We’ve looked at many fruits of revival so far this quarter: prayer, Bible study, witnessing, and service. All of these elements sound like something we want more of in our lives. But most of us just aren’t that attracted to the thought of obedience.

And yet, obedience is another very important outcome of the Holy Spirit’s work of revival in our individual lives, or in our congregations. The lesson this week even calls it a “fruit of revival”. Obedience is evidenced by lives that are changed. If we say we would like to see a change in our life, or in the life of our church, then obedience will be what makes it happen.

I think when it comes to obedience, we tend to think back to our childhoods. One of the first lessons we learned as a child, or hopefully learned, was that of obedience. And ask your parents, or remember your role as a parent yourself, the lesson did not always come easy. Our childish, immature natures at times fought it tooth and nail.mother-child-discipline-small

But we have to admit that the times it came easiest was when we were lucky enough to be experiencing a loving, trusting relationship with someone. Therefore, when the Holy Spirit has showered us with the blessings of revival, of refreshing and filling our souls with love for God, it would only be natural that obedience would not be a burden, but a sweet response to what the Lord has done for us.

Memory Text: “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” II Corinthians 10:4-5 NKJV

Depending on your own experience, one can find the above text quite frightening. This is saying that I must not only have my behavior and actions in order, but my thoughts and feelings as well.

Some of us struggle with the thoughts of pride, selfishness, and prejudice more than we struggle with drug abuse, pornography, lying, or stealing. But God wants us obedient in everything, even those things that only God knows about. Whether your temptations are from within or without, they still require the miracle in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit to be conquered.

Sunday: The Transformed Life

As the lesson reminded us, revival does not consist of just a warm, cozy feeling of being close to Jesus. It really consists in the lives that are changed as a result–the reformation of our characters that comes from obedience on our part.

We have profound examples of obedience throughout the Bible. The disciple Peter stands out for this, as well as Paul. Obedience wasn’t just for the Old Testament times. I think the biggest change for both Peter and Paul was the addition of humility to their character. They were both arrogant and proud previous to their reformations, but the Holy Spirit turned them into great soul-winners for God. God still used their dynamic personalities, but when humility was part of their character, it changed their actions entirely.

Instead of Peter denying Christ three times before the cock crowed, he was shouting his praises to large audiences–after Pentecost. Instead of Saul (later Paul) dragging in Jesus’ followers to be persecuted, he was inviting them in to be baptized in Jesus’ name–following the Holy Ghost meeting him on the road to Damascus. Peter obediently went out to “feed the sheep”. And Paul obediently went out to the Gentiles with the gospel message. They were both obedient, even though it cost them their lives.

Monday: The High Cost of Obedience

There has always been a cost for obedience. Of course, Jesus paid it all on the cross, because His cost included the second death. He died that second death, spoken of in Revelation 20:14, so we can be saved for eternal life. That’s why His cost was matchless.

But there have been innumerable others who have lost their lives for their faith. They paid the ultimate price for their obedience. The lesson mentioned Stephen, the first Christian martyr following Jesus’ ascension. We see in Acts 6 and 7 that his life was marked with faith and the Holy Spirit’s power to do miracles and to eloquently preach to those in the synagogue. This preaching led to his being stoned to death, a price that he was influenced by the Holy Spirit to pay.


Personal Thought Questions: Even though I may not be called upon to die for my faith, am I committed enough to God that I would be able to make that decision, if called to do so? What evidence of commitment can be seen in my life thus far?

Tuesday: When the Spirit Surprises

God definitely surprised Saul that day on the Damascus road. We read about his experience in Acts 9. Previous to this, he was working totally against Christians, doing all he could to see that they were imprisoned for their new beliefs. God had to grab him in a supernatural way, but it must have shocked Saul to realize that his previous work was contrary to what God expected of him.

Sending him to Damascus, blinded by the light of God he had witnessed, he waited and fasted three days. It must have been just as much of a surprise to Ananias, the disciple who was sent by God to go and give Saul his eyesight back.

Both followers at first questioned what God was asking them to do. Saul first asked, “Who are you, Lord?” and later, “What will you have me do?” Ananias reminded God of all the evil Saul had done to the disciples, as if God didn’t know it already. But both followers immediately did what God asked of them, and what a blessing their obedience has been to our world. What a harvest of souls it meant for God’s growing church.

Thought Questions: Have you ever been called to obey God, but did not fully understand at the time why you were doing it? Is it sometimes necessary to obey the Lord regardless of our feelings or understanding? How can we be safe in knowing God’s voice and making sure our call and our obedience are from God?

Wednesday: Sensitivity to the Spirit’s Call

“Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian”, King Agrippa’s response to the Holy Spirit in Acts 26:28, is probably the saddest statement in the whole Bible. He made this statement after a powerful testimony from Paul about his own conversion experience. The Holy Spirit guided Paul’s invitation, but the king did not yield to the convicting power of his call.

Jesus Himself said to us, “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. While you have light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” John 12:35, 36.

The lesson states: “As we obediently follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit and walk in the light of God’s truth, He will continually reveal more light and truth. At the same time, too, the more that we push away the prompting of the Holy Spirit, the more that we resist Him, the harder our hearts will become.”

Thought Questions: How can we be sure we are following God’s light and not the light of man? How many times will God be pushed away? How does it affect our conscience, and can the conscience be repaired of all the past damage we have given it?

Thursday: Spirit-Led Obedience

How can we recognize spirit-led obedience when we see it? The best example is, of course, Jesus Himself. He said in John 8:29: “And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.”

One of the most beautiful descriptions of Jesus’ obedience is found in Philippians 2:5-8:

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” KJV

We see His humility here, and that’s what it took to be obedient. As our humility rises, so will our obedience. I believe our obedience can also raise our humility, but it works much smoother the other way around. When we allow the Holy Spirit to humble us as part of our revival, obedience comes easier, because it’s a product of faith, an inner motive. Obedience was never meant to work from the outside in. When it does, we are in danger of legalism.

In describing Jesus’ obedience in this Philippians passage, our lesson tells us that it was “a life of willing obedience and humble submission to the Father’s will.” It was “a prayerful life devoted to service and ministry, a life consumed with the passionate desire to see others saved in the Father’s kingdom.”

Personal Thought Question: Would the previous description of Jesus’ life also be descriptive of mine? Can others see Jesus in me?

Next week we will see two conditions that must be met for revival to happen–confession and repentance!