Christlife Posture: Trusting God's Wisdom

Topic: Struggles with Partial Obedience


Suggested Approach: Choose 1 thing from each of the three boxes

OR Choose 1 from Media or Reflection + 1 from Scripture 

Media Excursions (Watch/read/listen and be ready to discuss Q's)

Still Image/Painting

  • Sacrifice of Isaac (Caravaggio) In this emotional painting, think of what Abraham must be experiencing as he moves toward total obedience. What are the results? What do you think it might have looked like if he had practiced partial obedience to God’s request? What might the results have been?

Video Clip

  • God in a Box (OneTimeBlind) What contributes to your own sense of being able to “live without God”? Identify the “box” you might have God in.

  • Move Mr. (Freedom Church) Do you ever avoid living in God’s wisdom for any of the reasons this man gives for not moving?  How would you convince this man (or yourself) to move?


  • To the Table (Zach Williams) How does the idea that God sees all affect you? Listen to what this songwriter thinks of that aspect of God’s relationship to you. What comfort or motivation can you find in that?


  • Why We Arm Wrestle with God (Dr. Anne Bradley) Which of the four doubts she lists gets in your way the most? Which of the four definitions of surrender (Warren) is the hardest for you? Try one of the suggestions she has (the prayer or meditating on one of the two scripture passages). How was it helpful to you?

Reflection Options  

Journal  (reflect on one or more of these questions)

  • Perhaps you know people who obey God, but seem to suffer because of it. Reflect on any connections you have to “works” oriented obedience--where we expect some guarantee of blessing if we obey.  What is the danger of that?

  • List any fears you have for what it might mean if you obeyed God completely in your life.  List benefits.  What do you think of what you have written?

  • Which areas of your life do you hope God doesn’t pay attention to?  Choose one of those areas. What do you think God might say to you about that area of your life?  Compare what you think His response would be with what you know of His character.

  • How do you think the life stage you are currently in affects the way you look at obeying God fully? 

Quote Interaction (Interact by agreeing, disagreeing or otherwise engaging with the quote/quotes)

  • “Partial Obedience is still Disobedience” Johann Joubert

  • “Wicked men obey from fear; good men, from love.”  Augustine

  • “Only he who believes is obedient and only he who is obedient believes.”  Bonhoeffer

  • “The will of God for your life is simply that you submit yourself to Him each day and say, "Father, Your will for today is mine. Your pleasure for today is mine. Your work for today is mine. I trust You to be God. You lead me today and I will follow."”  Kay Arthur

  • "Partial obedience is really only disobedience made to look acceptable."  Bill Arnold

  • “Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.”  Jonathan Edwards

Reading & Reflection from the book, Shaping The Journey of Emerging Adults

  • Read “Confront unwillingness in submission to the Father” (p. 137).  All of us can act like that toddler in the illustration at times.  When do you “pretend not to hear” in regard to living in obedience to scripture? Where have you noticed fragmentation in your life?

  • Read “Spiritual Casualties from the Sexual Front” (pp. 168-171).  Sexual sin, confusion and addiction are an all too common area of partial obedience.  After reading this section (or the rest of the chapter, if you wish), how would you articulate your own understanding of “sex and the good” (from the Smith quote)? What are some explanations in your generation (whichever one you are in!) for why this is often an area of partial obedience?

  • Read the case study of Gary and Ted (pp. 184-185).  What steps toward greater obedience were helpful for you to read about?

 Explore Scripture

Meditate on one or more of the following passages. Always look them up in context.  Take some time to really explore the verse in relation to this topic.  Note whether this verse shows an example of wholehearted obedience or partial obedience. Look at a few of them to see a contrast. Why are we encouraged to be fully obedient?  Make a note of what you discover to share later.  See "Learn More About Ways to Study Scripture" below for help in getting the most out of the verse.

  • 1 Samuel 15:9, 15-21

  • 2 Kings 18:5-7

  • 2 Chronicles 25:1-16

  • Matthew 6:24

  • Mark 12:41-44

  • Luke 6:46-49

  • Luke 12:42-48

  • John 15:14

  • Colossians 2:6

  • I Peter 1:13-15

  • I Peter 4:17-19

  • James 1:22-25

  • James 4:17