Obedience: An art and act of warfare

Now that is an unusual title isn’t it? As I have journeyed along the Israelites from Egypt to the promised land in my bible study, I have discovered nuggets such as the one I would be sharing shortly, along the way. The Israelites had now entered the promised land under the leadership of Joshua and had conquered much land to call home. However, the Israelites did not drive out all the pagan nations from the land. God allowed some of the nations to remain to teach the new generation of Israelites two things: first, the art of warfare and second, that their victory in warfare came from obedience.

These are the nations the Lord left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Canaan (he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience): the five rulers of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites living in the Lebanon mountains from Mount Baal Hermon to Lebo Hamath. They were left to test the Israelites to see whether they would obey the Lord’s commands, which he had given their ancestors through Moses.

Judges 3:1-4 NIV

Throughout the lifetime of Joshua and the elders who had seen the great things that God had done, the Israelites served God faithfully but there came a generation after who neither knew God or the things he had done for Israel (Judges 2:10). Now while that in and of itself is problematic and bears pause, that is not the focus of this topic. The people quickly fell into a pattern of idol worship and consequent suffering under the strong hand of raiders and nations who oppressed them. Every time they went out to war, the hand of Lord was against them just as He had sworn to them He would do and they were defeated.

Again and again, God raised up judges for them who saved them out of the hands of their enemies. And as long as the judge was alive, the people obeyed God but returned to their corrupt ways upon the death of the judge. This triggered a pattern of times of peace followed by times of oppression even though they were in the land God had promised them. As I studied the lives of the judges God raised for the Israelites and the many battles the Israelites fought in their first few years in the promised land, it became apparent obedience always led to victory and disobedience to defeat. The art of warfare- their secret weapon- was obedience. It was not a physical (carnal) weapon and yet a highly effective one!

Obedience is still an effective weapon for many seen and unseen battles in our lives today. The bible assures us of us this fact. Now pay attention to this scripture:

The weapons of our warfare are not weapons of the world. Instead, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We tear down arguments and every presumption set up against the knowledge of God; and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 BSB

This scripture demonstrates obedience in action as an art and act of warfare. Even rogue thoughts, arguments, and presumptions that have been set up above the knowledge of Christ are torn down and held captive when obedience is at work. These strongholds, when submitted to the lordship of Christ are defeated just as the enemy nations of the Israelites were defeated and many times their strongholds torn down when the Israelites were living in obedience to God. In their obedience, they listened to and followed God’s plans in times of war even when the plan did not make sense. Shouting as they marched around a city, selecting men for battle based on how they drank water, falling in love with a Philistine woman as a battle strategy, regardless of how ridiculous the strategy may have seemed, the battle was always won because someone obeyed!

Last year, I went through a phase where everything felt like a struggle and battle. Many times, I felt God telling me to hold my peace and that he would fight for me. And did I listen? Of course not! I thought I had to take matters into my own hands and I kept spinning out of control until eventually I had spun myself into an intricate web of despair and defeat. I look back now and realize how obeying the voice and promptings of God not to say this or that, or to walk away, or to hold my peace etc. may have been an effective strategy to win the battles of 2022!

Have you ever been in a situation where you feel like you are in a fight of your life for things you should not be fighting for? Are you in the thick of a physical, emotional, psychological, or financial warfare? In addition to the many weapons in your artillery, add obedience and see God lead you into great victories! Here’s to winning our battles in the strength and might of the Lord with our secret weapon!

Yours Truly.


For the past few months I have been on a hiatus from writing but certainly not from God working on me to make me into what He wants me to be. While I have been away, I have spent time reflecting on the Israelites as they journeyed from Egypt to the promised land. and as I have read through their stories, the weight of being a sojourner here on earth has not been lost on me. As I grapple with where I am in life, where I have been, and my role on this stage of life, in contrast with the stories of the Israelites, there are two principles that have resonated with me: surrender and obedience.

Throughout the sojourn of the Israelites, God asked that they loved, served and obeyed Him. And what made the likes of Moses and Joshua successful in obeying God while most of the Israelites struggled was surrender. Surrender is the answer to our commitment to intimacy and obedience to God. Our intimacy does not come from where God has placed us or what He has given us. If that were the case, the Israelites of old would have been the most surrendered people. Surrender is a choice we have to make everyday; an active choice and not a passive happening.

Matthew 25 speaks to a parable that Jesus told and while there are many lessons to draw from this parable, today this parable highlights what active surrender looks like. In this parable, a man goes on a long journey but before he does so, he entrusts his wealth to his servants according to their abilities. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two and to yet another one bag. Two of the servants understood that everything they had been given had to be surrendered to the will of their master and so they made a choice to invest the gold. The last servant took a more passive approach and instead of discerning the will of his master, buried his one bag of gold in the ground. He held on so tightly to what he had been given, unwilling to allow any transformation to happen with his bag of gold and he missed out completely in the end (Matthew 25:14- 30 paraphrased).

What are you holding on to so tightly? What have you buried so deep that you are unwilling to allow God to bring transformation and change to? What remains unsurrendered to the Master’s will? For me it has been my hurts and disappointments in people and circumstances, my time and my schedule, my abundance and my needs, my identity, my family, and my education. There have been many aspects of these areas of my life that I have held so tightly to my own way and I have been unwilling to surrender these parts. Like the servant that hid his bag of gold, I have tried to keep these areas under my own control. God has been teaching me to let go and surrender these parts to His leadings. Like the servants who had five and two bags of gold respectively ended up with better outcomes than they started off with, so will many things in my life have better outcomes if only those areas are surrendered to God. For starters, most of my strivings will cease and God will truly be exalted in my life (Psalm 46:10).

But here is the caveat: surrender and obedience walk hand-in-hand. Without obedience, one cannot be fully surrendered and without surrender one cannot wholeheartedly obey. I pray that in whatever God is calling you to obedience and surrender that you will have a heart that is inclined to listen and at accordingly and as you do so that transformation happen to the five bags of gold or the two bags of gold in your life for the glory of God.

Yours Truly

How wealthy are you?

With the rising cost of living and global inflation, it seems like a good time to take pause to ask, “How wealthy am I?” A few days to the close of 2022, one of the pastors was doing the call for tithes and offerings and she made a statement that has stuck with me for the past few months. She said, “our wealth is not measured in how much we have but in how much we give away” and that stopped me in my tracks. People who know me well know that I am very generous almost to a fault. I used to give freely of my time and resources without second thoughts but lately I have become stingy. I started noticing that people were either taking advantage of my generosity or not reciprocating and I felt cheated. I felt like I deserved better and so decided to hold back. Of course as with all my life’s decisions I presented my new found disposition to God and this is what He had to say about it:

Seeking recognition or recompense for a good deed done:

I was chatting with my sister a few month ago and she shared with me how God has been dealing with her in terms of seeking recognition and wanting people to repay us for our good deeds. She shared that in many ways when we do a good deed, when we are kind, and generous, we have acted as messengers of God and indeed we are, as the hands and feet of Jesus. Messengers are sent to deliver messages, goods or services and to report back to the one that sent them. If praises/ thanks are offered, the messenger is to be relaying that information back to who ever sent him/ her. Expecting to be repaid for our gratitude or seeking recognition for our generous deeds is like a messenger who goes to deliver a package on behalf of another and takes the credit for the content of the package without duly referring that credit to the one that sent him/her. As God’s hands and feet, he empowers everyday to bring hope to the world around us in various ways through our generosity of money, time, intellect, and resources. And yes while it feels good to be appreciated, we must remember that the ultimate glory MUST go to God and He WILL NOT share that glory with anyone. He is the rewarder of men and women and when we start to look to people for rewards for our good deeds, then we have totally missed the mark. Here are a few scriptures that come to mind to buttress this point:

My name is the LORD! I won’t let idols or humans share my glory and praise.

Isaiah 42:8 CEV

Feeling cheated because there appears to be no reciprocity and returns for my generosity:

A few weeks ago, I attended a worship seminar and the guest speaker said something that brought me to tears. He said, “God blesses the things in your heart that are a reflection of His heart.” The reason this simple statement convicted me so much is at that at the root cause of my dissatisfaction about being generous is the fact that I have felt like God does not notice. I have sometimes felt like a pushover because even though people have taken advantage of my generosity, I do not stop giving. I have often felt compelled by something greater than myself to be kind and loving and generous and lately because I have felt that it has gone unnoticed, I have been discouraged from pouring out so much of myself into others. At the heart of this issue is 90% the need for recognition and some returns for all my generosity and 10% compassion fatigue.

About compassion fatigue- Really and truly, there should be no room compassion fatigue when we are tapped into the source of compassion who is Love Himself. I have found when we take our eyes of Jesus who is our exceedingly great reward and we focus our eyes on what we think our reward should be- financial or otherwise- then we get compassion fatigue when the reward is not forthcoming. With our eyes on Jesus, how can we tire of being compassionate when His love flows through our veins? When His heartbeat for people become our life’s purpose?

So today as I take stock, these questions are very relevant, How wealthy am I? How much of my time, resources, giftings, intellect, money, worldly possessions do I give away for the benefit of others in service of my Master Jesus? In what ways am I the hands and feet of Jesus?

Yours Truly.