Simplicity of Obedience …. Yes or No.
Seriously, when it comes to obeying God, we have only one of two choices, “Yes” or “No”. Obedience or Disobedience. How can it be any other way? It is a simple choice. I’m not saying that obedience is easy, because most of the time it isn’t. When believers choose to obey God rather than man, we choose to reject worldly notions of what is right and what is wrong. Actually we go against the world’s mantra of following the path of least resistance in order to get along. By definition, obeying God means that we can and do step on the toes of our culture. After all, Jesus tells us that if we follow Him the world will be against us for it is against Him (John 15:18-20). We might as well acknowledge that our choices do have consequences. There will be times when obedience will be hard because we quickly find ourselves at odds not only with the world in general, but with friends, co-workers, team members, classmates, and yes, even within our family. Yet as faithful Christians, we know that God doesn’t desert us when we choose to follow His way over the way of the world. In reality, we draw closer to God through our obedience and in this we gain strength, wisdom, and peace. When we obey Him we choose to step away from popularity contests, conventional human wisdom, and figuring it out for ourselves. When we choose to obey our life is simplified because we know what kind of attitude we must have (the mind of Christ – Philippians 2:5); we know what kind of feelings we must have (the love of Christ – John 13:34-35); and we know who is in charge (Jesus Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lords – Revelation 17:14; 19:16).
Think about what we gain when we live in simple obedience to God’s guidance:
Power of Obedience …. God’s Strength
When we obey, we place ourselves not only in the will of God, but also in the arena of His capabilities. Isn’t it amazing how capable we think ourselves to be? Seriously, when something needs to be done, more often than not, we jump right in to do the work and only after a season of struggling against the enemy (as well as struggling against ourselves) do we remember to rely upon the Lord’s provision. When you stop to think about it, doesn’t simple, genuine obedience begin with our reliance on the Lord’s capabilities and power? When I was 9 years old I’d flex my muscles to see how ‘big’ my biceps were. With more bone than bicep showing, my capabilities were not only limited, but obvious to anyone who cared to look. The next time you see a small child flex his muscles I guarantee that you’ll smile at the notion of just how strong that boy thinks he is. As children of God, isn’t it about time we stop flexing our muscles and begin relying on His strength? The power of obedience comes when we stop trying to get the job done in the sphere of our abilities. Remember, His strength is made manifest in our weakness. Paul clearly spells this out for us in 2 Corinthians 2:9, “He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”
There is an added bonus that comes when relying on God’s strength. He is not only strong enough to get His work done through us, He also enables us to endure the attacks of the enemy and to do so victoriously. He knows just how to deal with those who oppose His will and take care of those who come after His children. Why do we foolishly think we know how to deal with our accusers when God said He’d take care of it for us? “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).
Blessing through Obedience …. God’s Provision
Consider the blessings which come through obedience. Better yet, meditate on what we receive from our Lord when we choose to simply obey Him in a well reasoned, Biblical manner.
– Blessing of Assurance.
God promises to be with His children as they faithfully persevere in both the good and the bad seasons of life. Jesus promised to be with us always (Matthew 28:18-20), but isn’t His presence all the sweeter when we, like Peter, proclaim Him to be “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16)? Isn’t it assuring to know the promise that we are His eternally (Romans 8:31-39; Ephesians 1:11-14; Philippians 1:6)?
– Blessing of Confidence.
The confidence we gain when people applaud us as we follow the crowd peaks immediately. Admit it, as soon as the crowd stops cheering we seek new ways to get their approval and applause. This soon becomes a vicious cycle draining our strength. The confidence God gives in obedience builds our character in Christ giving us greater courage to face our detractors. Is there anything that gives us more confidence in life than doing the right thing, the right way? Surely our faithful obedience is the supreme act of doing the right thing, the right way, which is another way of saying doing it God’s way.
– Blessing of Peace.
Paul speaks of the peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7). Recently I’ve come to experience the peace of God in deeper ways as I’ve obeyed Him in the simple, everyday course of life. The blessing of peace through obedience is hard to describe, but it is there.
– Blessing of Humility.
One of the key cornerstones of obedience is recognizing where true power and authority lies. The more consistent our obedience, the more we come to know just how faithful, powerful, and reliable He is. As this awareness grows in our lives, we find contentment in letting God be God in every aspect of life. One of my favorite Bible verses is Isaiah 66:2. Having declared His overwhelming sovereignty, God reminds the prophet, “…This is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.” I don’t know about you, but I find great blessing in knowing that in my humility, God is looking to me. Remember, humility is that wonderful virtue which allows us to set aside our ego, our obsession to figure it all out as well as our feeble attempts to advise & direct God. Aren’t these things worth laying at the feet of our Lord and Savior? I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of trying to tell God what to do. I think, no, I know that He’s got a better plan than I could ever devise. “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever, Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21)!
As I stated earlier, obedience will not always be easy. The path will be difficult as we deal with the world around us and our inner struggles. As the hymn writer so eloquently put it, we will have we have “fightings within and fears without.” In spite of the fightings and fears, there is no greater, nobler path than to walk the path of God’s Power and Blessing which comes through simple obedience.
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