It's Okay to Obey

BY: Deana Bell, Director, Restored Marriage
I didn't grow up in a Christian home. My parents taught me to obey them, but I had no idea, even well into my 30s, that I was supposed to obey the Lord. It wasn't until I began being discipled by another Christian friend that the word obedient took on new meaning for me.
One day, when my friend was at my house with her girls, she said to one of them, "I need you to obey me immediately, Sara." This was said in a very loving and kind way, even though her daughter was doing something that she disapproved of. Immediately, her daughter took action and listened to her mother. This scenario ran over and over in my head for days.
Unlike when I spoke to my children, there was no fight, crying, or loud voices. My friend used soft, calming words to speak to her child and her child immediately reacted. I was intrigued and confused all at the same time. Why had my friend's child reacted differently than mine would? Why did it usually take me several tries to get my kids to listen?
Not too long after that, I was watching a popular Christian TV show, where the mom had similar results with her children. This time, the TV mom said, "Immediate is obedient, sweetie." Without thinking, the child just did what the mother asked.
I then started my own journey of understanding obedience.
One day, on my way back to my house from shopping, I was in a hurry. I had left my children with my husband and I knew my time was limited. I had already finished my grocery shopping and was in my car, when I heard what I thought had to be an audible voice say, "At the next light turn left." I shook my head in disbelief, but again heard, "Turn left at the next light."
I had just seconds to make the decision whether or not to follow the voice or continue on my way. Because I was new to hearing the Lord, I wasn't sure if it was Him or not. I decided to turn left at the next light, despite having no idea why I would do such a thing when I was actually supposed to be headed in the other direction.
As soon as I turned, I immediately heard, "Make a right, here." I made the very next right and then heard, "Make another right." The next thing I knew, I was in the parking lot of a popular strip mall. With lots of possible rights and lefts in front of me, I shouted out loud, "Now what, Lord?" Gently I heard, "Pull into that parking spot right over there." I did that as well and put my car in park. I then said out loud to the Lord, "I don't understand, why am I here?"
Just then, a still small voice said, "Deana, you won't always know ahead of time what my path is for you, but you have to trust Me completely. You have to know that My plans for you are good and not destruction. You have to hear My voice and be ready to act. Just like your friend's children, you have to trust that I have your best interests in My heart and I won't ever steer you in the wrong direction."
Immediately I felt tears streaming down my face. I was implicitly aware that the Lord had probably spoken lots of things to me that I never listened to, much less obeyed.
When you are standing for your marriage restoration, you need to foster a close and connected relationship with the Holy Spirit. You need to learn to depend on God for every next step. If you leave it up to yourself or your friends and family to steer you in the right direction, you will probably end up on the wrong path. Most of them mean well but haven't a clue what it means to stand for your covenant.
I know that if I had listened to my friends and family, I would have never gotten to experience restoration in the way that I have in my marriage and family. Not only that, but my relationship with the Lord also grew exponentially during the time that my husband and I were apart. In those months, I had not much but the Lord. I leaned on Him for everything. Every word spoken out of my mouth. Every meditation of my heart that was broken. And every thought that was not my own. I leaned on the Lord when my kids were away from me for the first time ever in their lives and I leaned on the Lord when I found myself lonely and hurting when I was alone.
This is where obedience is sometimes not only contrary but rebellious to our normal thinking. God's ways are supernatural and are usually different than what we had hoped for or imagined.
Imagine telling someone on their wedding day, that 10 years into their marriage there would be infidelity, addiction, and an eventual separation that would lead to the possible demise of their family. If you had been told that, would you have gone through with marrying your spouse? Probably not many would, including me.
But what if the Lord told you, on your wedding day, that you would experience all of those things yet He would be with you through it all and you would be able to glorify and shout His goodness from the rooftops Would you do it then? My answer is "Yes, unequivocally, yes!" Do you know why? Because I know that if I trust in the Lord, beyond my understanding, He and He alone will bring me out of anything the enemy sends my way. And the best part is, I get to partner with His glory. I get to shout it from the rooftops, "God is good!"
I want to share some verses with you that spoke to my heart tonight. These are verses that we should all meditate on when we are tempted to stray from God's best.
Mark 4:11 "You are permitted to understand the secret of the Kingdom of God. But I use parables for everything I say to outsiders, so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled:
When they see what I do
They will learn nothing
When they hear what I say
They will not understand
Otherwise, they will turn to me and be forgiven.
Deuteronomy 28:2 All these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God.
James 4:17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
Psalm 119:165 Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.
Ezekiel 36:27 And I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.
Daniel 11:32 We shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant, but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action.
Ezra 10:4 Arise for it is your task and we are with you; be strong and do it.
Joshua 1:8 The Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth but you shall meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have good success.
My recommendation when you are standing for your marriage or, in fact, anything else in life is this:
O _ Only
B_ Believe
E_ Everlasting
Y_ Yahweh (YHWH)
If it doesn't line up with His Word, it is not from Him. Make sure to take this time to study the Word and know what it says about divorce and covenant. We, at Covenant Keepers, can help you do that. Sign up for a group today and start (or continue) your own journey of obedience.
Deana is currently one of the Directors of Covenant Keepers, International. She graduated from the Dove School of Leadership through Chesapeake Bible College and received her Pastor's license in 2019. Previously she and her husband, Koji, served as the Mid-West Regional Directors of Covenant Keepers and as small group leaders in that area. She has a degree in Secondary Education as well as experience in counseling from a biblical standpoint. For the last 20 years, she has also served her family as a stay-at-home mom and homeschool teacher. Deana's marriage has been restored since 2013.
She is passionate about having a relationship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. She has seen many miracles in her life as well as in the lives of the people around her. At her core, she is an encourager and disciple of Christ, spending most of her days ministering to people and digging into the Word. She also speaks at conferences, loves to write, and teach the Word of God. She and her family currently live and attend church in the Charlotte, NC area.
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