, always praised God and presented himself happy for doing the Lord’s will.
And if you have more tips on how to obey God, share them with your brothers in Christ, it will make us grow even more in trust in our Father.
Let us pray:
Lord God, once again in your presence we hear your message. Help us Father, to hear your voice even if hidden in situations that seem strange to us. May we, like your children, always be ready to follow your orders. In Jesus’ name I pray for our understanding and trust in your kindness and care. Amen!