Hearing God in the secret place is one of the greatest keys to living the Christian life. However, it must be linked with its corollary: radical obedience. We hear, and then we do. “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves”. James 1:22
By “radical obedience,” I mean immediate obedience that fulfills the commandment to its fullest measure. Radical obedience does not seek to comply to the minimal standards but pursues extravagant, lavish fulfillment. If Jesus says, “Sell all,” then we sell all! Immediately.
The New Testament word for obedience, hupakoe, is a compound word of two Greek words, hupo, “under,” and akouo, “to hear.” So to obey is “to hear under.” Obedience involves listening attentively with a heart of compliant submission and, then, obeying His Word.
When selling our house a few years back, my wife Loretta and I decided to sell our custom made furniture. I placed all our furniture with the exception of our personal pictures and bedding out in front to have an estate sale. I began to write on a cardboard For Sale and wrote down an F when all of a sudden I heard the Lord speak into my ear and say, “I will spell it for you”. I said, “No worries I can spell For Sale!” He then said, “Let me spell it!” “Okay“ I said. He proceeded to give me an “F an O then an R and continued to spell F R E E”. The Lord wanted to have me give everything we had away for free. My wife and I were in agreement and were obedient to God’s command. We didn’t know that in the future God would have us have favor by giving us a Mini-Mansion to live in and blessing us with $70,000.00 to buy our furniture for it. All because of radical obedience.
Implicit obedience starts, for every one of us, not in doing good works but in sitting at His feet and hearing His word. Devotion to the secret place is the saint’s first great act of obedience. Jesus revealed this in Mark 3:33-35 “Who is My mother, or My brothers?” And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother. The will of God in that moment was for the people to sit at Jesus’ feet and hear his word. Until you attend to this responsibility first, you will be constantly frustrated in your inability to uncover the joys of radical obedience. Works of service gain their spiritual energy from the furnace of a fiery love relationship at Jesus’ feet. The true fulfillment of serving Jesus is discovered when we get first things first: First we sit and listen, and then we go and do.
Instead of focusing on being creative, focus on being obedient. Give your best energies to waiting on God in His presence, listening for His voice, and then moving out in action only when He has spoken. There’s no sense in coming up with your own ideas when it’s only God’s counsel that will stand! I’m saying it several different ways: The key is in hearing and obeying. Obedience Unlocks Eternally Abundant Life. Jesus said, “‘And I know that His command is everlasting life “John 12:50.
Obedience Incurs the Gaze of God.
God looks with special interest and affection upon the one who is devoted to obedience. He said it this way, ‘”But on this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word”’ Isaiah 66:2.
Obedience Produces Greater Intimacy.
One of the most powerful statements Jesus made on earth is right here: “‘He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him’” John 14:22. Jesus said obedience is the proof of love, and love brings us into incredible intimacy with the Father. Furthermore, obedience unlocks the affections of Christ and his self-disclosure to the human heart. There’s nothing more I long for than for Jesus to manifest himself to me! For the hope of beholding him I will embrace any and every command of his mouth. Let us choose to obey him.