|“Obedience is far better than sacrifice.” (1 Samuel 15:22, TLB)|
As believers in Christ, many have gone to extraordinary measures to heighten their view of the relationship they maintain with the Lord. Some endlessly fast, others pray for hours on bended knee, some give up all material possessions; but without obedience, it is all for naught. This is an effort on the part of those who lack the understanding that all we do should be on the basis of our love of God, not our positional standing.
Obedience requires love of God, the passion from my heart; soul, mind and spirit that unquestionably seeks to please Him, not myself. Obedience is the realization that what God desires of me is first and foremost in my desire. What God desires of me regarding others is inclusive in my obedience to Him.
Is it easy to obey God?
I have heard many people affirm that it is, but I think it is quite difficult. The path of obedience is lined with obstacles and temptations that undermine my intentions.
“I don’t understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I can’t. I do what I don’t want to—what I hate. I know perfectly well that what I am doing is wrong, and my bad conscience proves that I agree with these laws I am breaking. But I can’t help myself because I’m no longer doing it. It is sin inside me that is stronger than I am that makes me do these evil things.” (Romans 15-17, TLB)
Even my own determination isn’t enough to withstand the strongest temptations I face in life. I need something more determined than myself, stronger than I could ever be. It is not simply the obstacles and temptations along my path, it is the sin in me waging war with me; fighting for supremacy. Paul continues this discussion in Romans 7 with this realization:
“I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question? The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.” (Romans 7:24-25, The Message)
Isn’t that the real question?
I am powerless to help myself, but Christ has set me free by setting things right in this life. It is God Himself who lives in me through the power of the Holy Spirit; enabling me to obey in my flesh.
“If you love me, obey me; and I will ask the Father and he will give you another Comforter, and he will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit who leads into all truth.” (John 14:15-17, TLB)
Obedience is rooted in the basis of my love of God in Christ. When you love someone, you inexplicably want to please them. A husband brings his wife flowers on Valentine’s Day. Parents prepare the celebration of their child's birthday. Children remember Mother's Day and Father's Day. We give presents on Christmas. Some do out of obligation, but others do it on the basis of love.
Recently, I was visiting my daughter and her children. My little granddaughter handed me a sheet of paper. On it, she’d written in large block letters, “I LOVE YOU”. There was the face of a girl smiling the biggest smile and oversized heart. At the bottom (just so there was no confusion on my part), was her name. It was her gift to me. I didn’t ask her for it, no one forced it out of her; she chose to do it. Obedience is rooted in the basis of our love of God and others; but it is a free choice I must make.
If I am to obey God, it stands to reason that I ought to love Him. But my love cannot simply be directed to God alone; I must love others as well.
“...whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.” (1 John 4:20, NIV)
The results (fruit) of my love are demonstrated in my obedience to God. This then is the fulfillment of my purpose; obedience. Obedience is built on the foundation of love, instilled in me by The Holy Spirit, and always seeks to please God. Christ came to set me free from the bondage of sin and death so that I would freely choose to love and obey God; in order to fulfill my purpose in this life. If I am to fulfill my purpose, I must choose to obey God because I love Him.
Obedience is a choice made from love. Purpose is my destiny resulting from that choice.
A Note of Thanks: I would just like to say that I appreciate each of you who visit My Thought-filled Journey. Taking time out of your schedule to read a post on this blog is encouraging to me. Many of those who visit, will from time to time leave a comment. Whether a comment is left is not important. What is important, is that you came. I do hope you find encouragement and inspiration in these words. Please know I will pray with you regarding any circumstance you may be facing. Feel free to write me to say "Hello", request prayer, or share what God is doing in your life. I have not said it enough, but thank you for the light of Christ in your life which illuminates the way for us all.
|Note: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte).|