“In the selfsame day, as God had said unto him.” Genesis 17:23
Instant obedience is the only kind of obedience there is; delayed obedience is disobedience. Every time God calls us to any duty, He is offering to make a covenant with us; doing the duty is our part, and He will do His part in special blessing.
The only way we can obey is to obey “in the selfsame day,” as Abraham did. To be sure, we often postpone a duty and then later on do it as fully as we can. It is better to do this than not to do it at all. But it is then, at the best, only a crippled, disfigured, half-way sort of duty-doing; and a postponed duty never can bring the full blessing that God intended, and that it would have brought if done at the earliest possible moment. (Streams in the Desert)
“There must be no debate. The moment you obey the light, the Son of God presses through you in that particular; but if you debate you grieve the Spirit of God. . . . Never live on memories; let the word of God be always living and active in you.” (O. Chambers)
Following Jesus requires that I come to the end of myself; understanding how to get to the end and live beyond is the key to discipleship. Jesus lays out a clear sequence to follow that begins with, “let them deny themselves…”
The word “deny” means to claim no allegiance to someone or something. It is the word John Mark used to describe Peter’s denial of Jesus. As Peter stood in the courtyard of the high priest a short distance, keeping an eye on Jesus and watching his own back, a maiden asked him, “Do you know this man?” (Mark 14:66-72). Peter vehemently denied any allegiance to Jesus, to the point of swearing and cursing. This is exactly the word Jesus chooses for our first step of obedience. As long as my first thought is self-preservation or self-advancement, I leave no room for Jesus to be Lord. Surrender never takes place until I distrust myself. Delayed obedience discredits the Master, and disqualifies me as Christ’s disciple.