Redefining Obedience

Personal confession time:  Do you know who the hardest person for me to obey is?


Growing up in a legalistic church the message was pretty simple - obey, or burn!  God gave a book with a list of things not to do, and we were supposed to...well...not do them!

That didn't really give me any warm fuzzies.  Neither did any of the crazies screaming at me that I was a sinner, for that matter.

Plus, for real - It's way, WAY easier to open the fridge and drown my sorrows in ice cream than to pray to the invisible man upstairs.

If you're anything like me, when you hear words like 'obey' and 'obedience,' you want to run the other way.

My vision of obedience is literally painful.

When I think of obedience, I envision being curled up in a ball, on my knees, with a burning hand squeezing the back of my neck.

It might sound extreme - but think about it for a moment.  When someone tells us what to do, many times, our first instinct is to say (and not necessarily out loud)...

"You can't tell me what to do!"

And usually, you do the opposite just to prove the point, right?

Sound familiar?  I'm sure every parent reading this right now is nodding their head!

The reality is, we are all obeying something.  We are obeying ourselves, our cravings, our addictions, our minds, our bodies...we obey the law of the land, our parents wishes, and even the street lights while we're driving.

Green means go, red means stop.

We won't obey someone outside of ourselves, but we'll pretty easily obey ourselves or even worse...things. Drugs, alcohol, sex, money...

Not only will we obey them, we'll love them.

Then what happens?  The things we obey hold us back.  Drugs, alcohol, sex, money...ourselves.  We hold ourselves back all the time, don't we?

I know I do.

But what if we have it all wrong?

Guess what?  We do.

Did you ever hear the popular verse "Be still and know that I am God"?  Psalm 46:10

The words 'be still' can also be translated as 'cease striving.'

The way God works and the way this world works are two totally different things.

We feel that if we submit to something someone else wants us to do, we are weak.  Trapped. Funny thing is, in the reality of this world...

...we are already weak.

We are only strong in the reality of God's world.  “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

In the spiritual realm, obedience is what advances us, not what holds us back.  Obedience is what unlocks doors, gives us wings and propels us forward.

Cease striving.  Stop fighting.  Stop resisting.  God's purpose is to advance His kingdom, not shackle it.  He wishes to arm His people with light, not cast them into darkness.

Simply put:  Obedience is the key, not the cage.

So the next time you feel the Lord tugging you to change something, remember that the reward is far greater than the struggle.

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