Welcome back to online Bible study at Women’s Bible Café! This week we are discussing Unit 9 of Experiencing God by Henry and Richard Blackaby – “Experiencing God Through Obedience.” This is where the rubber meets the road, ladies! This week we talk about the final reality of Experiencing God – Reality # 7 – which says “You come to know God by experience as you obey Him, and He accomplishes His work through you.”
Our daily lessons this week included the following topics:
- Obedience, Part I
- Obedience, Part II
- God Works Through You
- You Come to Know God
- Questions and Answers
What exactly is obedience? Our lesson gives us several definitions. First, obedience is the outward expression of your love for God. (p. 180). Second, obedience brings joy and uninterrupted fellowship with God (p. 186). Third, obedience is doing what is commanded (p. 187). The first two of these definitions seem to address the result of obedience, rather than what it actually is. So, let’s look at the third.
It is one thing to want to be obedient to God and another to actually do it. What does obedience actually require? Our efforts to understand the answer to that question often lead us to look for an assignment from God, some new and specific way to show our willingness to obey Him. But that isn’t what God is asking us to do. God wants us to start by obeying the instructions He has already given us. Then, when He observes our lives and sees our obedience, He may give us a larger assignment. God has given us the Ten Commandments, and many additional commands, in the Bible. We are not given individual instructions telling us which of those commandments we are to obey. We are to obey them all. So start there…and think about how well you are doing on that assignment before you ask for another.
Our memory verse for this week John 14:23 NIV. Let’s look at that verse as well as one preceding it and one following:
“Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love Him and show myself to him.” (v. 21)
“Jesus replied, ‘If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.’” (v. 23)
“He who does not love me will not obey my teaching”. (v. 24)
What these verses are saying is, in essence, that the way to grow closer to God, and to have Him draw closer to you, is OBEDIENCE. He will then use you to accomplish His work and you will come to know Him by experience. So once again we see that it is all about the relationship we have with God – we obey, He works through us, we come to know Him by experience. (p. 180). Pretty awesome, don’t you think?
So, how are you doing on the obedience front? Have you obeyed and allowed God to work through you lately? On pg. 190 of our study, Blackaby asks the question “Has God recently done something through you that caused you to rejoice?” He then reminds us to be careful about any testimony we give about what God has done to be sure that it gives glory only to Him. I hesitated to include this story here because I hope it does not sound boastful. I ultimately decided to include it as an example from my life of how God works through us in the little things as well as the big.
When I first thought about my answer to this question, nothing immediately came to mind. Then I remembered something that made me smile. On my mission trip to South Africa I met some really terrific new people. One young man in my group stood out in his openness, his drive and his obvious love for the Lord. I couldn’t help thinking that my daughter – who has been lamenting about how difficult it is for 20-something women to meet someone who shares their faith and values – really needed to meet this guy. But I’m not that kind of a mom! One evening the conversation in our group turned to dating, and the difficulties of finding someone who shares your faith and values. This young man confessed that he was single and looking for a nice Christian girl. I felt a nudge that kept getting stronger. Really, God? The next day, I did the unthinkable. I showed him my daughter’s picture in my phone and told him a little about her. He clearly approved but we left it at that. I was still not that kind of mom! On the last night of our trip, we were given little cards and asked to write notes of encouragement to our group-mates focusing on what they needed to do when they got home to follow up on what had happened in Africa. I felt a nudge the size of a 2×4. Okay, God – message received and understood! I wrote a note to this young man, included my daughter’s phone number and encouraged him to call her. Handing that to him was totally out of character for me but it I did it, totally on auto-pilot, like it wasn’t really me, because it wasn’t. And after I did that, I felt total peace. My part in this was done. It was up to him. He called. Last weekend they changed their Facebook statuses to “In a Relationship”. I have no idea where this will lead (though I have a few suggestions should God ever ask my opinion!). I just know that I did what God asked of me. I’m still not that kind of mom – but God is that kind of God!
YOUR ASSIGNMENT FOR THE WEEK:
- Join a small group for study and fellowship.
- Complete Week 10 in your Experiencing God workbook.
- Optional: Watch the Session 10 video or listen to the audio.
- Record your thoughts in your spiritual journal.
- Pray and ask God how He wants you to obey Him.
BIBLE STUDY TIP FOR THE WEEK:
Our tip for this week is simply SIMPLIFY!
As we come into the homestretch of this study of Experiencing God, hopefully you are beginning to see that the Blackaby’s main points are very simple. The seven basic principles of Experiencing God summarize basic principles of Christianity. There is no need to reinvent the wheel, no need to spend years studying the material, no need to wait before you act. You can start doing this stuff right now.
How? Let me encourage you to go back to basics.
- Read your Bible. No need for in depth study. Just read and let it speak to you. Go to the verses that you know – John 3:16, Matthew 28: 19-20, John 15: 5, Matthew 22:37-38, Hebrews 10:24-25 – and look at the context, the surrounding verses, and ask God what He wants you to do in response.
- Talk to God. And listen to Him. Daily. Record what He says in your spiritual journal.
- Be obedient in the little things, the day to day stuff that we all mess up on all the time.
- Work on yourself. Don’t worry about saving the world today. Worry about saving you. There will be plenty of time to tackle the world when God decides to work through you.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR THIS WEEK (answer in your small group or post your answers here):
- How do you think God would describe your level of obedience to Him? Is there something you know God wants you to do that you are not presently doing? (p. 183)
- Look at Question #4 on pg. 184 in your workbook. These are some pretty deep questions. Can you answer one of these?
- What is one command or instruction you have obeyed?
- What is one long-term instruction to which you have only begun your obedience?
- What is one response that was probably your idea and not God’s directive?
- What is one command you have not obeyed?
- Describe one thing God has done to bring meaning to your life through a God-sized task, faith, and obedience. (p. 188)
- How do think you should respond when God has not given you the kind of assignment you want? (p. 193)
- When you sense that God is leading you in a particular direction, you may ask yourself, Is this God, me or Satan? How can you prepare yourself to know clearly a word from God? (p. 195)
See you next week!