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The High Price of Disobedience

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by Gloria Copeland

“God has great and mighty things planned for your life.”

“God has laid out His purpose for you since before you were born.”

We have heard statements like these since the day we were born again, and they are true. God’s Word backs them up. How wonderful it is to know God has a plan for each of us, a good plan to give us a good future (Jeremiah 29:11).

He will fulfill His plans for you and me. But how disappointing it would be to miss any of the details along the way.

Missing a Step

The plans He has for us work out step by step—obeying Him in the little things that lead us right up to the big things. Now, we may miss a step from time to time. We may disobey something He tells us, then look back later and say, “If only I had….”

Sometimes the result of missing a step or disobeying may seem insignificant. But I am convinced there is no insignificant disobedience. We must approach every moment in tune with His voice and obedient to His Word.

We sometimes go through life not paying attention. And then there are times when we miss those wonderful steps in His plan because we are out and out disobedient. When we do that, we are missing some of the precious moments of God’s glorious plan for us—moments we cannot afford to miss.

This side of heaven we will not know how different our lives might have been if we had obeyed. If we knew, we would see that the price of disobedience is much higher than we thought.

The Bible contains several accounts of people who disobeyed God and paid a dear price. Probably one of the most important stories is that of Moses—the lawgiver. He preached “Obey the Lord!” day after day, year after year to the children of Israel. Then we read in Numbers 20, the day came when they needed water. Moses disobeyed the direction God gave him for providing water, and paid a high price for that disobedience. God kept him from leading the children of Israel into the Land of Promise. Something he had been looking forward to for 40 years vanished in that one misstep.

More Than Rules

If we had God’s total plan for our lives laid out before us, we would see that any disobedience costs more than we can afford. Disobedience takes us off track, sometimes causing us to wander around and around when we really didn’t have to. Sometimes when we disobey, we miss a glorious part of His plan that could only occur at a particular place or time in our lives.

God has given us His written Word and placed His Spirit within us to provide moment-by-moment direction for our lives. And when we “wake up” and realize diligent obedience to our heavenly Father is “the way to go,” life becomes a blessed adventure. Even mundane, daily activity becomes a magnificent journey when we live guided by His Spirit and His Word.

As the Body of Christ, our lives are not to be guesswork. God has a purpose for each of us individually, and for the Body as a whole. All we have to do is obey. It couldn’t be any clearer than He spoke it to the children of Israel in Deuteronomy 30:11-14:

This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you to understand or perform. It is not up in heaven, so distant that you must ask, ‘Who will go to heaven and bring it down so we can hear and obey it?’ It is not beyond the sea, so far away that you must ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to bring it to us so we can hear and obey it?’ The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it (New Living Translation).

And Paul reminds us in Romans 10:8 that faith is rooted in obedience: “The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach.”

That’s where faith is—in your mouth and in your heart. Faith is hearing God and obeying Him—it’s as simple as that. The only way any of you will be obedient is to put your faith in God. Obedience doesn’t work because you think God’s Word is a set of rules. Obedience works because you know in your heart and confess with your mouth that God’s Word is your very life. Then you do it!

Getting There—Step by Step

We obey whether it’s easy or hard, whether we like what we hear or not. I was sure I would never like to preach. I had no desire to preach. I didn’t think I could do it. And, I couldn’t have done it in my own strength. But, God gave me the job anyway! And He has been faithful to see me through the assignment.

His plan and purpose for your life is not dependent upon what you can or cannot do. It depends on your doing what He tells you to do when He tells you to do it. He anoints and enables you to do whatever He directs you to do.

Every day of my life is like a treasure hunt! Why? Because I am totally committed to being obedient to God’s voice to me—through the Bible and His Spirit. I stay close to Him. I listen! I hear! I can hardly wait to know what His next step is for me. Whether He says, Go to Tokyo, or Go to the grocery store, every step is significant in fulfilling His purpose for my life.

Your future is tucked away in your heart because God put it there. He gives you insight, and every day He desires to reveal direction to you. Arriving in your future according to the plan of God is totally dependent on hearing and obeying Him, moment by moment, step by step, every day.

When we think of obedience in these terms, it is clear to see that the price for any step of disobedience is more than any of us can afford. And the rewards of obedience—well, every step to His glorious plan for our lives depends on it.