A Fervent Follower ... Obeys God
Jesus said, "If you love me, you will obey what I command" (John 14:15) and again, "He who does not love me will not obey my teaching" (John 14:24). This connection of love and obedience is a common theme throughout the Bible (Ex.20:6). In fact, the greatest evidence of our love for God is doing what pleases him. These two important things, love and obedience, cannot be separated. The God of the universe is someone to be loved and obeyed.Personal Profile - someone who really obeyed God: KING JOSIAH
Josiah was the godliest king that the Judah had ever known.It says of Josiah, "He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in all the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left. Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did ¨C with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses (2 Kgs.22:2; 23:25. 2 Chron.34:2)."
- Josiah loved God.
At a young age King Josiah demonstrated a heart for the true God and he began to seek the Lord (2 Chron.34:1-13). He led a religious revival, possibly prompted by the message of prophets such as Zephaniah, Jeremiah and Nahum who ministered during his reign.
- Josiah took God's Word seriously .
As King Josiah grew older he continued to make further reforms including repairing the Temple of the Lord. While this was being done the 'book of the law' was found (2 Kgs.22:8-13. 2 Chron.34:14-21). Josiah took God's Word seriously and made a fresh personal commitment to follow the Lord and obey his commands with all his heart and soul (2 Chron.34:29-31).
- Josiah sought to influence others to obey God's commands too.
In his role as king, he sought to influence everyone in the nation, from the elders to the people, to renew their covenant with the Lord and to pledge themselves to obey his commands (2 Chron.34:32).
- Josiah courageously obeyed God's commands right down to the smallest detail.
Josiah had already made a lot of changes and reforms in the nation, but now he really gets to work, thoroughly implementing everything God requires because of his devotion to the Lord (2 Kgs.23:4-24. 2 Chron.34:33; 35:1-19, 26-27).
- Josiah continued obeying God throughout his entire life.
King Josiah did not just obey for a moment. He consistently pleased God throughout his entire life, never swerving to the left or the right (2 Kgs.22:2; 23:25. 2 Chron.34:2).
A fervent follower obeys God. Someone who obeys God loves God, takes God's Word seriously, courageously obeys everything God commands, seeks to influence others to do the same and is committed to obeying God for the long haul not just the moment.Who is Leading Your Life?
Who's in charge of your life? Is it yourself, someone else or God? Jesus calls out, "Follow me!" Believing in Jesus is not enough. We are called to follow his loving leadership in humble, consistent obedience. For followers of Jesus Christ there's a "cross" involved and that means "not my will but yours be done". It means submission to the Lord's leadership of our lives and that always means dying to self-control.
As a Christian we are to know Jesus as our "Saviour" (or forgiver) and "Lord" (or leader). "Lord" simply means master, boss or ruler. We come to Jesus and receive the forgiveness of our sins and then we surrender our life to his leadership. He is worth following and we can trust him with our life.God's Instruction Book
The Bible is God's Word to us. It shows us his character (what he's like), his mind (what he thinks), his heart (what he feels) and his purposes (what he's doing). His Word is inspired, infallible and authoritative (2 Tim.3:14-17). The Bible contains everything we need to know in order to live a godly and fruitful life. God promises us that obeying his commands is the key to living a life of blessing and true success (Deut.27-28. Josh.1:8. Ps.1). God's Word also gives us wisdom (Ps.119:99-100), spiritual victory (Eph.6:17) and faith (Rom.10:17). In fact, it is our very life (Dt.8:3).Your Daily Bread
God's words are often referred to as food or nourishment to our soul (Mt.4:4). Just as in the natural, we need to eat regularly and wisely in order to have an energetic and healthy life, so in the spiritual we need to feed ourselves with the Word of God in order to have a strong and healthy spirit. Here's how:
- Read the Bible (Observation. Knowledge. What does it say?).
Become familiar with what the Bible says. Our thinking and ways are often far removed from God's (Is.55:8-9). God's Word is living and active (Heb.4:12. Jn.6:33. Phil.2:16).
- Study the Bible (Interpretation. Understanding. What does it mean?).
Reading gives knowledge but deeper understanding only comes through study (2 Tim.2:15). The Bible is clear, but we must discover what it meant then and there before we can understand what it means here and now (Acts 8:27-35. See also Lk.24:13-32).
- Obey the Bible (Application. Wisdom. How does it apply to my life?).
Feeding on God's Word is not about just getting more knowledge. God wants us to be doers of his word not hearers only (Jas.1:22-25). Obedience, not knowledge, assures us of a strong foundation that will be able to stand the tests and storms of life (Mt.7:24-27).
A helpful daily Bible meditation plan can be built around the acronym "SOAR". As you wait on the Lord and meditate on his Word you can SOAR through life like an eagle (Is.40:31). First of all, read or write out the S cripture. Make some O bservations about what is being said. Pray about any A pplication to your own personal life. Finally, think about how you could best R espond to what you have read (a prayer to pray, an attitude to adopt or an action to take).
Imagine what could happen in every Christian simply read God's Word, took it seriously and then radically reformed their entire life to be in accordance to God's ways. Nothing short of a revival would take place!Sample Discussion Questions
- Ask people to give an example of a time they obeyed God when they didn't feel like it and then describe how things turned out. What did they learn? The aim here is to highlight some of the benefits, yet also the challenges of obeying God.
- Ask people to give an example of a time when they didn't obey God and then describe how it turned out. What did they learn? The aim here is to highlight some of the consequences as well as the lessons of doing life your own way instead of God's.
- Discuss the difference between simply 'Believing in God' (faith) and making him the 'leader of your life' (obedience). The purpose of this question is to highlight the importance of a Christian seeing themselves as under the authority and leadership of Jesus.
- Discuss the habit of Bible reading. Ask people to share what they have found works for them and what some of the challenges have been. This question gets people opening up about their personal devotion and Bible reading times or may even highlight a lack of this activity. The goal would be to encourage people to take the 'next step' in their growth as a fervent follower rather than make any person feel condemned.
- Select one or two Bible text (e.g. Ps. 23 or John 15:1-10) and have the group discuss them using the SOAR method mentioned above.