Courage to Obey


By Charles F. Stanley

ExostlanleyHow would your closest friends describe you—courageous or cowardly? And when you face a difficult situation, what is your most overpowering emotion? Is it self-preservation or the desire to stand for what is right and true?

Following God is never simple or easy for any one. It takes courage. A passion to obey the Lord doesn’t suddenly appear in the believer’s life. Salvation sparks love and a desire to please Him, but a courageous fire is built slowly from the timbers of spiritual knowledge, faith, and devotion.

Obedience usually begins with a healthy fear of the consequences resulting from disobedience. Until believers build a firm foundation of biblical knowledge and trust that offers better reasons to follow God, we are kept safe by the desire to avoid harsh repercussions. Thankfully, as we mature and gain greater wisdom from Scripture reading, prayer, and life experience, fear gives way to the recognition of God’s sovereignty and submission to His plans.

Following God’s will shifts our focus from the consequences of disobedience to the blessings of obedience. Once we taste the best He has to offer, we want to keep His goodness flowing into our lives. Obedience and God’s best are natural partners—good derives from following divine commands, while suffering is the result of stubbornly choosing our own way. This irrevocable principle plays out in the Bible and in day-to-day life. Every act of submission is rewarded, either on earth or in heaven. In becoming more aware of how blessing follows obedience, we realize that complying with the Lord’s will is the only wise choice.

As our faith grows, we will learn that devotion is a much more powerful motivator than any blessing the Lord might provide. All the promised blessings in the world won’t compel a believer to follow God into some frightening places. But love for our Father moves us toward passionate obedience, no matter what is at stake.

The man and the woman who courageously walk with God will always reach their destination.