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The Grace For Obedience

Published on

May 9, 2022

The grace for obedience is the ability to do the will of God, no matter how much your flesh struggles against it. However, more than doing what God said like a mindless robot (i.e. Pharisees), true obedience is to do it with the right heart, motives, and mindset. To better understand this, we look to Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, who showed us how to overcome our desires and submit to God’s will. See Matthew 26:36–46.

Lesson 1 — Location: Gethsemane.

Location is a great influence on obedience. We must place ourselves in locations that give an advantage to our spirits, not our flesh. When His desires were in conflict, Jesus went to a garden called Gethsemane. This garden was an olive mill; a place where olives were crushed to make oil. This is symbolic of our Lord Jesus going into to have his fleshly desires crushed so he could find the strength to do God’s will.

However, the very location Jesus sought to pray, was the same location the apostles found good for sleeping. We can get carried away by the beauty of the garden and fall asleep or we can choose to watch and pray. Beautiful gardens are places of great temptation. In our garden of Gethsemane, we will likely be faced with temptation, just as Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden.

Gardens are also places of preparation for our purpose. Adam and Eve prepared for their work and fellowship with God in the garden of Eden, so also Jesus sought out the garden of Gethsemane to prepare himself for his ultimate purpose — the cross. We ought to prepare ourselves for the tasks of our purpose by overcoming the temptation at Gethsemane. We must watch and pray for the crushing of our carnal desires so we may receive strength for the journey ahead.

Lesson 2 — Company: Peter, James, John.

Although Jesus took all the disciples with him to the garden, He especially took Peter, and James, and John, into the corner to pray. Jesus was careful who he took into Gethsemane. Those who Jesus knew would be a distraction, he separated from those he believed could help him focus on the task ahead. Take heed of your company! Remove those who hinder your fellowship with God.

Inspite of this, Jesus still went further away from his chosen disciples to pray alone. It is important to recognise the need for isolation to properly discern God’s voice and leading. Sometimes the best company is God and God alone. Prayers with our friends and families must not excuse us from secret devotions with the Holy Spirit.

Lesson 3 — Emotions.

Emotions often get the better of us when it comes to obedience. We become heavy and sorrowful, just as Jesus did. His emotional heaviness arose from the clear awareness of all the sufferings that were before him. He foresaw the betrayal of Judas, the denial of Peter, and the hatred of the Jews. He knew in a few hours he would be whipped, spit on, crowned with thorns, nailed to the cross, and face death. Yet, knowing what was to come, Jesus chose not to be discouraged, instead, He braced himself and prayed three times for grace to persist in the Father’s will.

Heavy emotions from life’s experiences such as loss and betrayal etc. can weaken our flesh but as long as our spirit is desperate to do God’s will, we won’t lose the battle. You see, knowing there’s a rocky road ahead can discourage one from climbing it. In the same way, knowing that following God’s instructions have certain “negative” consequences may sometimes discourage us from obedience. However, earthly consequences should never discourage us from godly obedience. Just as Jesus found the strength to persevere till the end, we too must gather ourselves and ask for the grace to carry on.

For the same that endure unto the end shall be saved — Matthew 24:13.

Lesson 4 — Ask For Help.

Jesus, finding himself with a heavy heart, goes to his disciples, and lets them know how he’s feeling: “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death.” For Jesus, having a friend to confide in and vent his sorrows to (other than his heavenly father), gave some ease to his troubled spirit. He is not ashamed to ask for their company and comfort: “Stay here and keep watch with me.” If Jesus, great as he is, was humble enough to ask for help in his time of need, I see no reason why we shy away from doing the same — if not because of our egos and pride.

There is nothing wrong with asking for help in the struggle for obedience. In fact, there’s nothing wrong with asking for help in the struggle with anything on this Christian walk. I cannot emphasize how important it is to realise that we do not walk the narrow path alone! Daily confide in the Holy Spirit about your struggles and ask Him to guide you to those in your circle of friends and family who can counsel and comfort you. If you’re struggling, Ask. For. Help!!!! (Matthew 7:7).

Lesson 5 — Pray.

There is no doubt prayer facilitates obedience. You’ve probably heard it said that Jesus started with prayer and ended with prayer! Prayer is the master key to obedience. In happiness or agony, Jesus prayed! When struggling with obedience, we ought to do the same. He alone can give the clarity, understanding, and strength needed to break through and move forward.

Why can’t I dress this way? Why can’t I talk to these people anymore? Why can’t I masturbate anymore? If you are struggling with obedience because you do not understand the reason for the instruction, take it to the instructor in prayer. He may not answer every why, but He will surely give you the strength you need to trust and obey every instruction.

Lesson 6 — Humbly Submit Yourself.

Who can obey the will of God without first being submitted to his authority? Jesus, knowing that he desired something different, admits this fact and forcefully submits to the Father’s will. When we pray “Not my will but thine will be done”, we submit our desires to God’s authority by exchanging our desires for His will. It is perfectly alright to inquire about our will, but it is more important to submit to (and trust in) God’s sovereign decisions.

Final Thoughts

In James 4:5–10, we see that God gives grace generously to those who humble themselves before Him. Jesus at Gethsemane was a picture of humility. He did not consider himself too big to humble himself before the father and ask for help in doing his will. Humility positions a person to receive the grace for obedience. We must have the same attitude of humble submission that Christ had. (See Philippians 2:5–11). A proud person cannot be submissive to anyone. If you can’t submit, how will you obey?

Prayer: Abba Father, I submit myself. Please give me the insight to choose my company with great care, the strength to overcome the temptation of disobedience, the wisdom to discern emotions, and the humility to ask for help. Most of all, generously empower me with grace, to faithfully obey your will, no matter the cost, at all times. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen.

Jola J. Atoki

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