RSS

Tag Archives: obedience

You’ve Been Hand-Picked

MixFor the last couple of posts I’ve been talking about Peter’s opening remarks in his first epistle.

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.
1 Peter 1:1-2

I’ve talked about the fact that we are aliens, scattered throughout the world. Today I want to emphasize that we are chosen. That word chosen means selected, hand-picked, or favorite.

Why has God chosen us? The answer is simply because we responded to His call.

“For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
Matthew 22:14

We are all invitedcalled – but chosen means that you responded and put yourself in the position of being selected.

The Apostle, Peter described this truth in the verse we looked at above. He said that we were chosen according to the foreknowledge of the Father. Then we were sanctified by the working of the Holy Spirit in us.

That, in and of itself, is great news. But he didn’t stop there. He had to put in that tough little word – “for”. That changes everything. That means that there was a reason for all that He did. It can be summed up in one word – purpose.

It turns out that we are strangers, scattered and chosen for a purpose. What is that purpose? According the Peter, the purpose is obedience to Christ.

That word obedience literally means to hear under. You could also call it attentive listening. If I’m an alien, then I must listen to MY King. Being scattered in the world I have to listen for the Lord’s special instructions for me.

If I’m chosen, then I need to listen to the one who chose me. We must listen carefully and follow His instructions. If we don’t, then things will start to go wrong.

The problem is that listening requires time in the Lord’s presence. We live in a fast paced world. We look for the quick fixes. How can I get it done immediately?

The truth is that there’s no technology that can speed up the development of relationship. The only way is by spending time. Whether it’s with another human, or the Holy Spirit, I have to take the time necessary to get to know them. This fact will never change.

I am a stranger, an alien, to this world. I am scattered to be salt. I am chosen by God to obey Him. Therefore, I must listen attentively.

We need these attitudes if we’re going to be effective for Christ. Only then will we see a difference in the world around us. The world is desperately waiting for a church that knows who they are in Christ.

Question: How have you made a difference for Christ in the lives of those around you?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
1 Comment

Posted by on September 18, 2015 in Ministry, Prayer, Revival, The Church

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Obedient Faith

BlurI’ve been posting about the Holy Spirit as the one who nourishes our spirits. I talked about Jesus speaking to the crowd who had been miraculously fed by the loaves and fishes.

The Lord told them that He was the living bread from Heaven. They got offended at some of His words and many began to leave Him. As He was left alone with His disciples, they told Jesus that His teaching was hard for them to understand. So He said the following…

The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.
John 6:63

He explained to them that He wasn’t talking about His physical flesh. Christ was talking about His Spirit – the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit is sent from heaven He will give life.

At that point in history, Jesus fulfilled the role of the Holy Spirit to His disciples. That’s why He could tell them to believe His words and receive life – the living bread.

But understand; right now it’s the job of the Holy Spirit to give life. If I want this in my life I must feed on His word to me. Hearing and believing the Holy Spirit is the key to everything we need.

But the real question is; do you truly believe if you don’t obey?

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.
James 2:17-18

What kind of faith is James talking about here? Some ethereal faith, believing it will all turn out good in the end? Absolutely not!!

You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.
James 2:20-23

We must have faith in the instructions God gives us. How? By the Holy Spirit. Why did Abraham offer his son? Because God had said to do it

That’s righteousness – our spiritual food. Believing that what God speaks to you is the right thing to do. That’s the same spiritual food that Jesus ate. That’s the life that the Holy Spirit is offering to us right now. But in order to see this manifest, I must spend time with the Holy Spirit – the giver of life to the church.

Question: How have you been obedient to the Holy Spirit lately?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 17, 2015 in Faith, Prayer, Spiritual Walk

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Permanently Temporary

TentI’ve been posting about the obedience that springs from our faith. In my last post I talked about one of the attitudes of obedience to God. Today I want to talk about the second. We’re looking at what Hebrews, chapter 11, says about Abraham.

By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.
Hebrews 11:9

The literal Greek of this text says that he lived permanently in tents. As an avid hiker and camper, I think that’s an interesting statement. In other words, he was living permanently in a temporary home.

But it wasn’t only Abraham. He was with others who were called as well.

The next attitude of obedience says that even though I’m trusting God to move me forward, I’m willing to stay here forever waiting for the Lord’s call. How could Abraham be so content to stay in his tents?

For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
Hebrews 11:10

This is the secret to Abraham’s obedience. This verse literally says that he could obey because he accepted from the source, a city built by God.

This should be the same for us. We obey because we’ve accepted God’s destiny for our lives. We know who it is that promised.

I can only find the strength to obey God if I’ve accepted His destiny even if I don’t know all the details. That’s the tough part of this attitude. I have to accept His plan before I know where it will take me.

We walk by faith, not sight. Think about how incredible the place is that He is taking us to.

This city has foundations. We know from the Scripture that Christ is our foundation. We’ve started to build our little spiritual house. The thing is, God wants to take us to the city level. We have such a small vision some times.

This is a city whose architect and builder is God. Every time you obeyed a calling, God was building. Every pain and inconvenience – God was building.

But it gets even better than that. The word Builder in the above verse literally means public worker. The Lord does all the public works of the city.

Think about that for a minute. What if He did all the public works in your city? There would be gold streets, gem encrusted fire hydrants, and who knows what else.

Waiting on God’s destiny for your life is worth all the inconvenience of obedience.

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
1 Timothy 6:12

This is what the fight of faith is all about. It’s the fight to obey your calling. You must push through to wait upon God and listen for His voice calling you forward. It may seem hard to take in the short term. But in the end you’ll find that it was well worth the struggle.

Question: Why are we so reluctant to wait in the place of prayer to hear God’s voice?

©Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 17, 2014 in Faith, Ministry, Prayer

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

The Road to Advancement

ProfitI’ve been posting about Abraham as our example of the obedience that’s born in our faith. It’s not always pleasant, but God has a great destination prepared for us.

I said in my last post that God usually calls us to leave something before calling us into a new and better place. Unfortunately, laying hold of that better place is based upon our obedience. That’s why Jesus made the following statement.

“For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
Matthew 22:14

There are many who don’t want to go out in order to go into a new place. We are sometimes so satisfied with the good – we don’t want the excellent.

If we want the inheritance that God has destined us for on earth, then there are two attitudes we need to learn. These are the attitudes that energize our obedience to Christ. In today’s post, I want to talk about the first of these.

By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.
Hebrews 11:9

The original Greek of this verse is very interesting. It says that by faith Abraham lived near the promised land as if it were another’s property. This is an important lesson to learn, especially those in leadership positions. We understand obedience from serving in another’s ministry.

At one point in my Christian walk I was under a great man of God named Pastor Anthony Spero. He’s the one who trained me in the ministry. There were things he asked me to do that I liked, and other things – not so much.

What I didn’t realize at that time, was that as I submitted under his ministry, God was doing a work in me. All that time I worked under him, not knowing that the place God was bringing me to was a pastorate of my own.

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?”
Luke 16:10-12

You can’t advance in the Kingdom of God without obedience. We get the idea that because this isn’t mine, who cares if I do a good job or not. This is especially true at work or church. I didn’t know it, but when I was putting out the trash as a teenager, God was preparing me to be a husband and father.

We need to pick up the attitude of Abraham. The ability to see my submission to authority as preparation for the authority God wants to entrust me with. My future advancement is based on my present obedience.

Question: What are the areas of obedience that God is currently using in your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 14, 2014 in Faith, Leadership, Ministry

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The Inconvenient Truth about Obedience

MeditationIn my last post I talked about the connection between faith and obedience. It’s one of the toughest choices we need to make as believers.

This goes beyond what we usually think about obedience.

Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.
Romans 1:5

Contrary to popular belief, obedience is by faith, not fear. It’s easier to obey if I trust the one I’m submitted to. This is especially true in my relationship with God.

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do.
1 Peter 1:14-15

According to Peter, this obedience comes as a result of calling. If that’s the case, then we need to look at the calling of God. Let’s review the verse we first read in my last post.

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.
Hebrews 11:8

It all starts by being called to go out of where we’re currently living. Then we’re called to move into a place that God expects us to inherit. The callings to go out and to move in are the two sides of God’s work in our lives. Both require our obedience.

It’s as if God is saying to us, “Let’s get you to the inheritance.” We then have to trust God enough to want the destiny that He’s prepared for us.

Bible talks a lot about obedience. Children and parents, employees and bosses, governments, church leaders, etc. This is how God gets you to the place He sees for you.

However, the biggest problem with God’s way of calling is that Abraham did not know where he was going. The verse literally says that he did not stand upon where he was going to.

Jesus understood this in His time on earth.

Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered
Hebrews 5:8

This verse is talking about Christ but it’s the same for us. The word suffer is talking about a feeling. The truth is that we only learn obedience by what we feel. Unfortunately, it’s usually a painful experience.

If I’m hungry and someone says, “Come to dinner,” that’s not obedience for me to come and eat. Obedience is when I’m watching TV and my parents tell me to put out the trash.

We need to understand that obedience is a learning process. It teaches me that to enjoy the best life, will require some discomfort now, for a greater return later. The inheritance is the fun part. It’s the calling that’s usually inconvenient.

Question: How does faith help us to obey God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 12, 2014 in Faith, Revival

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Faith – Obedience Connection

ClimberSometimes we may get the idea that faith is just a matter of getting our thoughts right.

“As long as I trust God on the inside, everything will be okay.”

That’s a good place to start, but will it be enough to carry you through to your destiny? Actually faith is more than just the internal. It’s a continual process of revelation and response. We can learn a lot from Abraham’s example.

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.
Hebrews 11:8

This verse tells us how Abraham applied the principles of faith to his life. If we boil down all the extra words, we’re told that by faith Abraham obeyed. He heard the Word that God spoke to him and chose to obey it by faith.

Up to this point in our Christian walk no obedience necessary. If you never hear from the Holy Spirit, then you’re not responsible to respond. Of course, neither do you see any miracles that come with your obedience.

It’s at this level that we start to mature in Christ. We want to do more than just fill a pew. We’ve accepted Christ as our Savior. Now we want to experience growth.

It’s unfortunate that so many believers want to stay at the infant stage of their spiritual life. They come out on Sunday morning, read the Bible, sing, clap, and pray. They continue to drink in, yet they feel no need for obedience.

To understand this, we need to know what it is that we’re to obey. The above verse makes it clear. We are to obey God’s calling. This is the normal process of growth in the life of a believer.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:1-2

This is probably one of the clearest Scriptures on growth in the Bible. We’re told to offer ourselves to the Lord on His altar. Then comes the renewing of our mind. Finally, I can approve (obey) God’s will.

Sometimes our problem is that we put the cart before the horse. We want to know what God’s will for our life is before we decide to obey Him. That’s not faith. I need to trust Him with my life first, then He’ll make his will know to me.

That’s why I need to know Him. It’s hard to trust someone, if you don’t really know them.

In my next post, I’ll explain why this call to trust God in obedience is one of the hardest things we’re asked to do.

Question: Why does it seem so hard to obey God’s calling?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 10, 2014 in Faith, Word of God

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Walking in the Word #returnofChrist

MirrorI’m posting about being the “John the Baptist Generation”.  I believe we are the last generation before the return of Christ and we need to live it out.

In my last post I said that we need to be hearing a Word from God.  This is essential for the end-time church.

But the key is that John didn’t just hear a Word.  He walked in it.  Our generation must walk out what we hear in God’s presence.  Hearing from God is only half of the equation.

Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
James 1:21

This is talking about the engrafted word of God.  It’s not just reading the Bible or hearing a sermon, even thought it might start there.  It’s when you know God has spoken to you.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
James 1:22-24

We’re told not to simply hear a word from God.  We’re good at saying that God spoke to us.

“I know what I need to do.”

The problem is that years later there’s no change.  God is looking for an obedient people.  He wants someone who’ll not only speak for Him, but live for Him.

Sometimes I think that’s why we don’t listen – we don’t want to do what God might tell us.

I’ve been feeling more spiritual pressure on me lately to hear and obey the voice of God.  When I look at John’s life I see the insight I need to do what’s required of me.

John was born at that time for a purpose.  He could have said, “It’s not fair.  Why can everyone else do what they want?”  But by his obedience, he changed the course of history.

History Makers don’t get to just “do what they want.”  That’s our calling because of the generation we were born into.  Like it or not we were placed here to be a part of the greatest move of God the world has ever seen.

Instead of running from it, or hiding in the distractions of the world, we should embrace it.  It’s time for the people of God to let the Word shine through us.  I believe this will initiate the great end-time harvest of souls into the kingdom of God.

Question: What do you see as the greatest hindrance of us fulfilling this end-time call?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
2 Comments

Posted by on November 11, 2013 in Prayer, Return of Christ, Revival

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,