By: Sarah Abreu
Can you picture what would happen in a world where no one follows boundaries? Where no one submits to authority? Where crime and death are common because of a lack of knowledge? Imagine an innocent five-month-old not listening to his parent while playing outside… he would certainly hurt himself, and it would take only one disobedient moment for his life to end.
This world is our world. A world lacking in abundance and filled with heavy disobedience.
We’ve been promised abundant life in the New Covenant Jesus obtained for us on the cross, yet many of us don’t seem to be having a life that resembles abundance.
Abundance according to Jesus was never a huge house, money, or even a husband or a family. Abundance in Jesus is the promise of full contentment in all we do, through all circumstances we experience, until we meet Him.
I love the image of contentment that Paul painted for us in the Bible when he said: “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10)
Through every circumstance, Paul demonstrated abundant joy, peace, and endurance. As other translations write, Paul expressed that when he was weak, then God was strong; knowing that God was being glorified no matter what gave him great joy while suffering. It was for the sake of Christ, that he was content. Trials could come Paul’s way, but he knew how to stay content through it all. Paul’s contentment is the abundance Jesus promises to give to us.
Instead of abundance, we often presence a world full of fear, disappointment, and lack. We “dedicate” time to God, we serve at church, we go to Bible study, and yet, it doesn’t feel like this life is plentiful. We can then begin to blame religion, friends, pastors, mentors, versions of the Bible, and a whole list of other things. We look everywhere but within and we try everything except simple obedience.
We advise new routines, new curriculum, new churches, new Bible studies; but these solutions don’t change the fact that we lack obedience.
We claim to believe the covenant God has made for us through Jesus and yet, we refuse to obey.
Obedience was not meant to be fabulous.
Motivational Youtube videos make routines and self-discipline seem glamorous and easy, but this is not often reality.
My quiet time is not delightful every morning. My quiet time is not a pretty desk picture with my Bible, highlighters, and coffee. Most of my time with the Lord looks desperate, or forced, or sometimes even pointless; but it’s always a simple act of obedience as I go to my Savior no matter how I feel. The obedience itself fills me with gladness.
For a long time I thought it was okay to go to God only when I felt like it, to only pray when I was in the mood for it, and to only bring up the Gospel when it was the perfect occasion. For a long time, I lacked obedience. I forgot that when I said yes to Jesus, I also said yes to sacrifice, I said yes to the cost of carrying the cross.
Our lives lack abundance because we lack obedience: The obedience to push through the suffering to reach the peace He promises us during the storm.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” Isaiah 43:2
Obedience never looked fabulous, if we look back at Bible characters, none of them were ever excited to take the risks that walking in Covenant with Jesus required. It’s hard to trust when you barely know the plan; but God has called us to faith and obedience. That is what it means to be a Christian.
Training our hearts for obedience
Training is not an easy word. Athletes don’t love to train, but training is what makes an athlete. We don’t come to Jesus’ feet every morning because it’s what the law says, but because our heart knows it needs to sit at His feet to live.
I have to ask the Lord to train my heart for obedience; that my heart will not be different towards Him depending on how my day is going or how well I slept. My heart needs living water from the Fountain that never runs dry. So I ask that He would make me thirsty.
Something the training process is simply chatting with the Lord about what my heart seems to be focused on at the moment and asking that He would realign it with His will and lead my heart into focusing on what really matters. Little by little, every day, my heart needs to re-focus. These pleading days between me and Jesus always lead me to harvest seasons when spending time with Jesus ceases to be a chore and becomes my delight. My heart hates routine and religion, but it loves its Creator.
When we start loving to obey, obedience becomes second nature. Abundant quiet times with Jesus do exist and they are incredibly worth it!
Obedience is not what others see
Obedience is more than who I appear to be. Obedience goes deeper than my Instagram feed and my political choices. Obedience is the raw me, the one that no one sees. When I’m alone, and no one is watching, am I being obedient? When I have no eyes on me, am I seeking God with my entire heart? Or am I just opening my Bible so I can post something on my Instagram story?
God is not interested in what you look like, but in the position of your heart. Is your heart obedient?
The trust in the things unseen; faith, governs the way we obey God. If I can’t trust Him with giving me the strength to get through one college class, how can I trust Him to bring me my husband? We contradict our own faith, when we are more than certain that we’ll go to heaven, but can’t believe Jesus when He says “do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself” (Matthew 6:34).
Everyday we must ask God to strengthen our faith, so that our obedience (our lived out trust in God’s Word) can increase! We do this by being in the Word. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17)
Often we complain about the lack of abundance we experience in our Christian walk; in friendships, relationships, finances, church, children, husbands, etc. If we would only look a little deeper, maybe we’ll get to see that abundance is a promise and His promises are true. We look for abundance in all the wrong places, when this whole time, its always been in front of our noses. Abundance is found in our obedience to the Lord.
Father, we pray for constant, strong, and unshakable obedience to You. That our human minds can understand that obeying You won’t be pretty to society, that it’s an ongoing process for our hearts, and that, as our faith grows, the result will be holy obedience that comes from You.
The more we humble our hearts down to our Abba Father, the more we seek Him above others, the more we sacrifice for Him, obedience deepens and abundance overflows.
2 Corinthians 9:8 “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”
Sarah lives in sunny South Florida in the suburbs of Hollywood. She is the youth director at her church for middle school and high school students. Her heart cries out for others to experience the peace and comfort she has found in the Lord. Sarah loves going to the beach and the park as well as reading Jesus-centered books and dancing to worship music.