Obedience is one of those challenging internal heart issues that require an external conversion to positive action. Yes, to be obedient is to submit yourself to the authority of another. I have heard it said, “Obedience is easy as long as I get to do it my way.”
For some, obedience seems to come easily with their hearts in sweet alignment with their father. But for others the slightest expectation of obedience is met with defiance and rebellion. Think about the times you have repeatedly asked your child to do a simple task? Do they respond with appropriate respect, or do they scream, yell, and roll on the floor, as if their clothes are on fire? Why do you think it is hard for children to obey their parents? After all, a God fearing parent loves their children, protects them, provides for them, nurtures, and knows best for them, so what’s the problem?
Let’s take it to the next level. Why is it so hard to obey God? God loves us, provides for us, protects us, knows what’s best for us, and gives us direction and a purpose. So, why are we not obedient to Him in all of our thoughts, words and actions? Could it be that deep inside our hearts we are rebellious and self-serving, and possibly, do not fully trust God with the path he has planned for us? John 14:21 says, “Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me.” Proverbs 3:5-6 shows us that with obedience there is trust. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”
Here’s the bottom line, there are a lot of different reasons, excuses, we can suggest for not being obedient, but we do not obey God because we do not want to obey him. We just do not think being obedient is important at that particular moment. This may sound harsh, but there will be consequences for our disobedience. This may sound old fashioned to some but God considers disobedience sin.
For years I wrestled with something God had asked me to leave behind, “It’s not a sin, so I really don’t see why it is such a big deal.” The problem is disobedience is a big deal. The consequence of my disobedience was misery wrapped up in a rebellious heart. It began to consume my thoughts. God’s great plans for me remained a mystery, like walking in a thick fog.
God would not clear the fog until I made the decision to obey. A repentant heart shines His light so we may clearly see the path before us.
Granted, I still have my share of mess-ups and mistakes, but in my mess-ups there is growth and greater understanding about the importance of honoring, loving and obeying God. It will require no longer conforming to the world’s way of doing things, but instead, allowing God’s Word to help transform, or reset, priorities. Sometimes these resets impact our social relationships. Sometimes they change family dynamics. But, I trust God and have chosen to obey Him in all areas of my life.
Jesus teaches us the importance of obeying God, and his earthly parents, at the age of twelve. After searching for Jesus for over three days, Mary and Joseph found Jesus in the temple sitting among the teachers of the law. Times were different in those days and families traveled in large caravans for days at a time. Families took care of one another, and watched over each other’s children. Can you imagine how Mary and Joseph must have felt thinking they had lost Jesus, the Son of God? A parent is still a parent and the scriptures state how anxious they both were while searching for him. When His mother found Him, she was a little upset.
Jesus knew he needed to be about the Father’s business in the temple. Jesus was listening and asking questions of the teachers that no typical twelve year old would ask. Everyone was amazed at his understanding! While Jesus knew he needed to be obedient to the Father, Mary and Joseph were still trying to grasp the understanding of Jesus being fully God and fully man, at the age of twelve.
Jesus then obeyed his parents and returned with them to Nazareth. He lived there for another eighteen years working and learning carpentry. God was preparing Jesus to do what he was born to do; build a bridge between God and man. He was preparing for His ultimate obedient act.
Jesus lived his entire life in complete obedience to God, even to the point of His death on the cross. He was the sacrificial lamb who was slain to cover the sins of the world. We deserve the consequences of our actions, but instead He offers an eternity in Heaven. Thank God he offers us second chance after second chance. Luke 11:28 reminds us we need to take action. “Blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.”
“Here it is in a nutshell. Just as one person did it wrong and got us in all this trouble with sin and death, another person did it right and got us out of it. But more than just getting us out of trouble, he got us into life! One man said no to God and put many people in the wrong; one man said yes to God and put many in the right.” Romans 5:19 MSG
Say yes to the Father, He really knows best.