Ever want to take a vacation from obedience? Sure you have. So have I. Maybe it was just for a moment or a day or maybe it was for a season. Yet the Holy Spirit never takes a vacation in our hearts, does he? When we feel like taking a vacation from obedience…even for a moment…we’ll never be happy, content, or fulfilled…as long as the Holy Spirit lives in us. If we can stray from obedience and not be miserable, then we are in trouble at the heart of our relationship with God. If we claim a relationship with Christ but can contiually live in disobedience without misery, then maybe we don’t have a relationship with Him at all. As Henry Blackaby says, “If you have an obedience problem, you have a love problem.”
Maybe you are like some people who take a vacation from obedience…while on vacation. It’s like some people say, “Hey, I’m on vacation! I can do anything I want. I’m just relaxing and letting my hair down a bit. It’s okay God understands.” Or they say, “I don’t have to do that now because I’m on vacation.” What does that look like?
- we stop reading our Bible and praying…challenging when we aren’t in a regular routine
- we decide NOT to give our tithes. We spend it on ourselves or we just think that if I’m not at church, I don’t have to give
- we decide to do things we wouldn’t want others to see…we go back to old habits (drinking, etc.) that we might not do at home. But hey, we’re on vacation supposed to be relaxing right? We might even indulge in sexual immorality (porn, clubs, or worse…) that we would never do at home.
We should realize that obedience is not an obligation, it’s a joy! It is a response to a love relationship that God pursues in me. “Obedience is the outward expression of your love for God.” (Blackaby) I want to be obedient to God because of what He did for me! My obedience comes out of love. Jesus said,
“If you love me, you will obey what I command… He who does not love me will not obey my teaching” (John 14:15, 24)
Isn’t that just like Jesus to cut straight to the heart of the matter? Wow! Have you ever thought about when you are disobedient in any seemingly small way, you are saying to Jesus, “I don’t love you, so I’m refusing to obey your teaching.” God will enable you to be obedient, if you will ask Him.
Are you being obedient with your time this summer? Have you decided to “take a vacation” from church? Maybe you are committed to serving in your church in some area, but it is just easier to plan to sleep in on Sunday or take off to the lake each week. They’ll find someone to fill in anyway, right? It’s kinda like saying to God, “when I don’t have anything better to do, I’ll gather with other believers to worship you and learn from you.” Don’t miss out on the privilege of gathering with the church to worship and serve…and bringing someone with you who needs to hear the hope of Jesus.
Maybe you made a commitment to read God’s Word and spend quiet time with the Lord each day in prayer. However, it’s easier to just sleep in and not take that time. (I know this is an area that the enemy attacks me with). This can be especially tough for students or parents of kids in school, because you can get out of a routine. Yet the summer vacation time can be a time of exceptional time in God’s word and in prayer. You actually have time to spend MORE time with Him! Take advantage of it! Students, when you are bored…as I hear often on facebook…open the living and active Word of God and see what He might have to say to you! What a privilege that is!
Probably another big area for many people is obedience in our giving. We tend to think that if we aren’t at church on a particular Sunday, we don’t have to give. Most people are not tithers anyway, they are what I call tippers. They put a tip for God in the offering on Sunday, so they think if they aren’t there, they don’t need to leave a tip. After all, if I don’t eat at a restaurant, I don’t leave a tip do I? However, God’s word commands us to trust God by tithing…giving back to Him the first 10% of our increase as a firstfruits offering (Deut. 26). He commands us to bring the tithe into the storehouse (local church body) as an act of faith and trust in His provision and blessing (Malachi 3:8-10). Jesus confirmed the tithe in Matthew 23:23 and Luke 11:42. If you are away from your church, don’t choose not to give. Don’t choose to “rob God” by spending what you would be giving on yourself because you “need” the funds for vacation. Most churches now have online giving available. OR you can simply set up your auto bill pay to to so. Or if you are like me, you can give manually through your online bill pay at your bank. If you are a Ridger, you can set up and give online here.
Whatever way makes it easy, don’t take a vacation from the blessings God has for you by taking a vacation from obedience through giving…even when you aren’t at church on a particular Sunday. Also, make a commitment to God that you will begin to be obedient to tithe as His word commands. Trust God to provide. He will! Put Him to the test…God said to do that, not me (Malachi 3:10)…see if He doesn’t bless you beyond what you can believe.
Stay obedient in areas of character and morality too. Be a testimony of God’s grace wherever you are, to whomever you come in contact. We all need to remember that God can see us wherever we are…duh! 🙂
Remember, obedience brings benefits:
…Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you, that it may go well with you. Jeremiah 7:23
Our obedience should never take a vacation…for a moment, for a season…in any area of our lives. Consider praying this Psalm as your commitment to obedience:
Teach me, O LORD, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end. Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart.
Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. – Psalm 119:33-35