The experiential difference between the one who hears God versus the one who hears God and obeys is absurdly monumental.
Jesus, after preaching two straight chapters on the sermon on the mount, says his final words by basically saying, “The difference between those of you here who heard and those who heard and will obey is the difference between the one who built their house on a crappy, dying foundation and the one who built their house on the solid ground.”
The way to experience God is not in the level of hearing. It’s not how well you heard. It’s not how many notes you took. It’s not in the frequency of hearing. It’s not how many times you hear God’s word, or engage with the Bible, or go to worship services, or hear sermons. It’s not even in the depths of revelation. It’s not how great the “ah hah” moment was. Or how great the teaching was.
The single most important thing we do with revelation is to respond with obedience. Whether we’re crawling or running towards obedience, obedience is the only guaranteed way we will experience God. It is the only direction forward. Any action outside of obedience is walking away from God (that’s a bold statement, but let it sink in, and you will see that is true.)
Obedience is the foundation of experiencing God.
“Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” Psalm 95:7
I think at some point in my life I thought, “I’ve been a Christian for x amount of years. I think I can cruise.” I realized that that is dangerous, dangerous thinking! Obedience is the only indicator that I am still following Jesus.
At the point of that revelation which led me towards living a life of obedience, I began noticing the qualitative difference between Christians who obey and those who don’t. I can’t put exhaustively in words, but man, there is a monumental difference between those who do presently and actively, and those who don’t. There’s something vast missing from their lives. The are pew-fillers, but not God-chasers, nor those who really experience God.
Obedience is not a naughty word. God is not an authoritarian who commands us to obey out of some insecurity he has. He is a good and loving Father who calls us to obey because he loves us. Everything God calls us to do is 100% out of love for us; for our gain. And his calls is 100% wise-he is not a shortsighted parent who is zealous but ignorant. He is so wise in his leadership over us.
Obedience is the foundation of the Christian life. Have you made it yours?
Do you, with every single revelation, ask “What is it that God is asking me to do?” And do you do it? Whether it’s baby steps or whether you’re running towards obedience, I guarantee you, any direction towards obedience is the only way you will experience God.