Monday, March 14, 2011

Lesson 4 - A Heart That Obeys

And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.. – Acts 13:22

The heart God delights in is compliant, cooperative, and responsive to Him and His commands.

Just as any recipe calls for several ingredients to become what we intend it to be, several ingredients are key to us becoming women after God’s own heart.

We’ve already talked about devotion to God, devotion to His Word, and devotion to prayer.

But one more ingredient – goes into making you and me women after God’s own heart, and that is obedience. The heart God delights in is a heart that is compliant, cooperative, and responsive to Him and His commands – a heart that obeys.


Our study,”A Woman After God’s Own Heart” is taken from God’s description of King David. In Acts 13:22, these words were spoken in startling contrast to the character of the reigning king of Israel, Saul.

Let’s review some background information on this situation:
  • Speaking on behalf of God, the prophet Samuel rebuked Saul for failing to obey God’s specific instructions (1 Samuel 13).
  • Again, and again, Saul overstepped his bounds (set by God)
  • Saul failed to offer God the ultimate sacrifice – obedience from a heart wholly devoted to Him (1 Samuel 15:22).
And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. – 1 Sam. 15:22

 After one extremely serious act of disobedience Samuel delivered a twofold message from God:
  • Your kingdom shall not continue
  • The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart (1 Samuel 13:14)
We witness two very different kinds of hearts here:

 The heart of David
  • David was willing to obey.
  • David served God.
  • David was concerned with following God’s will.
  • David’s heart was centered on God.
  • Even though David didn’t always obey God, he had what mattered over the long haul – a heart after God.
  • David was humbly dependent upon God, trusting in Him and repeatedly acknowledging. (Psalm 27:1)
 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? – Psalm 27:1

 The heart of Saul
  • Saul was satisfied with merely external acts of sacrifice.
  • Saul served himself and did things his way.
  • Saul cared solely for his own will.
  • Saul was centered on Saul.
  • Saul’s devotion to God was impulsive and sporadic.
  • Saul was proud. He relied on his own skill, his own wisdom and judgment, and his arm of flesh.
God gave both of these kings opportunities to lead Israel, but in the end they walked down different paths.

Yes, But How?

How can we follow after David in our devotion to God?

What can we do so that God can grow in us hearts committed to obedience?

God tells us to
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. – Proverbs 4:23

As we walk this path of life, God says we are to ponder the path of our feet (verse 26) and look straight ahead, not side to side (verse 25). Instead of looking about from side to side we are to follow ways that are established by God (verse26).

The key to living a life of obedience is the heart.

 Concentrate on doing what is right!
  • Don’t do anything until you know what is right.
  • Ask God for guidance.
  • Take time to pray, to think, to search the Scriptures, and to ask advice from someone more seasoned in Christ.
  • If someone asks you something that you are unsure of, simply reply “I’m going to have to give this some thought and prayer. I’ll let you know later.”
  • Do nothing until you know what the right thing is.
  • In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. – Proverbs 3:6
  • If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. – James 1:5
  • Act on truth.
  • Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. – James 4:17
 Cease doing what is wrong
  • Stop doing anything contrary to God’s heart.
  • Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. – Philippians 4:8
  • If you find you are already on that sin path…Stop and get out!
  • Call on the Lord! He will give you strength…whatever the temptation, whatever the dangerous path.
  • Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. – Hebrews 2:18
 Confess any wrong
  • You and I are forgiven because Christ covered our sins by His blood through His death.
  • Acknowledge your sins in your heart.
  • If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9
  • Be sure to forsake sin as well. Forsake = renounce or turn away from.
  • He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. – Proverbs 28:13
 Clear up things with others
  • Confession makes things right with God, but if we’ve hurt another person, we need to clear things up with that person too.
  • Admit your wrongful behavior to the person involved.
 Continue on as soon as possible
  • Our enemy Satan delights when our failure to obey God keeps us from serving Him.
  • We can wallow in where we have failed God.
  • God encourages us to move forward after we have confessed and cleared up our wrongful acts.
  • Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:13-14
  • We are to remember the lessons learned, but we are also to train our hearts to obey by obeying this command from God to go on.
Obedience is a foundational stepping-stone on the path of God’s will – the path you’ll be following as a woman after His heart.

Can you pinpoint any behavior in your life that calls for a heart response of confession and a change of location onto the path of obedience?

Acknowledge that area of disobedience, confess that sin, choose to forsake that behavior, and then step right back onto God’s path of beauty, peace, and joy.

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: - 1 Peter 5:6

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