Obedience Changes Everything
In this segment, we share a talk that Pastor Steve Gallagher gave to our Residential Program students. He encourages us that if our heart attitude is simply to listen and obey God’s voice in our daily life, God will transform our lives. (From Podcast Episode #348 - The Church Addicted: When We Stopped Caring About Obedience)
I had something on my heart before Jeff even started sharing a little earlier, and it has to do with obedience. Pastor Jeff and the others up here, we can create an atmosphere because of our love for the Lord, which you can enter. But if you ever want it to become your own, and if want to get beyond just an emotional experience, your level of obedience needs to deepen. You no longer have the luxury to do the smorgasbord Christianity thing, to pick and choose when you're going to obey. Something has got to change.
I’d like to make a soft appeal to your heart. I was thinking back to earlier in life when I was a Christian and struggling, and how I would hear a sermon, I would read a book, which were sometimes good words. But then I’d just kind of blow it off, and go home and I’d forget about it. I never let things penetrate. So, I never changed. I remember in 1985, I don't know why things started changing, but I started obeying. That's really what it boiled down to. I just started obeying. I was just talking to a board member, and I was telling him about something that happened back in 1985. The Lord started dealing with me on some things, and I started finally doing what He was saying. And things started changing. Imagine that! Things actually started changing. My faith started growing, and my sight of God started growing, and I started wanting to do the right thing.
But you have got to get out of this shallow Christianity. You have got to get to where you start really obeying the Lord from the heart. That's how you prepare your heart. You have the attitude, “Lord, whatever you want me to do I am going to do it.” You have to come to God with that attitude. If you don't come to God with that attitude, what you are is a rebel. But there are no rebels in heaven. We just sang a nice little song. We all want to be there, amen? We all want to be there, but we've got to obey the Lord. I don't know what convoluted doctrine you've come up with over the years that has allowed for this life that you've led. I was in the same thing. Trust me, if you don't know what it means to obey God from the heart, you will not be there. You just won't.
I was thinking of Matthew 7:22, where Jesus said, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, didn't we prophesy in your name and didn't we speak in tongues and then we cast out devils?” In other words, this kind of Christian will not mind doing things. They'll tithe, they'll go to church and they'll get involved and do some things. But you know what the bottom line is? They are always in control, and they decide when and how they will obey. And Jesus said, it’s those who obey my father's will, who will be in heaven (Matthew 7:21). So, you've got to learn what that means for your life. You've got to come to grips with this thing. What is God asking of you?
I bet right now He's dealing with many of you about some particular issue or another. Maybe you're resisting Him, or you have been. Don't be like that. You're just wasting your time. You won't get anything. I don't want to make this a big speech tonight. I'm just imploring you to go deeper. Go deeper with the Lord. I'm telling you, things will change in your life like they did for Steve Gallagher 26 years ago. Would I have guessed that a year later, I'd be sharing my testimony on the 700 Club? No, no way. Who knows what God will do with your life? Who can imagine? Who would have thought that in three years I'd be on the Oprah Winfrey Show sharing my testimony? Why? Because this pervert in California just started doing what he was told to do, finally.
There is nothing special about Steve Gallagher. Trust me. I'm not some great guy or something. I was a jerk. I was a rebel. I was stubborn, I was all those things. But something happened and I started obeying the Lord, and everything turned on a dime, really. So, start obeying Him from the heart. Amen.