Obedience…YUCK, or Maybe Not…

So lately I have been thinking about obedience.  The first thing my heart does when I think about myself and obedience is it twists inside.  I can practically feel the flight or fight response begin, I am on my guard.  “ME, Obey?  Whom am I to obey?  I am grown.  What do you mean OBEY?”  Frightening, but true.  My sin nature likes to think I am in control and I don’t really need to “obey” anyone.  However, that isn’t accurate at all.  I have always been a pleaser to those in authority over me.  It is part of my make up.  I don’t want to disappoint so I do my best to please them, but is that truly obedience?  NO.  I had every pretension of obedience, but I didn’t always obey.  I didn’t have the right attitude and I was willing to disobey as long as I wasn’t caught.

The same can be true today.  I have the pretension of obeying God.  I read my Bible, I pray, but am I truly obeying?  See God is more interested in where my heart is rather than my actions.  Psalm 51:16-17 says, “You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”  So obedience is more than just going through the motions.  I have been reading a book called Say Goodbye to Whining Complaining and Bad Attitudes in You and Your Kids by Turansky and Miller.  I will tell you it dives into the issue behind obedience, it is honor.  Honor is more important than obedience and for God it is part of obedience.  As He calls us to honor Him.  He taught us how to honor Him as well.  Look at all the rules He gave the Israelites.  Look at the sacrifices, the clean and unclean, the offerings, the commandments.  God was teaching the Israelites THIS is how you obey and honor ME.  No other god could do that!

So not only is obedience something I fight, not only is it about more than my actions, but it is also about love.  WHAT?  How is obedience about love?  I so often think of tyrants when I think of obedience.  What does love have to do with it?  Well, first thing, obedience when coupled with honor (or the right attitude) is a gift you give the one you are obeying.  Kids, when you obey your parents it is a gift.  Wives when we obey our husbands it is a gift.  Students when you obey your teachers it is a gift.  Now this isn’t the feet stomping, eye rolling sort of obeying, this is the honor filled obedience.  Secondly look at what Jesus has to say about obedience.  (I must be slow that this is such a revelation to me, but it is true)  John 14:21 “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”  So It is easy for me to gloss over my part and say ok, if I do what God wants me to do He will love me, but that isn’t the point.  The way we show love to God is OBEDIENCE!  What?  Seriously, we can say we love God, but unless we are obeying His commands that “love” is just lip-service.  It is just a bunch of garbage.

So I have been convicted lately that if I am not obeying God then I am not loving God.  That really changes they way I think about obedience.  Praise God that He gives me more chances than I deserve to obey and honor Him.

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0 Responses to Obedience…YUCK, or Maybe Not…

  1. Luann Williams says:

    Angela, I enjoyed reading your thoughts on obedience. The How to Stop Whining and Complaining book has been very helpful to me on my child-raising journey. The church has a set of tapes that go along with the book.

  2. Susan says:

    Hi Ang. Was reading more from The Spiritual Writings of Flannery O’Conner and thought of your post on obedience. In one of her letters she says, “I have heard it said that belief in Christian dogma is a hindrance to the writer, but I myself have found nothing further from the truth. Actually, it frees the storyteller to observe. It is not a set of rules which fixes what he sees in the world. It affects his writing primarily by guaranteeing his respect for mystery…” Perhaps, we can see similar virtures here within belief and obedience; respect and honor, as you mentioned in your post. As believers, we don’t understand all, but we do have a foundation of respect for God, each other and creation (ideally, anyway). Now, I’m no logistician or philosopher, but it seems that the practice of obedience would also create this kind of foundation in our lives.

    • Susan says:

      In other words, we don’t practice obedience for obedience sake, but in order to cultivate virtues such as respect, honor, self-control and love.

      • God Thinker says:

        Sue, I agree that God calls for obedience for many reasons. Developing respect, honor, self-control, love are certainly benefits to obedience. I have also found that when I obey things go better. The story is probably a post in itself, but since God created us, if we do it His way things run smoother. Injustices often when dealing with another believer are confessed and restitution made. When we do it our way often the struggle escalates. God’s way is better when I am willing to say no to self and yes to God. Thanks for sharing your thoughts friend!

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