BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
“Amaziah did what was pleasing in the LORD’s sight, but not wholeheartedly” (2 Chron 25:2 NLT).
Obeying God wholeheartedly means doing as God has told you or complying with His instructions enthusiastically, totally, unswervingly, hundred percent. Partial obedience is still disobedience, and reluctant obedience is an ugly sight before God.
Our introductory scripture says King Amaziah of Judah did what was pleasing in the sight of God but not wholeheartedly. Why? Amaziah later engaged in idolatry which made God angry with him. God sent a prophet to him who rebuked him for worshipping the idols which couldn’t save the people of Seir, the Edomites, from Amaziah who had defeated them in war. But Amaziah told the prophet, “Since when have I asked your advice? Be quiet now before I have you killed!” (2 Chron 25:16 NLT). That was the beginning of his end.
Much earlier in Israel’s history, their first king, Saul, had told Prophet Samuel that he had obeyed God’s command to utterly, completely destroy the Amalekites, but he lied because he had spared King Agag and the best animals – that wasn’t wholehearted obedience. He lost the throne because of that sin (1 Sam 15).
Prophet Jonah should have obeyed God promptly but he didn’t until he found himself in the belly of a fish. He eventually delivered God’s message to the people of Nineveh apparently reluctantly because though the entire city repented, and God pardoned the city, Jonah wasn’t happy about that. He failed to appreciate the national repentance his message produced (Jonah 1-4).
God is looking for wholehearted obedience. Eagerly obey God to the letter even if you don’t understand Him. “And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands I am giving you today” (Deut 6:6 NLT). When you obey God wholeheartedly, you’re not doing God a favour; you’re rather doing yourself a favour. Here are ten reasons you should obey God wholeheartedly, and all of them are in your own interest.
The Ten Reasons
1.To demonstrate your love for God. Deut 6:4-5 says, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (NKJV). Jesus restates this scripture in Matt 22:37-38 adding that this is the first and great commandment. If you claim to love God, you’ll obey Him. So obedience becomes a true test of your love for God. Jesus declares, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15 NKJV).
2. To express your fear of God. Fear here refers to reverence for God. You can’t claim to fear God and not obey Him. God is a loving God but He is also a consuming fire (Deut 4:24; Heb 12:29). Fear of God and obedience go together. If you fear God, you won’t want to experience His wrath; therefore, you’ll obey Him. Deut 6:1-2 says fearing the LORD by keeping all His statutes and His commandments will prolong your life and the lives of your descendants. Obedience to God is a proof of your genuine fear of God. Anything otherwise is a lip service, hypocrisy.
3. So that God will be your God and you will be His child. If you truly want God to be your God and you become His child, you’ll obey Him. Wholehearted obedience is more important to Him than sacrifice (Jer 7:22-23, 1 Sam 15:22).
God is committed to those who’re committed to Him. He honours those who honour Him, and those who despise Him shall be lightly esteemed (1 Sam 2:30). Jer 29:13 says, “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (NKJV). In Lev 26:12, God told the Israelites, “I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people” (NKJV). But obedience is key to enjoying this promise of God.
Disobedience will make God say to His people they’re no longer His people until they repent. We have an example of this in the book of Hosea exemplified in the symbolic name God asked Hosea to name the second son born by his wife to speak prophetically to the backslidden nation of Israel about God’s rejection of the nation –. Lo-Ammi, for you are not My people, and I will not be your God (Hosea 1:9). But verse 10 says, “In the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people’ There it shall be said to them, ‘You are sons of the living God’” (NKJV). Rom 9:25-26 also makes reference to Hosea 1:10. If you obey God, you’ll become God’s treasured possession (Exo 19:5).
4. To receive eternal salvation. Jesus became the Source of eternal salvation for all who obey him. Heb 5:9 says, “And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him” (NKJV). Anyone who ends in hell fire shall be there not because God wants him there but because he has refused to obey the Word of God on how to escape hell fire. God has already provided the means of salvation which is by receiving Jesus Christ (John 1:11-13).
In order to receive eternal salvation, you must obey God’s Word, not follow your own way – Jesus is the way the truth and the life; no one can come to the Father but by him (John 14:6). Jesus is the solution to man’s sin, and he requires obedience to his Word. Those who indulge in all manners of sins are referred to as sons of disobedience upon whom the wrath of God shall come (Eph 5:5-6; Col 3:5-6). Anyone who wants to escape this wrath must embrace Jesus, the author of eternal salvation.
5. To be free from enslavement to sin and become slave to righteousness. This is related to the last reason given. It is not enough to confess that you’ve given your life to Jesus; you must continue to live for Jesus by living a life free of sin – righteous living. Rom 6:16-18 says you’re a slave to whoever you obey. lf you claim to be a Christian and you continue a lifestyle of sin, you’ve made yourself a slave to sin; you’re a child of the devil, and not a child of God (1 John 3:9-10).
6. To receive the Holy Spirit. In order to receive the Holy Spirit, you must obey The Holy Spirit is for the obedient not the disobedient. Acts 5:32 says, “And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him” (NKJV).
While speaking in John 14:15-19 about the promise of the Holy Spirit, Jesus started by saying, “If you love me, obey my commandments.” The Holy Spirit can’t be received by the world because it doesn’t obey Jesus; the Holy Spirit is for those who obey Jesus.
Before the disciples received the baptism of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, they had to obey the command of Jesus not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father to baptize them with the Holy Spirit not many days from then (Acts 1:4-5). The disciples obeyed the command of Jesus and stayed in Jerusalem and the promise of the Holy Spirit was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4).
Whoever desires the Holy Spirit, his baptism and his work, must obey God, obey His Word. That was why in the house of Cornelius, while Peter was still speaking or preaching, the Holy Spirit came upon all those who heard the word to the utter surprise of the Jewish believers who were with Peter (Acts 10:44-46). God allowed the Holy Spirit to come upon them because they had opened their hearts to God’s word.
7. To enjoy prosperity and long life. If you want to enjoy prosperity and long life, you should be ready to obey God wholeheartedly. Sinful lifestyle robs people of good life and long life – reckless lifestyle exposed them to poverty and untimely death. God has promised it shall be well with you and your offspring and you’ll enjoy long life if you wholeheartedly obey Him (Deut 5:32-33, 6:1-3).
If you read Lev 26, you’ll see that divine prosperity and long life are hinged on wholehearted obedience to God; the opposite are the consequences of disobedience. Isa 1:19-20 and Job 36:11-12 emphasize this also. Those who continue to willfully violate the Word of God will deny themselves divine prosperity and long life.#
8. To be a blessing to others. Any time you obey God, you’re not only blessed, you become a blessing to others. That was what Abraham experienced. God told Abraham, “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice” (Gen 22:18 NKJV). In Gen 26:2-5, God reminded Abraham’s son, Isaac, of this vow He had made to his father because he had obeyed Him. This eternal blessing is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the seed of Abraham – all the nations of the earth are blessed today through Jesus Christ.
Your obedience brings a blessing upon you and makes you a blessing to others. Conversely, your disobedience endangers the lives of others. For example, Jonah endangered the lives of others on the same ship with him on the high sea (Jonah 1:3-15).
Achan, by disobeying God’s command, caused the death of thirty six men in Israel’s army killed in the battle of Ai before Achan’s sin was exposed (Josh 7:5) and caused his own death and that of his household (Joshua 7:24-26). Achan was a greedy fellow, and he thus fulfilled Prov 15:27 which says, “He who is greedy for gain troubles his own house, but he who hates bribes will live” (NKJV).
9. To escape the consequences of disobedience to God. In the Bible, there are both blessings and curses – blessings on obedience and curses on disobedience (Deut 11:26-28, Deut 28). Wholehearted obedience was the way to escape these curses (Jer 11:3-4).
It is true that Christ has redeemed believers from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (Gal 3:13). But Christ doesn’t automatically protect us from the consequences of disobedience to the Word of God. Repentance and forgiveness don’t mean that you’ll automatically escape punishment for disobedience. For example, a Christian who engages in sexual immorality may repent and ask for forgiveness but being forgiven doesn’t mean that such a person won’t suffer the consequences of his sinful behavior e.g unwanted pregnancy, shame and ridicule, sexually transmitted diseases, etc. The same is true of stealing. God will forgive anyone who repents but that doesn’t mean he won’t be prosecuted and face the outcome. It’s wise to obey God wholeheartedly.
10. To enjoy restoration. Sin is a robber! Genuine repentance is the pathway to restoration of what sin has robbed you of. Deut 30:1-5 says that the Israelites would be exiled as punishment for disobeying the commandments of God. But if they return to the LORD and wholeheartedly obey all his commands, restoration will follow.
Repentance from sin and resumption of obedience will facilitate your restoration – restoration of peace, joy or whatever you’ve lost. Like the restoration of the Israelites from exile to Jerusalem, your restoration shall be like a dream! (Psalm 126:1-4).
You can’t abide in sin and ask that grace abound – you can’t keep on sinning so that God can show you more and more kindness and forgiveness (Rom 6:1). If you humble yourself, pray and seek His face, and turn from your disobedience, God will forgive and heal – He’ll restore what disobedience has stole from you (2 Chron 7:14).
Conclusion: As you’ve seen in this message, there are both rewards for obedience and punishment for disobedience. Repent of any disobedience of the past and begin to wholeheartedly obey God. “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Isa 55:7 NKJV).
If you’re not born again, I urge you to take the following steps:*Admit you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start to attend a Bible-believing, Bible -teaching church. There you will be taught how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: “0 Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent and confess my sins. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you Jesus for saving me and making me a child of God.”
I believe you’ve said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible believing, Bible teaching church in your area where you will be taught how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things becoming all God wants you to be. I’ll be glad to hear from you. May the Lord be with you.
T.O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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