By David Stahl

Obedience is found in denying self’s will.  This was so for Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. He (Jesus) became obedient.  He (Jesus) humbled Himself.  He (Jesus) became a servant.  He laid aside His own will.  Thus, we must suffer death to self before we can take up our cross and follow this wonderful man and savior from Galilee.  Jesus said. “And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”  (Matthew 26:39)  Here the work of salvation was settled in the heart of Jesus so now He could go to the cross  on Calvary.  Jesus had to die Himself before he could be brought to the cross.  Did you get that?   Many believers will fight the cross for the sake of their own self-existence, but once we become willing to die to self and our desires then God can bring us into the sacrifices which lie along our paths of obedience.  Do not rush too far ahead of the Lord’s will. Training and learning are first necessary before coming into some aspects of His will.  There must be a denying of self before there even can be a learning.  Jesus said, “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”  (Matthew 16:24) The denying of self is necessary for your learning.  Taking up your cross is necessary for your learning.  All three:  denying, taking, following are indispensable to fulfill the learning process.  “Disciple” means “pupil” — one who is a learner.  Self-will does not function in revelation whether it has it or not.  So why should the Holy Spirit introduce revelation into such a condition.  Insisting to push forward in self-will lowers the possibility of Holy Spirit revelation.  Elisha learned this when dealing with the sons of the prophets,  “And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him. 16 And they said unto him, Behold now, there be with thy servants fifty strong men; let them go, we pray thee, and seek thy master: lest peradventure the Spirit of the LORD hath taken him up, and cast him upon some mountain, or into some valley. And he said, Ye shall not send. 17 And when they urged him till he was ashamed, he said, Send. They sent therefore fifty men; and they sought three days, but found him not. 18 And when they came again to him, (for he tarried at Jericho,) he said unto them, Did I not say unto you, Go not?”  (II Kings 2:15-18)  There is a direct ratio between obedience and victory.  The more laying aside of self-will the greater the learning of obedience.  The fuller the obedience, the more numerous are the victories in Christian living. Obedience brings victory.  There are many examples in the Bible which reveal the truth that obedience brings victory.  Along with these examples of obedience bringing victory, there are also the injunctions, an order or command, of the Lord. “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:” (Isaiah 1:19) Obedience carries to victory and victory carries to fulfillment.  Obedience must move with the cooperation of man’s will.  If ye be willing”  In willing obedience there is an appetite being created, “Ye shall eat the good of  the land.”  The appetite is for fulfillment.  Therefore the extent of willingness is also being increased.  Obedience keeps you on the road to greatness in God. Why did not the children of Israel possess the promised land after two years in the wilderness? Why did  they die in the wilderness?  Disobedience.  By obedience, fulfillment, and possession finally were achieved, by the next generation and they moved into the things, the promised land, the Lord had prepared for their fathers.

After generations in the promised land, the Israelites went back into disobedience and became servants to those who they were to rule.  “Behold, we are servants this day, and for the land that thou gavest unto our fathers to eat the fruit thereof and the good thereof, behold, we are servants in it:”  (Nehemiah 9:36) Instead of possessing and ruling that which God gave them, they were conquered and ruled.  Obedience must be constant if victory is to be constant.  “But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries.”  (Exodus 23:22) God will oppose those who oppose you.  He will afflict those who afflict you.  Obedience aligns you with God.  In that relationship He will relate to others just as they relate to you.

Obedience is far reaching.  “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”  (Romans 5:19) What is the extent of the results of our obedience.  We will never know in this life on earth.  In our obedience to the Lord small things become big things, big things become bigger things, but all things in obedience to the Lord have eternal consequences. The extent of the results of obedience becomes a very serious factor.  Because of the disobedience of some, others will suffer.  Many attempt to gain some self-comfort by inventing doctrine which they believe relieves them of their responsibility before the Lord.  Nevertheless the Word of God still speaks, “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners.”  More sobering than that are the words recorded in Ezekiel, “When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.”  (Ezekiel 3:18) Again, “By the obedience of one, many shall be made righteous.”  By the obedience of one, a person comes to Jesus.  By the new convert’s obedience, two persons discover the Christ who saves.  Then four come.  How far does obedience go to which God has called us?  Unto eternal life!  Obedience is so very important that God will take us through extreme difficulties to instill it in us by hard knocks or bumping our heads.  Who can fathom the importance of the life of obedience to which God has called us? This training is to project us into awesome fulfillment.  If we are to get there we must learn obedience in our training program.  Where the Lord has to speak only once to us. Do not despair in your rigorous training circumstances.  Remember their purposes.  Always keep in mind the goal, to be conformed into the image of Jesus Christ, and then, plod on.  The race is not to the swift, but to those who are faithful in obedience win the prize.