Obedience Training

obedience-training-focus-Christ

Do you ever have a hard time staying focused on or being obedient to God’s calling? We know that God desires for us to be obedient to his will and calling. That calling is sometimes hard to figure out. Sometimes it’s difficult to carry out. What exactly does God want from us? How do we remain steadfast and focused on what God has called us to?

The Calling

We all have a calling. A specific purpose to carry out in our lives. We are disciples; Students and followers of Christ. Our call is to grow as disciples by the power of the Holy Spirit. God also calls his disciples to make other disciples. We are to share the good news of Jesus Christ and teach them all of his commands. Our purpose is to show others what their purpose is. This may look different according to the gifts, talents, and personalities God has granted us. However diversely we may carry out this calling, it is the same for all Christians. 

“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”           Matthew 28:18-20 

Keeping Focus

How do we remain focused on obeying God? It’s easy to get distracted from what he has called us to. The first step is knowing what our calling is and that we are to obey that. The second step is to remain focused on that calling. There are so many different things that can distract us today. We are bombarded with messages that tell us what we should be doing and how we should do it. How are we to remain focused on what God is saying amidst the distracting voices around us? The key is to focus on Jesus.

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him,  rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” Colossians 2:6-8

When I was first training my dog, Talia, I had a hard time getting her to focus. When I would try to teach her commands she was easily distracted by everything around her. Even when she did learn some commands, she never obeyed them consistently. As soon as something else caught her attention, she was gone. I soon learned that there was one command that would help her consistently obey all the things I wanted to teach her. This command was, “Look at me.” I trained her to keep her eyes focused on me for periods of time. Soon she was able to do the commands I taught her with a new ability to focus. Not only did she have to obey what I said but she had to “look at me” the whole time that she obeyed. Whether it was to sit, wait, stay, or heel her eyes had to remain on me. Her obedience became consistent because she was trained to focus on me. The more she learned to look to me the easier it became to avoid distraction and obey.

When we find it hard to remain steadfast and obedient to God’s commands and call, we must learn how to focus on Christ.

Jesus taught this to the disciples often. They were always losing sight of the big picture and Jesus was constantly having to remind them. When they wanted to know who would be the greatest of them all he had to remind them what the kingdom of God was all about. He rebuked them when they wanted to punish a Samaritan village by raining consuming fire on them, when they tried to keep people from bringing their children to him, and when they tried to stop him from going to Jerusalem for his crucifixion. Jesus had to train them to obey and follow the mission and calling of God. 

Peter walked on water because Jesus called him out of the boat. He obeyed but soon became distracted. After taking his eyes off of Jesus, he began to sink. When he succumbed to the raging storm and waves around him he not only lost sight of what he was supposed to be doing but who he was doing it for. 

The only way we are able to obey God’s calling and remain steadfast is to focus on Jesus Christ. God is the one who reveals to us our purpose and how to obey it. He is the one who grants us the strength and the ability to carry it out. When we focus on Jesus we can overcome distraction and find the ability to carry out everything he has called us to obey.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:1-2

 

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