We recently studied the book of Jonah. One of the lessons from the book is that obedience (and disobedience) to the Lord impacts those around us significantly. Jonah’s obedience impacted not only his life, but the lives of the sailors on the ship to Tarshish and the Ninevites. In the Old Testament we see God working hard to instill this principle in His people by establishing community rules, community blessings and community punishments. One man sins in secret (Achan) and the army loses its battle at Ai. One woman helps the spies and she saves not only herself but also her family. In doing so Rahab became a great grandmother of David — that puts her in the direct lineage of Jesus! Her obedience has had a direct impact on my life! Now that’s far reaching affects!

Yes, Your Obedience Impacts Others
We forget this in our society. “I’m my own person” we think. “I can do what I want with my body” we hear. And we live our lives oblivious of the wear and tear on those around us — both those we know and those we don’t know.

It’s a scary thing to think that my obedience to the Lord can impact people I’ve never met and will never know. But it can and I would even go further to say that it does. Because when I only say “it can” that leaves an “out” for me to think “well, yeah, it CAN, but will it really?” Yes, it really will.

A.W. Tozer was saved in Akron, Ohio after walking past a church and hearing the preacher say “If you want to know Jesus, go to your attic and ask God to reveal Him to you.” C.S. Lewis was curious so he followed the preacher’s instructions. And He came to know Christ. Every single person who has been impacted by anyone who has been impacted by anything C.S. Lewis wrote or said owes a debt to that unnamed preacher in Akron, Ohio. Mr. No Name Preacher’s obedience to the Lord has impacted my life.

Your Struggles in Obedience Lead to Your Maturity
I have occasionally had people tell me that something I did or said really impacted them and strengthened their walk with the Lord. My typical reaction is “really?” or “who, me?” Now I’m Christian-ized enough to actually say something like “Praise God!” or “God is good, isn’t He?” But I’m thinking “are you kidding me? I didn’t do anything? I’m just struggling to live out my own walk with Him.”

But it’s in that struggle of everyday living that we rub shoulders with others and that rubbing sometimes offers encourages, sometimes sharpens edges that have become dull and sometimes rounds off overly sharp edges. “Maturity flows form the mundane,” our pastor said last week. The getting up and going to work every day, the taking care of the family, the give and take of a good marriage. The mundane.

God Has Already Figured Out All There is to Figure Out in Your Obedience
Sometimes I’m not quickly obedient because I think my obedience will have a negative impact on others around me. How wrong is that thinking? If God has told me to do something, yes I need to be sensitive to those around me, but I also need to trust that He has (or will) use my obedience to work in their lives — regardless of what it seems to me the (negative) impact of that obedience will be. Because He’s already figured out all that stuff. All I need to do is take the next step of obedience. Because it really does impact those around me…for their good as well as mine.

Comment by dansdesk
Eli starts Kindergarten today. I have this constantly nagging thought about how much my disobedience will affect him and his siblings. I so desperately want them not to repeat my sins. I once heard Rob Bell say that one way to honor your father and mother was not to repeat their sins.
Tuesday August 21, 2007 – 06:28am (EDT)

Response by Sandyhov
Big Day at the Grhamm household!
Tuesday August 21, 2007 – 10:25am (EDT)

Comment by Sandyhov
I’ve been pondering Dan’s last comment…that he once heard Rob Bell say that one way to honor your father and mother is not to repeat their sins. I’m not sure how that works…I guess it’s honoring to them because it means we were paying attention? I agree that a life well-lived honors our parents. Otherwise, I don’t quite get the connection. Anybody out there have any thots?
Thursday August 23, 2007 – 10:55pm (EDT)

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