A Simple Matter of Obedience

The last number of years have put me in the unexpected position of being able to work in several different venues, with many different types of people from all walks of life and uniquely different cultures. From working at churches, to a baseball stadium, to a construction site, and now in the world of retail (Yes, Tatum, I get it…EVERYTHING you have said about the retail world!). I have had the opportunity to not only see myself through different lenses but also see a very broad cross-section of humanity. In the midst of it all, one observation stands above the rest.

None of us like to be told what to do.

It does not matter who we are or who is commanding us. Neither does it matter whether it is a spoken directive from a superior or a written rule or law. Commands, rules, and laws are quite commonly resisted. Common to all of us is the urge, sometimes the compulsion, to say “NO!”.

Sometimes it is direct and “in your face”. Usually though, it is more subtle, more passive, but just as aggressive. We do enough to get by, we “do” only when being watched, or smile and then flat ignore what was expected of us.

The unsettling “look in the mirror” reality though, is this: Who we are is probably most revealed by our attitude towards authority.

Unsettling reality #2 is this: Our relationship with God is probably most clearly revealed in our attitude towards authority.

Jesus could not have said it any clearer when He told Pilate, ““You would have no authority…unless it had been given you from above…” (John 19:11). All authority, finds its source in the sovereign rule of God and thus our response to our earthly authority is ultimately a response to God.

But let’s make this personal.

Let’s just make this about us and the Lord.

“Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them…” (Luke 6:46-47)

Obedience has always been an expected hallmark of one who claims a relationship with the Lord. It is a very simple and very clear truth.

Without question.

Without a doubt.

The Old Testament and New Testament pages are covered with calls to obey.

While the Bible is so much more than a rule book full of “do this” and “don’t do that” commands, the commands ARE there. God very clearly tells us what He wants and expects from us. Yes, He tells us what to do and contrary to popular opinion, they aren’t His well-intentioned suggestions to help us along in life that we can pick and choose from.

They are commands, imperatives.

The words of Jesus define quite clearly what it means to “walk with the Jesus”. It means we do what He says, without question and without compromise. It means we submit our will to His. Not as a way to earn His favor or gain an advantage mind you, but simply because that is how one rightly responds to their eternal King and Creator.

But, it goes back even further. There is no salvation, no redemption, no forgiveness apart from obedience. Our relationship with Christ is founded upon our obedience to the Gospel (John 3:36 and 2 Thessalonians 1:6-8). Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). That is a truth that must be obeyed. Jesus is the Lord, the King, the Savior, and our eternity is determined by our submission to Him.

It isn’t about a set rules that we check off and by doing so we make ourselves appealing to God. Quite the contrary, it isn’t about the rules, it is about Jesus as King. It is about Who the rule-giver is and what He has done for us. It is about submitting ourselves to the truth that we are unable to be made right with God on our own good deeds, that we are reconciled to God only by the work of Christ on the cross, that we must personally submit ourselves to Him as our Savior, our Lord, and our King.

This is what saves us, this is what we were saved for (1st Peter 1:2), this is what sets us apart.

Jesus, forgive my comprises, forgive my arrogance, and in my continued imperfection, please make my will like yours. Purify my motives, strengthen my resolve, grow my faith so that I may find great joy and growing maturity in my obedience to you (and those you have placed over me!) simply because you are my King, the One who has saved me, and it is to you that I answer.

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