I’ve been giving some thought to the idea of obedience. This may take several days to get out all my thoughts – so be prepared.
Oftentimes we are faced with decisions and we know what we ought to choose but there is another choice that doesn’t seem all that bad…. it just isn’t what we are supposed to do. It is the “easy way out” of the situation. It doesn’t require the effort that we should put forth. It allows us to escape difficult circumstances. However, we know it isn’t what we are supposed to do.
A couple of easy examples. The handles keep coming loose on my pots in my kitchen. I know I should use a screwdriver and tighten them properly. However, a butter knife is often convenient and temporarily does the job fairly well. Why would I want to get a screwdriver? I am sweeping the kitchen floor. There really isn’t all that much dirt. The dust pan is in the closet in the other room. Who is going to know if I sweep that little bit of dirt under the frig. The problem with this kind of attitude is the “dirt piles up”. Failure to be obedient in small things often leads to a larger and larger failure and can eventually ruin you. God is concerned with the little things on our lives because He understands the impact they can make.
I believe that obedience should also happen instantly. It isn’t something to think about. Years ago I had a colleague who taught her second graders that “slow obedience is no obedience.” That saying has stuck with me.
Obedience isn’t about what you feel like doing. If I tell my daughter to clean her room, I don’t mean if you feel like it, you should clean your room. She should go and do what she is told because she is commanded to obey her parents. (Ephesians 6:2-3) If God tells us to do something and we aren’t in the mood, we need to change our mood quickly.
If you love God, you will keep His commandments. If you love God, you will obey Him. (John 14:15) We need to go where He leads us to go and do what he tells us to do. It won’t always be easy but “broad is the way that leads to destruction”. (Matthew 7:13-14) If we love God, we show it by our actions. To be disobedient to God would be a slap in the face of your creator. Jude 1:25 says we are to give to God “glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore”.
What about when the choice is difficult to make. Perhaps if makes you look bad in public. Perhaps it will cost you a job opportunity. I love the move “Chariots of Fire.” Think of the choice that Eric Liddell had to make. If you aren’t familiar with the story, Eric was an Olympic runner in 1924. He also believed that Sunday was the Lord’s day and that it should be devoted to God. When he found out that his Olympic heat was scheduled on a Sunday, he chose not to run. He was committed to God and determined to obey no matter what it cost him. In a twist of events, Eric gets offered the chance to change races and run in the 400 meter race (instead of the 100). No one gives him much hope of winning but Liddell goes on to win the gold medal. The line most often quoted is “I believe that God made me for a purpose. But He also made me fast, and when I run, I feel His pleasure." I think the main theme here is that while he liked running, he loved God and chose obedience. God then rewarded him with an unexpected opportunity and victory.
Why should I obey God? How about because He loves you. God wants the best for you. When I make up my mind to obey, it doesn’t matter if it is a small thing that no one will notice or a large item. Obedience is obedience. You either obey or you don’t. There’s no middle ground.
In Matthew 7: 24 – 27 Jesus said, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
The God of the Universe who created you, loves you. He alone can see into the future. He knows where our choices will lead us; we do not. We obey because we know that God causes all things to work for the good for those who love him. (Romans 8:28)
Listen for His voice, trust Him, and obey …. Let’s see where I go with this tomorrow …