“For your obedience has become known to all.” Romans 16:19…………..
She was suffering. Terribly. I didn’t need to talk to her to know it. I had heard from another. The same woman who had suffered for years, on and off much worse than other times, but, nonetheless, always suffering pretty significantly to one degree or another. I didn’t feel compelled to reach out to her this time. I had reached out for years. On and off. Doing my best to show Christ’s love. Sometimes falling short. Repenting when I did. Other times showing it. By God’s grace. Many times delivering messages from God. Help. Pointing her in the right direction. To Him. To His Word. To repentance. To turning to Him, turning to Him, to the way, to the truth, to Christ’s life. Now I was thinking about her again, and praying a little. That’s when God stepped in. With this message.
“Why can’t she hear you?” I cried out to God in my heart. Didn’t she know what He wanted? Didn’t she know what He wanted her to do? That she needed to confess her sin, and stop blaming other things and other people, and come to Him for mercy, for strength, for His wisdom and direction? To hear God who surely had spoken to her time and again, and to hear all the messengers God had sent through the years? Why couldn’t she hear?
“She can hear me,” the Spirit of God spoke quietly into my heart. “She won’t obey me. There is a difference.”
This message isn’t really about the woman who has suffered for years, is it? It’s about us, all of us, don’t you think? And for all of us.
There is a difference between not hearing God and not obeying God. Some people do not know how to hear God. Some people don’t even believe Christ’s followers can hear from God. Rest assured, God speaks to His people. Rest assured His followers can learn to hear from Him. And should learn to hear from Him.
But the issue with this woman, and with many of us, I am afraid, is that we CAN hear from God, and that we DO hear from God, and that we are NOT OBEYING God.
From the outside, it looked like the woman was simply not hearing God. But she was. And had for a long time, it seemed. But it appeared she was choosing to go on in open rebellion toward Him, to refuse to repent, to refuse to turn to Him, to refuse to let go of what He told her to let go, and to do what He told her to do, etc.
Does this ring true for you? Has God been speaking to you? Are you clear it’s Him? Have you measured what you’re hearing against the Word of God to test what you are hearing because He always speaks in line with His Word? Have you sought godly counsel from rock solid Christ followers deeply entrenched in God’s Word and Christ’s body if and as the Spirit of God leads you to help ensure you are hearing from God? Are you hearing God, but not obeying God? Resisting? Holding back? Procrastinating? Turning the other way when you hear Him? Pretending He hasn’t spoken? Debating with God? Rebelling against Him? Figuring you’ll seek Him until you get the answer you want rather than obey what He’s already told you? Excusing yourself from doing what you know He has told you, and justifying why you don’t have to obey Him? Refusing to submit yourself to the lordship of Jesus Christ who will reign forever?
Let us be careful. Let us dig deeply and devotedly daily into God’s Word, let us immerse ourselves solidly in the worldwide congregation of God’s people, Christ’s followers, assembling with fellow Christ followers, let us always as our highest purpose seek to love, worship, serve, seek, pray to, praise, worship, adore, obey and worship God almighty through Christ, spending time daily with the Lord, and let us be resolute, be committed, be passionate about PURSUING GOD, HEARING GOD – and OBEYING GOD.
This isn’t about a woman who couldn’t hear God.
It’s about us all.
And our need to bow down ourselves before God almighty and to hear Him and obey Him for He is LORD!
In the verse above, the Apostle Paul remarks to the Romans about how their obedience is “known to all.”
Let our obedience be known first and foremost to the Lord – and then to all.
Let us be known for our obedience. To the Lord!