Creflo Dollar - The True Meaning of Obedience - Part 4
Look at 1 Samuel chapter 30, verse 1 and verse 6, in the New Living Translation. 1 Samuel chapter 30, verse 1 and verse 6, in the New Living Translation. I want to take you through just how this worked when even people in the Old Testament did it. Verse 1, "Three days later, when David and his men arrived home at their town of Ziklag, they came home to Ziklag, and they found that the Amalekites had made a raid in Negev and Ziklag. They had crushed Ziklag, and they burned it to the ground, and they took all the family members". But look at verse 6: "David was now in great danger", the families missin', homes destroyed, "because his men were very bitter about losing their sons and daughters", you know, when things are not goin' right, you're lookin' for somebody to blame, "and they began to talk of stoning him. But David", called his lawyer to see if they could get him out.
"But David found strength in the Lord. David found strength in the Lord". It was a serious situation goin' on, but he was relying on God. There were probably a lot of different paths he could've taken, but he decided, "I'm going to trust and rely and lean confidently on God". You gotta get yourself in a position where that's automatic. Your priority is relying on God automatically. You don't even think about it no more. It's automatically, "Let me go pray. Let me go talk with God. Let me go and think, let me go get my Scripture". It's gotta be automatic. David found strength in the Lord, and you know the rest of the story. "Shall we pursue? Shall we overtake"? God spoke to him, told him what to do, and the Bible says, "And David recovered all".
Wonder what've happened had he turned to somethin' else? Let's look at these things in the Old Testament, and then bring 'em on up. Look at 2 Chronicles chapter 14, verse 11 through 12, in the NLT. 2 Chronicles 14:11-12. My God. He said, "Then Asa cried out to the Lord his God, 'O Lord, no one but you can help the powerless against the mighty.'" We gotta get that same attitude. We've allowed the world to condition us into thinking that we got a little God, and when we talk about turnin' to God when somethin' is goin' on in the world, somebody say, "I ain't got time to be playin' church. This is real". Well, so is your God. He says, "No one but you can help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, O Lord our God, for we trust in you alone. It is in your name that we have come against this vast horde".
Now here, "horde" is just a large number of people. "O Lord, you are our God. Do not let mere men prevail against you". Oh, my God. "So the Lord defeated the Ethiopians in the presence of Asa and the army of Judah, and the enemies fled," because, here again, you see somebody that put God first priority and relied on him, and look at what happened. Come on, let's move a little further. 2 Chronicles 16, verse 7, in the NLT. 2 Chronicles 16, verse 7, in the NLT. "Now at the time of Hanani, this seer came to King Asa and told him," watch this, "Because you have put your trust in the king of Aram, you put your trust in the king of Aram, you put your trust somewhere else", now watch what he says, "instead of in the Lord, you missed your chance to destroy the army of the king of Aram", excuse me, "Aram. You missed your chance".
I wonder how many chances we've missed because we chose to rely on somethin' else and not God? See, that's where the world is right now. They are confident in their ability. They're confident in their technology. They're confident in their education. They're confident in everything they got from the world, and you and I have the Almighty God, and we keep missin' our chance because we're seduced by what they're doin', and you don't know that your God was the God that put the technology here. Your God is the God that has wisdom greater than education. We can no longer miss our chance.
I don't know about you, but I done made my mind up. I ain't missin' no more chances to see what God can do with this. "I wanna see what God can do with this debt. I wanna see what God can do with this unemployment". "I wanna see what God can do with this sickness and disease". "I wanna see what God could do with this depression". "I wanna see what God can do with this fear". "I wanna see what God can do with this bad relationship. Before I get the divorce, I wanna see what God can do". You missed your chance with your smart self to see what God could do. All right now, let's inch it up another level here.
Go to Psalms 27, verse 13 and 14, in the NLT. Now, he introduces somethin' here that we gotta get this now. The Old Testament was prophetically tryin' to explain this. He's talkin' about the fact that there was gonna be the coming of a Christ. There was gon' be a new and living way, a new way of living and usin' our faith, and he's trying to get us ready for this. Look at this. David says, "Yet I am confident". That's relyin', isn't it? "I am confident that I will see the Lord's goodness". I just gotta get everybody to say that. Just say it: "I am confident that I will see the Lord's goodness". Can y'all say that just one more time? "I am confident". And every time you say somethin' like that, peace comes and says, "Amen". "I am confident I'll see the Lord's goodness".
Somebody, say, "Yeah, but, Reverend, you don't know where I am". I am confident to see the Lord, "Yeah, but I'm in a ditch". "I am confident that he can deliver you up out of a ditch. You ain't the first one that has fallen into a ditch". God has a master's degree in pickin' folks up out of ditches. "I am confident that I will see the Lord's goodness while I am here in the land of the living". So we're not talkin' about when ya die and go to heaven. He's talkin' about while you are alive today in the middle of a pandemic, in the middle of shortage, in the middle of a war, "I am confident that I'm gon' see the Lord's goodness in the land of the living".
What do I need to do? "Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave while you're waiting. Be courageous while you're waiting. They gon' talk about you while you're waitin'. They gon' call ya crazy while you're waiting. They gon' say you're disconnected from reality while you're waiting". He says, "But, yes, wait patiently for the Lord". Now, I looked, and I said, "Now, wait a minute now, Lord. We're talkin' about relying on God. Now you're talkin' about 'waiting on the Lord.'" What is "waiting on the Lord"? It means the same thing as "relying". It means "looking to him". It means "consulting or seeking his will before any human aid is pursued". We "wait on the Lord" when we "pause and pray before we act". You do like your grandmama used to do.
I heard this thing this mornin'. You can do like your grandmama used to do: When somethin' go wrong, she go around and say, "Baby, you got a closet". "Well, Grandma, what that gotta do with anything"? "Do you have a closet"? Grandmama go in that closet and shut the door. What is she doin'? She's relying on Jesus before consulting any human aid. Now, we love consultin' any human aid. Let you get broke in a, "Can ya help me out"? "Have you talked to Jesus"? "No". "Well, don't you think you ought to let him have an opportunity to see what he gon' do"? "Why? You got it". I'm like, "I've got to see what you know. Uh-uh, 'cause I'm not gon' be your god".
When was the last time you pursued him before you pursued human aid, that you go, gettin' ready to miss another chance? God knew that situation was gonna happen before the foundations of the world. He already had the answer. He already had the situation set up, and you would not even rely on him 'cause you didn't trust him, and you didn't believe him, and trouble will tell you everything you need to know about who's priority in your life. How many chances are we gon' let go by because we are lusting after somethin' we want and not seeing the bigger picture down the road? Just lettin' you think about it. Selah. Wait patiently for him. Wait patiently for Him.
Somebody, say, "What that gon' do"? All right, go to Isaiah 64, verse 4, in the NLT. "Wait patient on him? What that gon' do"? Look to him. Consult him. Seek him. Rely on him. Pursue him. You say you're a Christian? Christianity is not about your T-shirt with your John 3:16 Scripture on the front and your cross on the back. It's really living this now, and God's got some big stuff he tryin' to do for those who will depend on him. His grace is that unmerited, abounding provision in the operation of his unrestrained, infinite love that'll go through Jesus Christ for you and for me, especially for those who depend and reply upon him. "Well, what gon' happen if I don't"? Well, "For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him".
How many of you wanna employ God into your life this mornin'? He said he'll go to work for somebody who will rely on him. He'll go to work for someone. I mean, aren't you just a little bit interested in just, kind of, seeing what would happen if I just back up and say, "All right, Lord, I'm gon' rely on you"? "I'm gon' rely on you". Sometimes you just gotta back off on stuff. Sometimes you should just make your mind up: "You know what? I really want that, but I gotta trust God". God's tryin' to do somethin' better than what you want, but you won't give him a chance. Wonder what's been in the booth in the back in the corner in the dark of your life that you keep pushin' back 'cause you won't rely on him? Are ya listenin' to me now?
The gospel of grace points us to Jesus and who we are in him, and in him, watch this, this is radical, In him, we are perfect. I rely on me being complete only in him, not in me. You have to stop relying on yourself. You gotta put that aside. I am perfect in him. I am favored in him. I am favored. In him I am beloved. In him, I've qualified. In him, again, I'm blameless. In him, I'm righteous in God's sight because of what Jesus has done for me, because of what Jesus has done for you. He is no longer looking at you without looking at you through Jesus. Our righteousness is not based on anything we've done for him, but it's based on everything that he's done for us. My righteousness is not based on anything that I have done for Jesus. My righteousness is based on everything that Jesus has done for me. And we're still tryin' to get righteousness based on what we've done for him.
So obedience under the New Covenant is all about embracing grace. Every gift, blessing, and manifestation of our righteousness and holy nature that's in this New Covenant comes through receiving and not through achieving. My righteousness comes through receiving, not by me achieving my righteousness. My holiness comes through receiving from him, not I've achieved it from him. My blessings come because I've received it from him, not because I achieved it from him. My wisdom comes because I've received it from him, not because I achieved it. And the church today, we are "achieving-minded". We're thinkin', "Let's do what we gotta do so we can achieve righteousness, achieve holiness, achieve blessings," sweatin' like a sinner tryin' to achieve something that God wants us to receive.
Obedience in the New Testament is believing, right? Hebrews chapter 3, verse 18 to 19. Obedience is received, not achieved. Obedience is a fruit that comes from grace. Now, I'm gon' say it a couple of times, then I'mma explain it to you. Obedience is a gift of grace that springs forth from a revelation of how much the Father loves us. Obedience is a gift of grace that springs forth from a revelation of how much the Father loves us. Now, if I was just preaching this stuff to ya, not living it, I would not even know how to explain that statement, but I can 'cause I'm living this. My faith rests in the love of God which means that, because he loves me and I have faith that he heals me, because he loves me and I have faith that I am righteous, because he loves me, watch this, I can be obedient. Because he loves me, I can be obedient.
So here's the illustration here, and everyone who lives this life of grace, you know, immediately, you'll see what I'm talkin' about. Temptation knocks on the door for you to do somethin' that's missin' the mark, that's out of order, to sin, but you think about how much God loves you, and then you receive obedience to overcome whatever temptation is knockin' on the door. God loves me, therefore, I can overcome that. "Now unto him who is able to keep me from falling," he's able to keep me from falling, but your focus is on your faith resting in his love.
So obedience is not somethin' that I achieve: "Oh, I was able to overcome that temptation". "Oh, I obeyed God. I did this". No, no, no, no, no, no. Obedience is a fruit that I received, oh, because I know he loves me, and I rely on him, and I know I'm nothin' without him, and, yet no matter what I need, he is the vine. I'm the branch. He will allow the fruit of obedience to get to me from him, and now I have received obedience to overcome anything because of the revelation of the love that I have concerning him. You know what? You know how you stop a lot of junk in your life? You're relying on Jesus and his unrestrained love for you. "God loves me, therefore, I'm righteous," but watch this: "God loves me, therefore, I don't have to submit to that sin. God loves me, therefore, I don't have to do what I used to do. God loves me, therefore, I don't have to be addicted and go back".
See, whatever you used to do, it ain't like it disappeared from your head. It's still wander around there every now and then, but you don't go in at it because, every time you look that it's there, you think, "Well, I'm tempted to do it again". Not really. It's there, and you know you did it, but then you realize, "I don't wanna do that no more because the spirit of love has been workin' in me, and he has rearranged and changed things. He's taken away my old want-to and given me a new want-to, and I rely on him to keep me out of this darkness". "Now unto him who is able to keep me from falling, and to present me faultless before the Almighty God".
There's no way grace can be responsible for increasing sin. Grace teaches you how to live godly. Grace teaches you how to love what's not lovely. Grace gives you a tolerance for the ugly. I mean, grace will have you loving, and I'm talkin' about for-real loving it. Grace will have you thinkin' in your mind your enemy is your best friend. When was the last time you was in prayer? God does this to me all the time, and I think about "Oh, what else do I need to talk to you about"? He says, "Bless your enemies". "Huh? You bless 'em," heh-heh, heh-heh, heh-heh, "No, bless your enemies". I mean, seriously, somebody that just make your skin crawl, bless 'em. Somethin' happens to you when you can open your mouth up and release a blessin' on 'em. That's fruit that's received, not achieved.