Obedience Equals Blessing

James 1:22-25

22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

Mask Mandate

Were you alarmed when the pandemic broke out? What was your reaction when the government mandated wearing mask? Were you upset? Or, did you appreciate it? Now that the Manitoba government has lifted its indoor mask mandate across the province, do you have peace of mind? Are you concerned? It is wise to take precautions!

The government may mandate beneficial advisories but, not everyone can easily appreciate. Health authorities would advise what they consider as helpful, but still human instinct of adventurism can influence individuals to choose what they like to do.

Wearing mask or not, our health is at stake. Concern about health is historical struggle in the society. And, news of invasion of other kingdoms affected the economy. Pandemic and international conflict had affected the economy. What can we do?


Prophet Elisha warned about economic crisis. He instructed the woman whose son he had restored to life to take her family abroad for seven years. After seven years, she came back and went to appeal to the king for her house and land.

It says in 2 Kings 8:5-6, 5Just as Gehazi was telling the king how Elisha had restored the dead to life, the woman whose son Elisha had brought back to life came to appeal to the king for her house and land. Gehazi said, “This is the woman, my lord the king, and this is her son whom Elisha restored to life.” 6The king asked the woman about it, and she told him. Then he assigned an official to her case and said to him, “Give back everything that belonged to her, including all the income from her land from the day she left the country until now.”

            Listen: When the Lord gives instructions, his blessing for obedience is certain. If it is very hard for you to obey the Lord, pray and tell the Lord your reason why you cannot obey or why you wish to delay your obedience. If you need concrete assurance of the promise of blessing for obedience, ask the Lord to enable you to see them practically.

Pray for increase of faith, wisdom and cheerful willingness to obey. Don’t deceive yourself. Make sure that you have faith in Christ. Obedience to the instruction of the Lord is the most practical proof that we sincerely believe him. The more we obey the Lord, the more we will certainly experience much blessing. Obedience equals blessing!

You believe that Jesus Christ can save believers from the slavery of sin, right? Can you believe that he can save us even from the slavery of disobedience or from anything that causes us to sin? Surely, he can! Christ our Savior can save us from any bondage.

Can you believe with confidence that the Lord has wonderful plan in your life?

Sincerely pray for strong faith to obey him with gladness; you will be blessed.

Have you personally explored the wonderful plan of the Lord for you?  Can you accept that godly principles can point to the wonderful plan of God for you? How many among us have presumed that the wonderful plan of God includes material blessings, personal attainments or practical achievements? What do you have in mind right now?

Let’s consider how godly principles direct us to the wonderful plan of God for us.

Personally: What specific purpose has the Lord assigned for you practically?

Well, all believers are spiritual descendants of Abraham, can you accept that?

And since by faith, we acknowledge that we are descendants of Abraham, the mission purpose that God gave him is also our mission, right? Have you realized that?

The Lord instructed Abraham to leave his country and gave him a very great plan.

The Lord declares his worldwide plan to Abraham in Genesis 22:18, 18Through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.

What’s the grand plan of God? Offspring of Abraham, his descendants (of course, believers are included) serve as channels, vessels for God to bless all nations, cultural, tribal and ethnic groups. Can you accept that God had chosen you as godly vessel to share the good news of salvation to individuals he had already prepared for you?

Don’t try to deceive yourself. If you believe or even hesitate then, listen carefully!

  1.  Listen

22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.

Imagine this: It’s your first date. You dressed up; you put on your make up; when you look at the mirror, your dress and make up look very foolish; but, you ignored what you look like in the mirror because you have limited time; you don’t want to be late of your first date; and so, you went to an appointment as disappointment to your date.

The Scripture reflects to us the foolishness we have to change from our lifestyle.

In the Scripture, when instruction to “listen” is added to a command, obedience is expected to happen next. Listening and not taking action is self-deception to hearers.

It is very common, even to professional counselors; they claim, “I am listening!” They may have heard you said something; they may even repeat exactly word-for-word, but they will not do anything about it. They just served as your sounding board. Truly, there are people who voice out their opinion, and they want you as sounding boards.

It’s sad but, many church attendees prefer to be sounding boards for preachers.

After listening to sermons, they go home as if they heard nothing – no transformation.

We should attend church and learn, at least, one godly principle we can apply in life.

If you heard a message that makes you anxious, remember Philippians 4:6-9. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

            “Practice” is not just a onetime activity. It practically involves our whole being as if everything we face or encounter in this life will depend upon our practice habit. As we practice godly principle, we overcome challenges in life and expect blessings.

And, habitual practice of godly principle builds godly character and lifestyle in us!

The word of the Lord is simple; it’s easy to understand. But with human effort, godly principles are hard to practice consistently? We’ve got to submit to the Lordship of Christ. When he empowers us, we can practice spiritual principles and we can cheerfully obey his godly instructions. It is strongly advisable that before or even at the moment of listening to the word of God, pray to be filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit of God.

Pray until you sense the peace of God that transcends all understanding. We do not understand all situations that he allows to happen, but if peace from God guards our hearts and minds, we can be safe and not emotionally or mentally confused.

Coming to worship is very precious moment. Don’t just waste it; listen to godly principles very carefully. Why? If we ignore godly instructions, we ignore his blessing. But once we attentively listen and carefully obey godly principles, we’re surely blessed.

If we listen attentively and carefully follow godly principles, our confidence in the Lord grows stronger. The word of God serves as mirror, a reflector of spiritual maturity.


Have you ever taken selfie pictures in washroom? Everyone does! If you plan to post your selfie pictures in your social media, double check it. Be aware! Be discreet! Pictures can expose foolishness of careless individuals who try to deceive subscribers. Anyone is free to do what they want to do, but learn to use your freedom productively.

There are online selfie pictures with background that includes dirty toilet bowl, cat drinking on the toilet bowl or mirror that reflects shameless attitude of the person taking selfie. Are they intentionally not edited just to expose unpolished manners?

Well, our lifestyle and manners as believers can expose us also, if we follow godly principles more seriously, if we have already grown mature spiritually or just not yet, or if we are simply ignorant of the blessing included to the commands of the Lord.

Ignorance to the blessing included to godly commands is reality to the Israelites.

It says in Deuteronomy 28:1-3, 1If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. 2All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God: 3You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.

The term “If” signifies condition. The condition of blessing is obedience. The love of the Lord is unconditional, but his blessings are conditional dependent on obedience.

After Moses died, the Lord chose Joshua, and he led Israel into the Promise Land.

Listen. In Hebrew, the name “Joshua” means “Lord is salvation.” And, the Greek form of “Joshua” is “Jesus” which also means “Lord is salvation” or “Yahweh saves.”

And, just as Joshua led Israel into the “Promise Land,” Jesus takes believers into his heaven for all eternity. When Israel followed the instruction of Joshua, they were victorious. Similarly, if we follow the instructions of Jesus, we can victorious in life.

And what may happen, when we have hesitation or lapses and disobey the Lord?

Disobedience to the word of the Lord can slow down our spiritual maturity progress.

Listen: Israel was also defeated when Israelite named Achan sinned against the Lord; after Achan was punished for his sin, Israel was victorious again.

Certainly, we also have our personal share of carelessness. We perform chores on our own human effort, and oftentimes, we endure failures. Why? Failures should remind us to re-evaluate our spiritual status. Are we obedient to the Lord? Do we follow godly principles that the Lord wants us to take? We should detour from worldly path of life.

When difficult challenges catch our attention, observe and listen very carefully. The Lord might be telling us to follow a path to his blessing; so, look intently to his word.

  1. Look

25But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

To look intently implies firm confidence that the instruction of the Lord leads to the blessing he prepared. If we are intentional to follow godly principles, we can’t forget them. The word of God reflects if were enslaved by human instinct or not. Previously, we learned that human anger cannot produce righteousness that God desires.

And for sure, many among us could testify that, it is not very easy to get away from human anger. What godly principles have learned to avoid human anger?

We should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.

Someone said that the reason we have two ears is for us to listen attentively.

A reason we have only one tongue is for us to be slow to speak. Listen more, speak less.

Does human anger still control you? Do you easily get angry when provoked?

Pause for a moment, listen attentively, look intently, and personally reflect on this:

How often do you hear someone angrily shouts inside your own home? Often!

Now, if you really are very desperate to free your home from human anger, pray desperately also that the Holy Spirit produce fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in all your family members.

Have you fully realized freedom in Christ? Has Christ saved you completely from the penalty of sin? By faith, yes! How about from power, pressure of sin? Believers who are still enslaved, pressured and influenced by sin are exposed by human anger.

Listen attentively and look intently. How can we realize freedom for sin? It says, “But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do

The law of the Lord is perfect. By faith in Christ, we have been freed from the penalty of sin (eternal death); cheerful obedience to godly instructions exhibits faith. By faith, we live in godly principles, and God blesses what we do (duties, responsibilities and obligations); godly lifestyle practically shows freedom from power, pressure of sin.

Don’t just simply claim or assume, “Oh yeah! I’ve been freed from sin.” We’ve got to be sure and practically experience freedom from the control of sin. What shall we do?


There was a news article about a moose trapped an icy lake. The moose tried but cannot free itself until some good fellows rescued the moose. The rescuers break the ice and made a passage the moose to walk through it until it reached the solid ground. The moose got out of the icy water hole. The moose was freed because it willingly walked and followed the path leading to a solid ground that the rescuers had made.

Icy lake can be attractive, but victims may step on very thin ice, fall into very cold icy water and cannot get out like the helpless moose. Who will come for rescue?

If you are sinking deep in sin, you may have desperately tried on your own effort but cannot get out. Listen: Pray for willingness to walk and follow Jesus Christ, the truth, the life and the way to freedom from control of sin. The perfect law of God offers godly principles we should practically follow to realize and get into a solid ground of godly life.

In Luke 11:28, 28“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

The condition of God for his blessing is obedience to him. The love of the Lord is unconditional; but his blessings are conditional to obedience. Obedience = blessings!

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