When we hear the word, "obedience," it oftentimes has a negative connotation to it. Obedience seems hard and rigid. It doesn't seem enjoyable. As Christians, we should love obedience, and the word should not carry such negative emotions in us. But, why do you think it does? Partly the world. Today, freedom is the trend. In the world's eyes, the way we live, and the things we love should all be determined by what feels good. Whatever feels right is what is right. So, then when we read the bible, that tells us the opposite, there is a tug in our heart. Also, we can't ignore the fact that our carnal man loves the idea of freedom and being its own authority. The enemy uses these methods of deception to cause a dislike for the word obedience. the truth is that obedience should be acted out daily with joy, not with dread. We are called by God to represent Him on this earth, and that is to walk in His ways, showing others His character. We should do this practically, not theoretically.
There are many wonderful reasons to obey God. He gives tons in the bible, but several stick out to me.
1. Because We Love Him
If you love me, you will keep my commandments. John 14:15
We naturally desire pleasing those we love. It is not usually a burden to want someone we love to be happy. God tells us to love Him with all of our hearts, soul, minds, and strength. Why? Because He is good, and we love Him. He tells us the evidence of our love, for Him, is seen in our obedience to Him. Think about it practically. If we love someone, we want to see them happy. It's even better, if we are the one to make this someone happy! If we constantly did things that we know bothers someone, we will not be showing much love to them. When we love someone, we pay attention to their likes and dislikes. In loving them, we intentionally try to please them with our actions. Why would we think it would be different with God? If we want to make God happy, if we want to please Him, then we do what He likes. We also, seek with all of our ability to avoid doing what doesn't please Him. We obey Him in love, not in dread.
2. Christ Did It
That the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, even so I do. John 14:31
Yes, the Son of God, obeyed the Father. Jesus loved the Father and did so in obedience to His commandments. We read throughout the Gospels, Jesus only doing what the Father told Him to do. Again, we are talking about Jesus! We can't possibly think we can disobey God when the Son of God Himself only did what pleased Him. Jesus' whole life was one of obedience. What a blessing it is to us that He did obey. His perfect life and perfect sacrifice are what makes His offer of salvation available to us. “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8).
3. God is Loving and Wise
"For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10
One reason we think obedience is a bad word is because its connotation seems harsh. But, God is not an angry Father King, yelling at us to obey Him with terror. No, He is a loving Father leading and shepherding His very own. He is protecting us from harm, and His rules are for our good and His glory. God is full of compassion and His love is steadfast. He will never leave nor forsake. Therefore, our obedience is for a good, covenant keeping, Father. We are told in 1 John 4:19, we love because he first loved us. God is also wise! He is much wiser than we are. It is a gift to have a God who is all-knowing, and it is that God who leads us. He sees much more than we see, His commandments are wise, and we will be acting in wisdom if we obey Him. "Great is our Lord, and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite" (Psalms 147:5).
4. It is a Commandment
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:22
We obey because He tells us. This one is that simple! The One who sent His only begotten Son down to dwell among us, and was pleased to bruise Him for our sake, commands it. God is our loving, compassionate Father who tells us to obey, from the throne in heaven, where heavenly being bow before Him in awe. This God is majestic and the King of Kings. The one who is infinitely greater than us, tell us to obey Him. We should obey Him who has all authority. Remember the points above, they still are true, but we must not forget that we are talking about obeying the Great I AM. This verse tells us to do what we read. It is so easy, at least for me, to open my Bible for quiet time, and feel like I am obeying just because of knowing the Bible. In reading the Bible, it is possible to just hear the truths of God's words and not actually act on them. In this way, we are deceiving ourselves. There is a quote that I love by a man named Richard Owen Roberts, "No amount of learning is a substitute for obedience." Though it is a challenge, we are to do what His word says.
There is a hymn that says, trust and obey, for there is no other way, to be happy in Jesus, then to trust and obey. As I have already said, Obedience sounds like a negative word sometimes, but it is not. It is a joyous thing to be led by God our Father, in all His wisdom! And, how amazing it is that He gives us practical instructions in the Bible. He is not vague. Let us be encouraged to obey daily, in the joy of the Lord!
Has obedience ever felt like a burdensome task? Share a comment about your thoughts on joyful obedience.
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