But what if obedience is costly, illogical, or inconvenient?
My friend Emily shares her story of obedience:
I grew up in church and was saved at a young age. Despite knowing it was wrong, I made a poor decision and moved in with my boyfriend. I tried to explain myself to God, as if he didn’t know my heart. It didn’t change the sin. I felt a disconnection with God as soon as that sin began. Where was my peace? I knew He still loved me, but why couldn’t I hear Him anymore? I knew the answer. Sin stood between us. I was convicted on a daily basis. I knew I had to make things right. The day came that we decided to be obedient to God and do what’s right. We got married. (6-12-14) immediately, peace flooded into my body! I know we went about things backward, but I also know that now we are “right” with God. That sin can’t weigh me down anymore! We are now able to attend worship without the shame and guilt of disobedience. God’s peace and presence was such a blessing. But then God blessed us even more. We have a little baby boy on the way.
Another friend shares her difficult obedience story:
My ex wife (she became my ex when I married my husband) is a master manipulator, vindictive and dramatic woman. As a newlywed, I received the first phone call telling me she wished my husband was dead so she could collect his social security; she told our daughter that her father (my husband) hated her; our family picture is photoshopped to include our daughter because my ex said she’d call the police if we kept her the extra day we pre-arranged for the picture. Truly. This was my reality. To say I disliked her is slightly embarrassing, probably not strong enough, but entirely true. After years of heart palpitations and stress, I was reading God’s word which told me to pray for my enemies- and He meant her. I had prayed for us, for our daughter, for God’s will, but NEVER her! I wanted to be obedient, so I prayed- Halfheartedly at first, then it grew easier and genuine. Peace flooded me as my own fear, anger and hard feelings turned to compassion. Though it is still not always a simple choice, I confess, when I choose obedience, I am always rewarded with peace.
Both of these women made the difficult decision to obey God because of their love for Him. With God’s help, they went against their sinful nature of pride and selfishness, and did things God’s way. The result was that God received the glory and He showered blessings on them.
Obedience doesn’t benefit God as much as it benefits us. Obedience melts away self-centeredness and pride in exchange for selflessness and peace. What a blessing from God!
As Christians, we’ve all been the recipient of God’s amazing grace. We are blessed with salvation, for example, and with religious freedom because we live in America.
But my friend’s blessings were a direct result of their obedience to God.
The Lord your God will delight in you if you obey His voice and keep the commands and decrees written in this Book of Instruction, and if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and soul. This command I am giving you today is not too difficult to understand, and it is not beyond your reach. Deut. 30:10-11 NLT
Time spent with God will help us apply His desire for us to obey Him.
Study the Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. Joshua 1:8 NLT
Sometimes I grit my teeth, plead, defend my disobedience or simply fuss and cry. Eventually, I surrender and ask God to help me obey. Oh, how delighted Jesus must be when we choose to leave our comfort zone in sin nature, and step out in faith to obey!
Blessed rather are those who hear the Word of God and obey it. Luke 11:28 NIV
John Piper writes, “Learning obedience does not mean switching from disobedience to obedience. It means experiencing depths of yieldedness to God that would not have been otherwise demanded.”
When our heart is overflowing with Love for God, we are compelled to obey. We obey then, not because it’s easy, but because of love. What is God whispering to you?
Love the undeserving?
Pray for your enemy?
He doesn’t promise it will be easy…in fact, it’s often hard. But God is faithful and will help us when we humbly ask Him.
Obey Me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you. Jeremiah 7:23 NIV
God’s unfailing love for us is measured by the boundaries He’s given us. God established those boundaries because He knows we will live better within them. He lovingly convicts us of sin because He doesn’t want anything standing in the way between us and Him. He wants relationship with us. His desires for us to obey Him are for our good and we are blessed when we do.
When we choose to jump those boundaries, God, like a parent, chastens the disobedient. And when we choose to obey, He blesses us. But either way, He is manifesting His love.
Be obedient and leave the results to God.
Samuel replied, “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice.” I Samuel 15:22 NIV