Are you willing to obey God to find your purpose? It may appear that the obvious answer is yes, but you should ask yourself the questions below to better assess your readiness.
With this episode, I intend to bridge the gap between what you may be expecting your journey with purpose to look like with what it will actually require… and it will require you to obey God.
I’ll incorporate some examples from the Bible and some examples from my own journey throughout the episode. We’ll cover:
- What obedience is,
- Why it’s important to obey God to find purpose, and
- How to know if you’re ready for the level of obedience that discovering and walking in your purpose requires
What is Obedience
According to Merriam-Webster, obedience means to be submissive to the restraint or command of authority; willing to obey. Our greatest example of obedience is Jesus. While imprisoned, Paul wrote a letter to the Philippians. In the letter as he was encouraging the Philippians to adopt the same attitude as Jesus, he spoke of how Jesus was, “obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross. For this reason God highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name…”
So when it comes to obedience we know that it means to submit to the authority of God and sometimes that submission may cause us to have to go to great lengths to achieve it.
The key to obedience is to submit out of love and humility; not out of obligation.
Now let’s talk about why obedience is important.
Why Obey God?
There are multiple reasons why obedience is important. I’m going to cover four points here.
Obedience shows God that we love him.
I mentioned earlier about how Paul mentioned Jesus’ obedience in his letter to the Philippians, but Jesus is pretty vocal about obedience as well.
In John 14:15, Jesus flat out says, “If you love me, you will keep my commands.” Period. This scripture shows us that obedience is how we prove to God we love Him.
Jesus takes this even further in verse 21 of the same chapter by saying, “[t]he one who has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. And the one who loves me will be loved by my Father. I also will love him and reveal more of myself to him.”
So, in exchange for us showing Jesus that we love him by obeying him, He has promised to reveal more of himself to us. This is how we get a deeper relationship with Jesus and our Father.
Obedience helps us establish our foundation.
Jesus even gets spicy when he brings this up. Luke gives this account in Luke 6:46-49. Here’s what it says. Jesus is speaking to a crowd of people when he says:
“So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house right on the ground, without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.”
When we hear commands and directives from God through his written word in the bible or through teaching in church, it isn’t for us to just hear and take a mental note of. We are supposed to listen and obey, and our obedience establishes the foundation of our spiritual growth.
Obedience has unmeasurably vast consequences.
I’m American and one thing that I noticed about Americans is how individualistic we are compared to other nations. This was on full display at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Despite health officials urging people to practice social distancing and wear masks, for the protection of more vulnerable populations, so many people flat out refused to comply.
The kingdom of God is not individualistic though. We are interconnected and interdependent. God chose not to operate on earth independent of people. He uses us all the time to communicate things to each other, to provide resources to each other, and to so much more.
Obedience yields blessings.
In Psalms 128:1, NIV, David says, “Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him.” The verses immediately following that literally start to list out some of the ways that those who fear God and are obedient will be blessed. The scriptures say that:
- You will eat the fruit of your labor – this is a blessing of your fortune;
- it goes on to say that you will be joyful and prosperous – things will go well for you
- Then it goes on to speak blessings over your family by saying “Your wife will be like a fruitful vine [flourishing] within your house” –
- Your children will be like olive shoots around your table
Are You Willing to Obey God
This episode asks the question of whether you are really willing to obey God in order to discover and pursue your life’s purpose. To help you assess your willingness to obey God, I came up with three questions for you to ask yourself.
These questions are based on my experience, the experience of some of the guests on the show, and the experience of some of my students inside my signature course Positioned for Purpose Academy.
Am I Willing to Act With Limited to No Information?
Can you follow and obey God when you don’t know where you’re going or what you are supposed to do when you arrive?
In chapter 14 of the book of John, Jesus was preparing the twelve disciples for his departure. He tells them that He is going away to prepare a place for them but that he will come back to get them. But then he says something that throws them for a loop. He tells them that they know how to get where He’s going. One version of that scripture says that they know where Jesus is going and they know the way to get to where He’s going. [John 14:1-7]
They began to respond in various ways. Peter was basically like, “take me with you. You die, I’m dying too.” Phillip pretty much said, “just show us God. We want to see him like how Moses did.”
It’s Thomas’s response that I want to focus on.
After Jesus told them “listen, imma come back for you but in the meantime you know the way to where I’m going. Thomas says, “We don’t even know where you’re going, so how can we possibly know the way to get there.” Jesus wasn’t talking about a physical path here, he was referring to himself. But Thomas’s question made me think about what it feels like to seek out your purpose. As we pursue our purpose, we’re essentially going on a journey of unknowns.
We are each on our own unique journeys to discover and walk out the purpose that God has for us. There may be some similarities from one person to the next but ultimately no two paths are the same. What is consistent across all of our paths though, is the fact that we have no clue what our complete journeys will require, how to get there, or where we will ultimately end up. We will need to listen to and obey God along the way.
Am I Willing to Make Sacrifices?
Your purpose will require sacrifices, and I’m not talking about sacrificing things that don’t really matter to you. No. You will have to sacrifice things that are precious and valuable to you. One thing that it will for sure cost you… is your time, which is one of the most precious commodities you have. Time cannot be renewed. You don’t get that back.
Purpose might even require you to sacrifice some relationships. There’s something about moving more intentionally towards the calling on your life that makes some people around you uncomfortable. Their discomfort may manifest as doubt, pettiness, doing things to distract you.
Am I Willing to Do Hard Things?
There was a quote that made its rounds all over social media back in 2020 that said, “I can do hard things.” I actually really like the quote because it’s true. We can do hard things, we just choose not to most times.
It probably is not news to you that we avoid hard conversations. We avoid hard work, and we avoid things that push us outside of our comfort zone. Part of this is our body’s natural way of trying to protect us from perceived harm and hurt feelings but that doesn’t mean we should avoid these things.
I bring all of this up because obedience is not easy. There are so many examples in scripture of God calling people to do uncomfortable, hard things. One of my favorite examples is Jonah.
God told Jonah to go to Nineveh to call out the people in the city for doing all kinds of evil things. Jonah was so shook that he didn’t just choose not to go to Nineveh when God told him, but he fled his city and ran to a completely different city in the opposite direction of Nineveh.
For a long time, I didn’t really know or understand why Jonah did that.
When I would hear sermons about Jonah they would focus on him being swallowed by the large fish. I hadn’t read the book of Jonah for myself so I didn’t really have the full context of why Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh, but after reading the scriptures, I got it. I got why he would not want to obey God and go.
Nineveh was a city FULL of violent people. The people in Nineveh were NOT to be played with. They would torture people, kill them, hang their bodies for everybody to see, and then paint pictures to document it—as if to say, “try me if you want to.”
Can you imagine going to preach to those people and tell them to stop doing what they’ve been doing? All of the signs pointed to the likelihood that they would kill Jonah for trying to check them and their behavior. Jonah’s assignment was not easy and the things God will assign to you as you walk out this journey to what God predestined you to do, will not all be easy. But remember:
Partial obedience is complete disobedience. Disobedience is rebellion.
Guiding Principles for Obedience
Deciding to obey God doesn’t just happen. Obedience is a consequence of spiritual intimacy. We don’t just wake up wanting to do the hard things that God may be calling us to do. You’re more inclined to be obedient when you’ve been spending quality time with God.
Before I conclude, I want to leave you with a few guiding principles for how to obey God as you pursue your purpose.
Be okay with not knowing
God is the only person who knows everything and oftentimes he will only reveal small pieces to us. Even if he tells us “everything” that still doesn’t mean we would understand it. Jesus ministered alongside the 12 disciplines for years. Imagine being with someone closely for years without distractions like a cell phone, a TV, social media or whatever other thing that may have your attention in a chokehold.
They basically had unfettered access to the Son of God to learn Him and to learn from Him. Yet, they barely understood Him. Even at the end, when Jesus was preparing the 12 disciples for his death and resurrection, He would say things to them and they would look at each other and literally say, “what is this he’s talking about. We don’t know what he’s saying.” John 16:16-18. We have to be okay with not knowing every single aspect of the things God requires us to do, which brings me to my next guiding principle, which is to learn to trust God.
Learn to trust God
The only way you can be okay with not knowing why you’re being asked to do something, is to trust the one who’s telling you to do it. God asks for our trust and obedience now, in the moment. And He reveals further understanding later when we are prepared to receive it. He always has our back and while He will reveal something before we think we’re ready, He will not do it before we actually ARE ready.
Even when it looks like obedience could result in trouble...
…we are called to trust and obey God. He is usually up to something much bigger than we realize. I can’t help but think about Ananias laying hands on Paul.
God told Ananias in a vision to go lay his hands on a man named Saul who had seen a vision of a man named Ananias putting his hand on him so that he could regain his sight.
Ananias’ first reaction was one of apprehension because he had heard how Paul went around persecuting Christians. What Ananias didn’t know and couldn’t have known was 1) Paul was not going to harm him, and 2) just how influential Paul would be in the kingdom of God once Ananias laid his hands on him. But he trusted God and obeyed.
Abandon your vow to your comfort
My last guiding principle for obedience is to abandon the vow you’ve made to your comfort. Ty Wilson spoke about this on her Instagram page. Here’s what she had to say. “You’ve made a vow to your comfort that you are unwilling to break. You don’t even realize that you’ve become comfortable knowing what you know and being where you are. Anytime God gives you an instruction to do something that stretches you or challenges you, it’s a no for you, because you’re waiting for his instructions to align with your level of comfort and it NEVER will. When you’re called to do something great, you don’t get to be comfortable.” – being Ty Wilson
Ty said a lot there. I think my favorite part is probably when she said God’s instructions won’t align with our level of comfort. For one, God sees us differently than we see ourselves. We see ourselves as small grasshoppers and God sees us as victorious giants. While we have no idea what we can achieve, God knows exactly what we are capable of. We just have to leave our comfort zone in order to do it.
God doesn’t require perfection from us, but living a life of purpose does require our consistent obedience.
If you are ready to take the next step to find God’s unique purpose and plan for your life then check out a free 2-minute quiz I created that will help you find your unique path to your purpose. It will require that you invest some of your time.
The quiz is the next best step because it will guide you to the things you can start working on now that will set you up for success before you do the work of positioning yourself for purpose.
You can find the quiz over at pavielle.com/purpose-quiz. Your quiz results will get you started on the right path.
After you get your results, email me and let me know what you think about them. You’ll get them immediately after you take the quiz, but I’ll also email them to you so that you can refer back to them later. I’m looking forward to talking to you about them.
If you enjoyed this episode assessing your willingness to obey God, then you may also enjoy the episode of the show about my journey being obedient when I didn’t want to or this episode detailing what to expect when operating in your purpose.
Rate, Review, and Follow on Apple Podcasts
“I love The Purpose Collective podcast.” <– If that sounds like you, please consider rating and reviewing my show! This helps me support more people — just like you — move toward the online life and business that they desire. Click here, scroll to the bottom, tap to rate with five stars, and select “Write a Review.” Then be sure to let me know what you loved most about the episode!
Also, if you haven’t done so already, follow the podcast. Follow on Apple Podcasts now!
Subscribe on Google Podcasts.
Follow the show on Spotify.
Follow the show on Audible.
Want to Support the Show?
If you would like to support the show, I discovered a super cool way for you to get in on the action, and that is by “buying me a coffee.” I don’t actually drink coffee, but the idea behind the site is for supporters of Content Creators (that’s you) to be able to help the Creator (that’s me) with expenses required to produce the content they create (that’s the show).
Click the button below to donate.
Connect With Me
If you want to connect with other purpose-driven movers and shakers, then join The Purpose Collective Community on Facebook. It’s exclusive and FREE.
If you have any questions you can always email me at email@example.com or join my Purpose Diary newsletter below and my tips, experiences, and advice about navigating a life of purpose are all yours, every week!
Disclaimer: If you happen to purchase anything I recommend in this or any of my communications, it’s likely I’ll receive some kind of affiliate compensation. Still, I only recommend things that I truly believe in and have personally experienced. If you ever have an issue with anything I recommend, please let me know. My goal is to help you thrive in your purpose. — Pavielle