Obedience. What emotions are evoked within you when you read that word? For some, it will evoke panic. For others, it will evoke defiance. And others may merely dismiss it all together as an outdated concept that has no relevance whatsoever in this present culture.
I am a firm believer that it is the gross misinterpretation and related abuses that are to blame for most of the evils associated with obedience. By our very nature, we are also resistant to obedience. Any parent of a two-year-old can tell you that. However, when obedience is engaged with wisdom and prudence, it is quite relevant and beneficial to those who are willing to apply it. “Wisdom is the power to see, and the inclination to choose, the best and highest goal, together with the surest means of attaining it. Wisdom is, in fact, the practical side of moral goodness. As such, it is found in its fulness only in God. He alone is naturally and entirely and invariable wise.” J. I. Packer, Knowing God
Obedience can be a beautiful, blessed, and even empowering act of our free will.
Do not underestimate the power of obedience in your faith walk. Many people want all of the benefits and rewards of a relationship with God without obeying His commands or laws. It is not possible. A.W. Tozer said it this way, ”To escape the error of salvation by works we have fallen into the opposite error of salvation without obedience.” All throughout scripture, God demands obedience and holiness from His people. Obedience is absolute. You are either walking in it, or you are not.
Obedience is not just about what we “Don’t Do,” it’s also very much about what we “Do Do.” “Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right.” Psalm 106:3 Jesus also said in John 14:23 “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.
Jesus spoke of His ultimate free will act in John 10:17, “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life.” We can lay down our lives too. By our lives I mean our time which is the substance of our lives. It is a conscious act of our will. We exercise our free will every day when we choose to get out of bed (or not) when the alarm sounds, spend time in prayer and meditation (or not), when we choose to exercise (or not), when we choose to eat (or not), etc. You get the idea. When we choose to exercise our free will and pursue God, pursue Truth, pursue love, and then pursue self-sacrifice for others, it is most precious to our Father in heaven. In Mark 12: 30 & 31 Jesus said, “the greatest commands are first to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, and mind and second to love others as ourselves.” This is a verse that I wear on my wrist as a daily reminder. Because I don't know about you, but I need reminders (lots of them). When we choose Him above all else, above selfish desires, other people/relationships, material possessions, fleshly desires and appetites, career and ambition, recreation, etc. only then is He truly first. To quote a great American (tongue in cheek) “If you ain't first your last”. Will Ferrell as Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights
Is He really first in your life/your time?
I encourage you to make God first in your “Do not’s” and in your “Do’s”. When you make Him first, when you make others first, when you choose obedience, everything else in life is so much better. Test Him in this and see that He is faithful. "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone should hear My voice and open the door, then I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.” Revelation 3:20 In other words, when you say "yes" to God, when you become a "yes" person, you will find yourself in His enveloping, transformative, and lovely beyond description presence.
"The golden rule for understanding spiritually is not intellect, but obedience. If a man wants scientific knowledge, intellectual curiosity is his guide; but if he wants insight into what Jesus Christ teaches, he can only get it by obedience.” Oswald Chambers
Copyright ©2017 by Ronilynn Brissey-Ramos
For additional Scripture references regarding obedience: