Obedience is not the most popular word these days. But in 1 Samuel 15.22, the Bible says obedience is better than sacrifice. In other words, we can live sacrificially by tithing, giving to the poor and so on – but the big question is, can you be told what to do? Are you teachable?
Many people don’t like to be told what to do. There are certain attitudes and spirits that you simply cannot teach. You cannot teach an arrogant spirit. You cannot teach a know-it-all spirit. You cannot teach a defensive spirit. You cannot teach a proud spirit… yet a humble spirit cannot remain unteachable.
Concerning obedience, the condition of our spirit is critical. How easily can you be told? Unfortunately, sometimes the older you are or the further you go in life, the more successful you are or just in general, people can become increasingly resistant to receiving counsel.
I have a friend with whom I get together regularly with over breakfast whenever we are both in town. We both live extremely busy lives and have very different worlds, but we have the kind of connection where we can speak openly and honestly to one another about our respective lives. I greatly value this friendship; it has helped me navigate many difficult seasons through the years.
Who have you allowed the right to speak into your life? It’s not about listening to every opinion – that will only confuse you. It is about allowing trusted people to speak honestly to you.
Mark 10 talks about the rich, young ruler who had been living sacrificially by the commandments. But when Jesus told him what he needed to do, he didn’t like it.
Verse 21 says:
Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him…
Think about that for a moment. Who do you allow to love you enough to look you in the eye and tell you not what you want to hear, but what you need to hear? Sadly this young man would not receive what Jesus said to him and he “went away sorrowful”. We never hear of him again. A right spirit is humble enough to remain teachable.
Compare him with Moses, a leader of millions and used to being in charge. Exodus 18 describes how his father-in-law Jethro, brings correction and instruction. In verse 17 Jethro says, “The thing that you do is not good.” Verse 24 goes on to say: “Moses heeded the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said.” Moses had a teachable spirit.
Are you teachable? Do you interpret things to suit yourself rather than learning the power of obedience? If you just won’t be told then you will sabotage your future. All of us need people sometimes who will save us from ourselves!
Lord God, may I have a teachable spirit. Bring the right people into my life who can speak to me with godly wisdom and discernment, and give me a heart to hear and receive.
Romans 5:19 (NKJV)
Romans 6:16 (Amplified)
Hebrews 5:8 (EXB)