“Whatever you have learned or received or heard, put into practice and the God of peace will be with you” (Phil.4:9)
One of the important lessons I learned as a child was to be obedient. When mom or dad said do something, what they really meant was - do it. I learned that when I was obedient, I usually experienced good things.
Paul understood the biblical principle that “our obedience never stops being fruitful.” Obedience brings God’s power and blessings - His means of accomplishing His good will and purposes for our lives and others, but we have to be sensitive to His voice.
The reality of this truth was brought home to me in a dramatic way one day when a man came to the church and said the Lord had sent him to me.
He had been attending another church and had a very good relationship with his pastor, but still said, “There’s no doubt God sent me to you.” He proceeded to tell me his story and as I listened, I silently prayed, “Lord, why did you send him to me?”
The man told me his story, “I was married for 40 years and my wife passed away a few years ago. Recently, I met a lady, he said, and we’ve been seeing a lot of each other – developing a serious relationship. She told me today that God’s Word says she should not marry a non-believer and that really shook me up. That’s why I’m here – I know the Lord in my mind, but I want to know him in my heart – that’s why the Lord sent me to you. I need to get saved – will you help me?”
I said yes and proceeded to share the Gospel with him. While we were praying, I realized why God had sent him to me. After he had prayed, I said, “I know why God sent you to me.” I called my secretary into the room and asked her to share with the man what I had said about my wife in Sunday’s message. She said, “Well, the pastor told us that his wife wouldn’t marry him unless he was a proven and obedient Christian.”
Immediately, the man responded with, “Praise the Lord! – I do believe in my heart! I understand now!”
Forty three years ago my wife, in obedience to God’s Word, told me she wouldn’t marry me unless I was a proven Christian. Twenty-seven years later, God used her obedience to affirm the faith of another. I have learned to never under-estimate the power of prayer and obedience. Our obedience never stops being fruitful. Obedience is the key that unlocks the power of God.
Being a good listener and being sensitive to God’s speaking is the real lesson I learned from this experience. Yes! Obedience to God’s voice is crucial when counseling another.