“He was humble and walked the path of obedience all the way to death—his death on the cross.” Philippians 2:8 (Good News Translation)
So many things in life are easy to say and really hard to do. This is certainly true in the life of the disciple of Jesus. Just take “Love God, and love your neighbor” as an example. There’s a lifelong learning curve on those two. And so, when we hear some teaching on a Sunday, or we’re convicted of some need for change, or find ourselves in a Kairos moment* – it’s easier to cognitively agree than it is to put those things into practice.
The best way to walk in obedience is to learn to listen to the nudging of the Spirit. The Spirit is present in your heart if you are a follower of Jesus. He doesn’t play hard to get. He’s ready to guide you when you stop to listen. Yes, there are times when we feel a silence from the Lord. There’s such a thing as the dark night of the soul**. But overall, I think we don’t hear often because we don’t slow down often enough to hear. (The following is a brief example taken from my recent lesson on family aspects of Philippians 2.)
It can be as easy as this. Take 15 minutes today to find a little nook in your home and sit down with your computer or a notebook. Settle your thoughts and your heart. Take some deep breaths. And pray, “Father, how can I show love to my family this week?” And then you listen. What thoughts come to mind? What actions? What convictions? Write them down. If you get stuck, pull out a Bible and read for a bit. How could you apply what you read to your family? If the reflections you’ve written down seem a bit confusing or uncertain, call on a person you trust and ask them if what you’ve recorded is something that sounds like God. They can help you discern God’s voice. When you feel like you’ve done this discernment well, make a plan of action. What do you need to do about what you sensed God teaching you? Then you have to do it! Don’t sit on it. Give it a shot.
This can also be done with others, maybe a group of 3-5 people who are comfortable enough to give this a shot together.
Learning to walk in obedience is a daily practice that’s hard but rewarding work. Our example is Jesus himself, who walked this path all the way to the cross, and won the greatest victory.
*A Kairos moment is a phrase out of the book Building a Discipling Culture by Mike Breen. It describes an event type moment in our lives that God uses to teach us something.
**Described in The Dark Night of the Soul by St. John of the Cross.
How are you learning to walk in obedience? Leave a comment and let’s learn together!