The Power of Obedience: Leading By Example
As I was mowing the grass, I started having a conversation with God. It’s funny how the simple act of yard work can become a time and place for God to speak. I’d been thinking about teenagers and the life they’re facing today. Then I heard God speak this truth to my heart: obedience to God’s Word is the foundation for leading a powerful life and helping others see the Truth of Jesus.
The Challenge of Leading by Example
If you’re a parent, I’m sure you can relate to the desire for your children to make Jesus their Savior. How many times have we prayed for our children to come to know Christ? The weight of this responsibility should challenge us, not to preach at our kids more but to set an example of radical obedience.
I remember when I accepted Jesus. I was saved, but my family didn’t really understand anything about God. Even though I experienced internal transformation, the actions from my past blinded those closest to me from being able to see me as a follower of Jesus. This isn’t uncommon – when we experience Jesus, those who knew us before may find it hard to recognize the new person we’ve become.
In my case, it took my family a long time to realize that my transformation was genuine. It took years for them to understand that I really had become a different person through Jesus. Their struggle was that they saw me as I used to be, not as the changed person I’d become.
The Connection Between Our Obedience and Theirs
When the Holy Spirit reminded me of how long it took my family to be convinced that I really believed in all this “Jesus stuff,” I knew this was truth: Our children won’t believe in Jesus because they’re told to. They won’t until they see a tangible transformation in us. If we want them to walk in the ways of the Lord, we must first walk that walk ourselves. We must be obedient to God’s commandments, living a life consistent with the Gospel.
We have to be careful that we don’t just hear a message in church on Sundays to look like a “good” Christian, but then outside the walls of church, act the opposite of what the Bible teaches. This inconsistency sends mixed signals to our children. They look at our behavior and say, “If mom or dad can do it, why can’t I?”
This is why obeying the Word and the voice of the Holy Spirit is so important. Our actions outside of church need to line up with the faith we profess. Our obedience to God’s commandments should be seen not only in our words but also in our actions. We must live in a way that glorifies God, both within the church and in every area of our lives.
Being Like Jesus
Think about Jesus – how He associated with people that society considered “less than.” He didn’t come for the righteous; He came for the sick and the broken. In the same way, we must remember that we are not called to judge others but to show Christ’s love through our actions. This doesn’t mean doing what they do, but loving them and showing them with our life the power of God.
If we desire to witness a generation that passionately follows Christ, it starts with us. We must model the Christ-like life that we preach.
2 Corinthians 10:5 in The Passion Translation says: “We capture, like prisoners of war, every thought and insist that it bow in obedience to the Anointed One.” Think on that for a second. We are to be capturing thoughts as prisoners of war, making them bow down to obey Jesus. If we grabbed ahold of this and started obeying this instruction, imagine how different our life would look.
1 John 2:4 says, “If someone claims, ‘I have come to know God by experience,’ yet doesn’t keep God’s commands, he is a phony and the truth finds no place in him.” I didn’t say it, so don’t get mad at me! Obedience is a basic part of our identity as a Christian. It’s not about rule-following; it’s about showing our love for God by living our lives aligned with His will.
Aim for Obedience, Not Perfection
Here’s the thing: none of us are perfect. There are times when we all blow it and mess up. But our aim should be for radical obedience, which will lead to lives that reflect His love. Our children, regardless of their age, look to us for inspiration. Let’s take this responsibility seriously and let our lives to be a living example of the power of God.
Remember, our obedience isn’t just about us; it’s also about the next generation and influencing them to live a life deeply rooted in Jesus. Let’s lead by example. Through our obedience, we pave the way for a legacy of faith that goes on for generations, forever changing eternity.