Obedience is…

“I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey Your Word.” -Psalm 119:101

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There was a song I learned growing up in church. We sang it often enough in Sunday School that I still remember it and have taught it to my son. The words speak about how obedience is tied to belief. It’s a catchy little tune, with a succinct truth acceptable for all ages. The song goes like this,

“Obedience is the very best way to show that you believe. Doing exactly what the Lord commands, doing it faithfully. Action is the key to obediency, a joy you will receive! Obedience is the very best way to show that you believe so spell it, O-B-E-D-I-E-N-C-E! Obedience is the very best way to show that you believe!”

Obedience demonstrates what we value and place our faith in. The psalmist desired holiness, knowing this pleased the Lord. He sought to live in a way which reflected his King’s character. Therefore, to be obedient and holy means to live out God’s commands. If you are ever curious about the the will of God for your life, you need look no further than His commandments. He tells us His will for our lives no matter the situation.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” -Matthew 22:37-40

God’s purpose in giving these commands is to chip away, and occasionally strip, our old sin nature off to conform His children with a heart that looks like His. The frustrating thing about living in a cursed world is contending with this sin nature. We too lament like Paul,

“When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God- through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.” -Romans 7:21-25

Did you catch the word “war” in there? Every Christian is at war, a very real yet unseen spiritual war. When you and I are cognizant of this fact, it will equip us for the day in which we face assaults meant to batter our faith. We are given weapons of faith, spiritual armor, to combat the lies, persecution and even our own sin nature. What grace! Yet what motivates the believer to persevere is the hope we have. Paul asks the question, “Who will rescue me from this body of death?” Jesus is our Rescuer, Hope made flesh. Because Jesus took my place on the cross paying the sin debt I owe, I am no longer condemned (Romans 8:1) and neither are you if you know Him as your Lord and Savior. Jesus perfectly obeyed the Father’s will. He lived out the two greatest commandments by laying down His life for us.

When you grow discouraged in your lack of love, sin failures, or times of spiritual dryness, remember your Heavenly Father is still at work. The Bible says you are loved with an everlasting love. Elisabeth Elliot (twice widowed missionary, author and speaker) is known for saying the question isn’t how do I feel right now, but rather what does God want me to do? Then we follow in obedience. We know this isn’t the end of the Story. God promises to make all things new. He has started first with His children and will not stop until He sees His own reflection in us- perfectly. God is fitting the believer for Heaven to live with Him eternally.

Grace upon grace,

April

Growing deeper: Jeremiah 31:3; John 14:15; 1 Corinthians 13:10-12; Ephesians 6:10-18; Philippians 1:6

I realized the children’s song I mentioned is from ‘Patch the Pirate’ which is also something I listened to as a child. I can recommend it as a great tool to teach the simple and essential tenets of the Christian faith. My memory recalls the song a little differently, but that doesn’t change its message 🙂

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