In this matter of obedience, even as in that of faith just discussed, there are also both the gate and the way. First enter the gate of obedience, and then walk the way of obedience. Once a few sisters told me that for them obedience was most difficult. Other sisters, they said, seemed to be able to obey easily, but for them to do so, it was like bearing the sufferings of the entire world. My answer to them was this: if you have never entered the gate of obedience, how can you walk in the way of obedience? Let me say here and now if you have never laid down your will and surrendered to God with single mindedness, if you have never cast aside what you treasure most and denied what you like best, it is futile for you the think of walking in the way of obedience. If a person remains outside the gate, it is a waste of effort trying to persuade him to obey the Lord. Lead him first thru the gate, and then help him to obey God on item after another, thus assisting him in the walk of obedience.
Have you ever once said goodbye to your past?
Have you ever once cut out your hardness of heart?
Have you ever once denied your quest for glory?
Unless you have had such a definite experience, you will not be able to walk in the way of obedience because you have not entered its gate yet.
All Christians should tell the Lord: “Henceforth I am willing to lay down everything, including any person, event or thing, for your sake”. Otherwise, when God says to us today to forsake a certain thing, we reply that we cannot for it is to painful. Tomorrow if He would challenge with another matter, we could not again respond with: “no, I cannot because that is too painful.” It may appear that God is very hard on us. Why? Because we have never left our Father’s house.
I often say that many people have never suffered as Christians because God has never required it of them. Some Christians do suffer, but they are not happy about it. They have not learned. We ought to be sufficiently joyful in suffering. In case you are still ignorant of what God requires of you or what He expects of you. If you do not know what God’s attitude towards certain matters concerning you, then you have not yet entered the gate of obedience. There must be a time when you say to God with single mindedness: “Oh God, hereafter I am willing to lay aside my own idea, expectation, ambition and plan. I will cut them off for your sake.” Otherwise, God will not make any request of you
Let us all remember that if we expect to walk in the way of obedience, we must pass thru the crisis of consecration. Weather we are brothers or sisters, we will make no spiritual progress without consecration. It is imperative we be disarmed by God. We should not dream of walking in the way of obedience if we have never walked thru the gate of obedience. When we are redeemed, we no doubt belong to God. But beginning from the moment of consecration we shall experience that we really do belong to Him.
Is there anyone who has not consecrated himself yet? Have you obeyed because God has touched you on this matter? Are you afraid of Him demand? Perhaps the very matter of which you are afraid is that which God requests of you. Whatever you dare not touch or think, whatever you tend to avoid may very well be the matter about which God will speak to you, but you dare not consider; instead, you try to escape. You think of other things, you talk of other things. You may even go read the bible to flee His voice. Some people flee away when God calls to preach the gospel. Some people are touched by Him on the matter of money or their relationship with other people or with those in the church. Such divine touch, if accepted, is quite painful to the flesh; yet it is a most blessed touch.
Do not harbor the thought that God does not see the recesses of our hearts. For, we are naked and fully exposed before Him. It is best that we say to Him with single-mindedness: “Oh God, hereafter I belong to the Lord Jesus. Hereafter my vision is the Lord Jesus.” And as we do this, we shall pass thru the crisis of obedience. No normal Christian fails to enter this crisis, no good servant of the Lord fails to pass thru this gate.
There are too many Christians today who take the by-pass. This will only extend the distance of the course. Our course shall be much shorted if we are faithful. It will be longer if we are not faithful, because we will circle around it.
My burden has been to show you in these two areas of “trust” and “obey,” the gate always comes first and then the way follows.