The Step of Obedience
Now you know there’s something this minute that you can do to obey God. Do that, and the decision with which you have been wrestling may well be taken care of in the process.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? You doing Alright? Yes. This is your friend Dr. Cook of course and I’m so glad to be back with you so we can share some things from the word of God. I’ve just been talking to the Lord about you, and more importantly about me and my attitudes and what I’m going to say and how I’m going to say it. I’ve asked Him that God’s love and God’s truth might be in my voice and of course in my heart before I speak because “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.”
What I’d like to do is to wrap up some of what I call it, random thoughts, random wrap up thoughts from Colossians. We’ve gone through it verse by verse. What are some of the things that you’ll remember about the book as you think of the overview of it? Chapter 1 stands out in my mind at least as telling me that you can know God’s will. Paul says I’m praying for you that you might be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. You can know the will of God.
Now that’s a very good principle. When you’re not sure about a thing don’t move until you do know. Most of my mistakes have been made in a hurry. How about you? The Bible says “Wait on the Lord, be of good courage and He shall strengthen thine heart.” Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him. It’s hard for me to wait oftentimes. I feel like praying “Lord, hurry up.” Do you ever do that? Well I guess we all do but you can know the will of God.
Now there are different ways obviously of ascertaining God’s will. Number one you go to His word. The word of God reveals His will in terms of general operating principles. You won’t find it in God’s word to tell you to go down to the corner of 10th and Main, at 10 o’clock. Those specifics you won’t find in the Bible. But you will find operating principles that will guide you. If you’re considering, for instance, you were going with an unsaved boy or girl and you’re asking for the will of God, you can find the answer to that question in the scripture that says “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers for what fellowship hath light and darkness and what concord hath God would belie,” and so on 2 Corinthians.
The operating principles of God’s will are found in His words. So the first thing to do in seeking God’s will is to go to His word and read it and study it and meditate upon it. “This book of the law shall not depart out of Thy mouth but thou shalt meditate therein that thou mayest observed to do according to all that is written therein, for then shalt thou make thy way prosperous and then shalt thou have good success.” That’s God’s word to Joshua. So you see the first step in knowing the will of God is going to His word.
Second, obviously, pray. Pray about the will of God. Lay out the matter in detail before him. This does two things. One it commits it to God and number two it makes you think logically and oftentimes creatively about the matter at hand. Many times I have found myself praying, “Oh Lord help me” when in reality I got my help the moment I started to lay the situation out in any kind of analyzed detail before the Lord. Write out your analysis of the problem. That will force you to think clearly about it. Then talk with your Lord about it and you’ll find that some of the points that are important in your decision stand out very clearly while you’re praying. Go to the word and pray. What else?
I often times look at the cast, what we call the cast of circumstances. That’s to say what has the Lord been doing and which way are things moving? Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. used to tell his students many years ago, find out where God is moving and get in there as fast as you can, which is another way of saying what seems to be going on? What is God doing in your life?
Well now the thing to do again is to analyze clearly the circumstances that surround this particular area where you’re wanting God to guide you. What really is going on? Many pastors listen to this broadcast, I happen to know and of course I was in the pastor at full time for 18 years. I guess I’ve made all the pastoral mistakes that there are. Oh dear but you know often times things will be a little rough in the pastor’s life and he’s tempted to say to himself “Oh I’m going to look for another church.”
Now when you come up to a decision like that you better look in God’s word. You better pray clearly and analytically and creatively and then you better analyze what is really going on because often times the problems in the church are not the fault of the dear people but our own as pastors. Had you thought about that? We say and do some things that have inevitable consequences and then we say “Oh well things aren’t going too well. The Lord is leading me out.” No? Maybe the Lord is leading you to learn a thing or two.
So face honestly what is really going on in your life. What does it seem that God is actually doing in terms of the circumstances that surround your life? Yes, you can know the will of God. I think it’s F.B. Myer, one of the old writers, that suggest too that you can benefit by the council of godly praying friends. That’s happened to me many a time. A good friend won’t give you advice. He’ll listen to you and allow you to talk the thing out with him or with her but the council of godly friends means a lot.
Dr. Culbertson of sainted memory, who for years served as the president of the Moody Bible Institute, was a dear friend of mine through the years. He was a bishop in the reformed Episcopal church and we used to call him The Bishop. That was his affectionate nickname. I came to see him one day with a whole list of possible job options. I was at a turning point in my own life where I had a lot of different opportunities and I was considering them and there were one or two that were quite attractive to me I must say. Largely I think because they wouldn’t require me to move from where I was there then living, and they offered an attractive salary and all that.
Well I went to see when I said “Hey Bishop I need some friendly counsel. I’ve been praying about this. Would you please look over the list of these options and see whether you think there’s any possibility there?” And I told him, I said “I’ve been really thinking about this one,” and I pointed out one job possibility that was quite attractive to me that seemed really to be something I would enjoy. Well he looked at them and he looked at me and he looked at the list and he looked at me and then he said very quietly “Well Bob, I know Bob Cook. I’ve known him through the years, watched him through the days of Youth for Christ and Scripture Press and all that. I know you pretty well.” He said “What bothers me is I really can’t imagine Bob Cook doing this,” and he referred to the job option that I thought was so attractive.
That’s really all he said. But all of a sudden the light turned on in my own mind and I thought well of course he’s right. I have no business doing that. I wrote the man, turned him down, he hasn’t spoken to me since and that would have been over a quarter of a century ago. Ah well, not everybody knows how nice you and I are, right? If he gets to Heaven he’s going to have to say hello to me. Well hey you can know the will of God and part of ascertaining the will of God is to talk and pray with faithful godly Christian people.
Then there’s a part of a principle that I have followed through the years and that is take the step of action that you know you can take at the time. If a building is on fire your first job is to get out and get your loved ones out. You stop to worry about taking some of the valuables or you stop to try to combat the flames yourself and you’re apt to be a memory. Do the thing that you know you can and should do this instant. That’s a very good rule. Of course every married man has had his wife say to him don’t just stand there do something.
But seriously now in every life situation, beloved, there is a step of action and faith and we better transpose those terms and put it faith and action hadn’t we? There is a step of faith and action that you can take which will honor your Lord and which quite likely can be used of God in helping him know what to do after that. One of the paraphrases of a scripture that is often used is “As thou goest step by step, He shall open up the way before thee and our Lord Jesus said when he puteth forth his own sheep he goeth ahead.”
So you take a step of faith and obedience to what you know to be the will of God at this moment. You don’t have to know what’s going to happen 10 years from now. But what you know you should do this minute, do that, and God will give you as the old holiness people used to say more light. I remember Jack Richards, my dear friend and the barber who cut my hair when I was in college days, he would say “Brother Bob, you walk in the light and God will give you more light.” Well that’s true.
“We walk in the light as He is in the light. We have fellowship one with the other. The blood of Jesus Christ, His son, keeps from cleansing us from all sins.” Jesus said “I am the light of the world. He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life.” It is those individual steps of obedience that add up to the walk of faith and fellowship with your blessed Lord.
Now you know there’s something this minute that you can do to obey God. Do that and the decision with which you have been wrestling may well be taken care of in the process. Good idea? You can know the will of God. That’s one of the things that’s under the heading of random wrap up thoughts from Colossians filled with the knowledge of His will. Every aspect of life submitted voluntarily and happily to the control of the indwelling Holy Spirit of God so that you know at any given time you know that you are in the will of God. It’s a blessed truth isn’t it? We go on with a little more of the wrap up thoughts the next time we get together.
Dear Father today may we be filled with the knowledge of Thy will every step along the way. In Jesus name Amen.
Until I meet you once again by way of radio walk with the king today and be a blessing!
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