Stuck in a spiritual rut? The problem could be disobedience. 



During the feast of Booths, Jesus entered the temple and began to teach. The Jews knew Him well enough to know that He had no formal education and yet His teaching had them spellbound. Knowing their dilemma, Jesus addressed them saying that His teaching wasn’t His own. It was from the One who had sent Him. Then He addressed the real issue—their lack of discernment—why they couldn’t figure out where His powerful teaching came from:

“If any man is willing to do His (the Father’s) will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from Myself” (John 7:17)

In this one simple statement, Jesus explains the reason for our own lack of discernment in certain areas—why some things remain a mystery and why we find ourselves stuck in a spiritual rut from time to time. The problem is our disobedience to something God has clearly called us to do. If we have been drawn to a passage of Scripture but we lack insight as to its personal relevance, the problem is likely that we are being disobedient in some area.


 This principle should change the way we process all our spiritual input. When we don’t understand something from God, we either move on to something we do understand, or we do some research until it makes sense intellectually. Today’s message offers another option. Ask God if our lack of understanding or discernment is a result of our disobedience in some matter. Sometimes our disobedience is the result of an insensitivity of God’s voice. He speaks to us often and in a variety of ways. Sometimes we’re simply not listening.

At other times we have received the message, but we have no intention of obeying. In our subconscious, we rationalize that there’s no way we’ going to make things right with that person. No way will we admit our part in the misunderstanding. We rationalize that this thought was likely from Satan, not God. We dismiss it and move on. The sad truth is that our times of spiritual darkness, when it seems like we can’t figure anything out, may very well be the result of something we have no intention of obeying.

In my prison ministry, we have learned that God is always giving us pop quizzes to test our obedience to something He has just spoken, often through the lesson from our last class session. He is serious about how we apply the lesson He has just taught us. Head knowledge is just the beginning. Without obeying, through our application, we will remain stuck where we are. Pay attention to what God is saying to you so you will know what He is asking of you. We all desire greater discernment, but without obedience, we’ll never draw closer to our Lord, knowing His thoughts and His will. Don’t be like the Jews in today’s verse, unable to discern the voice of God. Jesus knew their real problem—their disobedience.


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