Obedience for 2023

Core scripture: “Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.” (James 4:17)

Message: We have all been there before.  The sweet little angel is on one shoulder.  The evil demon on the other.  You know who you should listen to, but MAN!  It is just so tempting to grab an extra handful of M&Ms! 

Angel: “Clint, don’t do it!  Those were a gift to your wife, not you!”

Demon: “Your wife will never know if you only take a few.”

Angel: “But your LOVE HANDLES will know!  You already put on the holiday five pounds.  Every calorie counts!”

Demon: “Calories … shmalories!  Live life while you can!  Indulge!” 

Angel: “Clint, why is your hand opening the jar?  Clint, STOP!”

Demon: “Go for it, Clint!  You got this!  That’s what I’m talking about!”

Yeah, the demon has won too many of those battles over the past few weeks.  Anyone else feel me?  I hear that angel, and I know he knows best … but … well, yeah.  You know the rest.  I refuse to obey. 

Obedience.  The opposite of obedience is clearly defined above in James 4:17. You know what to do, but you just don’t do it.  The year 2022 was clearly one of those years for me.  Not so much the first six months; however, the last six months were rough. 

Hence, I have a new word for 2023 to revolve my life around: OBEDIENCE.  Search the Word and you will find an onslaught of convicting scripture to help with it. 

  • “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)
  • “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3)
  • “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46)

I will stop there.  What did you think of that last one?  Cuts straight to the chase, doesn’t it?  Quite convicting for me.  How about you?  I want to obey. 

The cool thing is that the word obedience came over Thanksgiving.  I had heard God whisper to me for some time now, maybe since summer, to begin writing a book about Ohana Classroom Management.  I stubbornly refused to do it.  I wasn’t inspired.  I wasted a lot of time. 

Until Thanksgiving.

That was when I decided to obey.  I wrote an introduction and a tribute to the late Curt Robertson, the man who taught me Ohana.  I texted Curt’s wife and son, planning to seek their wisdom on writing the book.  Finally, I visited the Robertsons and began writing.

It was insane.  The ideas began pouring out as if a dam had burst.  There were simply not enough hours in the day to write my thoughts.  But they flowed like a beautiful cascading waterfall onto my Surface Pro.  It gave me purpose.  It felt right!  As of right now, 30 pages are complete.

More than that, my obedience began spilling into other parts of my life.  The funk that I was in since the summer began to dissipate.  My quiet time became more fulfilling.  There was more of a pep in my step.  I felt myself listening to that angel a heck of a lot more than I had before!

I want to keep that ball rolling in 2023.  I want to write my book.  I want to listen to the Lord’s nudges and obey.  I want to pour into my boys and begin teaching them how to make their faith their own.  I want to mix things up in my classroom and see what happens. 

All this comes with obedience. 

Thinking proactively, here are some areas in my life where obedience needs to happen:

  • Choosing to wake up and exercise on Monday morning like I used to instead of sleeping in.
  • Choosing to pray more and work on my prayer life as opposed to giving up and not praying at all.
  • Choosing to focus on the positive in my classroom and not dwell on misbehavior.
  • Choosing to eat healthier, snack less, and stop going back for seconds (sorry M&M jar!).
  • Choosing to interact with my students instead of staying behind my desk to do busy work.
  • Choosing to write an encouraging note to someone as opposed to complaining.
  • Choosing to pursue my wife with unconditional love instead of being cold to her.
  • Choosing to pick up the trash in the hallway at school, not walking past it.
  • Choosing to allow the Lord to use the gifts He gave me to show others how incredibly awesome He is instead of watching Netflix or playing Ultimate Golf. 

These are just a few of the daily decisions I encounter that involve obedience.  I already feel my life changing for the better!  This will not stop temptations from coming, but much like Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:13, God will never allow temptation to get the best of me; He always provides a way out.

Challenge: What is your word for 2023?  Think about it.  Pray about it.  Journal and talk to others about it.  Go one step further and SHARE about it!  I would love to hear what your words are. 

Clint speaks: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1MWnuaJaljsxijyWgb-YmlSz20mXSEhzG/view?usp=share_link

Scripture study: Read Acts 10.  Journal or discuss the following questions:

  • How did Peter obey?
  • Was this easy for Peter considering his culture?
  • What was the result of Peter’s obedience?
  • How would the world be different if Peter had chosen to not obey?

Prayer points: Lift up the following areas to the Lord …

  • Praise God for new beginnings in the new year! 
  • Pray that the Lord will whisper a new word for you to revolve 2023 around.
  • Pray that we ALL can heed His nudges and obey the Lord’s nudges. 

Just for fun: I was blessed to see my brother, Curt, his wife, Kristi, and their three adorable daughters for brunch at Big Biscuit yesterday.  The hour and a half we spent with them was priceless, and I was reminded of my unique nickname … Uncle Bobblehead.  I got the nickname two years ago when my youngest niece, Lucy, said, “You’re a bobblehead!”  We were all confused at what a bobblehead was until Lucy saw another bald man a few weeks later, and said, “Look, another bobblehead!”  Nonetheless, I have embraced the nickname!  I suppose I have been called worse. 

Prayer: Father, as we ease into the new year ahead of us, help us all not only listen to Your voice but also to obey.  Amen. 

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