For the grace of God has appeared . . . instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age.
Thomas à Kempis wrote, “The enemy is more easily conquered if he is refused admittance to the mind and is met beyond the threshold when he knocks.” I think that is the truth the apostle Paul had in mind in Ephesians 6 when he commanded us to put on the breastplate of righteousness–that is, obedience–in order to defeat Satan’s attacks. Because Christ has redeemed us, we have an obligation to obey Him. But obedience to God is also to our benefit. As we saw last week, obeying God protects us from Satan’s attacks in our life in four very specific ways.
First of all, obedience protects us from the consequences of sin. God’s grace erases the eternal consequences of sin, but not the temporary consequences of sin. Broken relationships, enslaving addictions–those things represent the fallout from disobeying God. But here is the good news: obeying God can protect us from those very real and painful consequences of sin.
Number two: obedience protects us from doubts about our salvation. In 1 John 3:9-10, John wrote, “No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.” Do those words make you nervous? That is proof that disobedience causes us to doubt our salvation. The greatest assurance of your salvation is your obedience to God.
Number three: obedience protects us from the loss of rewards in heaven. Heaven will not be the same for everyone; there are degrees of heaven dependent upon our obedience to Christ.
Finally, obedience protects us from Satan’s further entrance into our life. If you say no to him at that first knock, many times he will leave. But say yes to the devil once and he will come at you time and time again like a shark that smells blood in the water. Obedience to God is a way to protect yourself against Satan’s further entrance into your life.
Those are four ways that obedience, or practiced righteousness, protects you against Satan. But it is only when obedience becomes the rule rather than the exception in your life that you experience all of these benefits. How do you make obedience part of your everyday life? This week I am going to give you four practical ways that you can make disciplined obedience to God a habit in your life.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Power Of A Habit” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.
Thomas à Kempis, “The Imitation Of Christ,” trans. Aloysius Croft and Harold Bolton (Mineola, NY: Dover, 2003), 10.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org;