Pastor Kevin Atkinson
“What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’
“‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.
“Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.
“Which of the two did what his father wanted?”
“The first,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him. - Matthew 21:28-32
Today, Pastor Kevin Atkinson reminds us that we’re taught to obey God, as well as those in authority over us. The problem with obedience is simply our reluctance to obey.
We struggle with obedience not because we have a hearing problem, but because we have a doing problem! Sometimes this is simply rebellion (“I don’t want to”), and other times it’s because of a lack of self-worth (“I’m afraid to”). Fear of failure, thinking we’ll get it wrong again, causes us to then make excuses about why we can’t obey. But that then robs us of the greater joy of seeing God work miracles.
We can practice quick obedience by first saying yes from a place of trust, not timidity. Then we practice follow-through: Say-so, do-so! We do what we say we’ll do.
Finally, when we practice staying sensitive to the Holy Spirit, we grow curious about what His next step is. We realize that what God has for us, and for everybody, is good things, and it shapes our prayers as an expectant, “What else can I do?” because we are confident that at the end of this story is a joyous victory!
Question: Do you struggle with obedience?
Prayer Starter: If you are in a pattern of making excuses rather than quickly obeying, or you struggle with self-worth, take a moment right now to ask the Holy Spirit to show you where this is coming from. Our God loves to trade up! He loves to take our brokenness and despair and make something beautiful. Whatever you’re carrying in your heart—rejection, rebellion, distrust, fear, pain, grief, sickness, or loneliness—picture yourself handing that to God to carry for you. Ask Him, “What do You have for me in exchange?” (see Isaiah 61:3).
Family Chat: Do you struggle with obedience? Are your insides and outsides mismatched?
Take Action: If either answer is yes, take some time today to do a heart inventory and ask God to help you be real in your conversations with Him. (See the suggested Prayer Starter.) As Pastor Rick says, “Be real, because fake is exhausting!”