Imagine that you received an invitation to attend an event, which stated, “Formal attire required.” If you possessed prior knowledge of the protocols for a formal attire or attended many formal events, it would be relatively easy for you to decide the outfit that you would wear, or your shopping trip would be focused on stores that also sell formal attire. If not, research would be necessary for you to gain knowledge of the requirements for an acceptable outfit. Certainly, you would put forth your greatest effort to adhere to the requisites of the event.
Obedience is a concept that causes an ongoing dilemma for many individuals. Our standard for obedience most often arises from our childhood understanding of our parents/caregiver’s definition of obedience. Unfortunately, if childhood disobedience was not addressed with disciplinary measures or ignored then is it highly probable that you are still facing the consequences of wayward behaviors as an adult. Still, you have the opportunity to learn the cause and effect of obedience as a fruit of love. So, I invite you to keep reading.
For parents who had a firm grasp of obedience they easily recognized when their children were disobedient. You may laugh, as you reflect on the times that you disobeyed, and think that your parents were unaware. Contrary to your belief, they were fully aware of your disobedience. It’s just that they did not address it at that particular time. When parents have a standard of excellence for obedience, their children’s acts of disobedience stand out like a red flag.
Remember when you asked if you could go to your friend’s home or some other event, or you desired a video game, or you needed money to go shopping with your friends and they gave an immediate answer of “No?” It was because of the prior acts of disobedience that you thought that you got away with. Whether or not you received an explanation of “why” they denied your request would depend upon their parenting style. If they desired to reveal their awareness of your hidden disobedience, then the answer may have been, “You cannot go, because last week you did not complete your assigned tasks.” As your balloon of happiness bursts, you try to figure out how they could have possibly known. After all, you did clean your room, but you threw everything under the bed or in the closet, or the bag of household garbage was placed in the outside bin after the day of collection.
Merriam-Webster defines Obedience as submissive to the restraint or command of authority: willing to obey.
Obedience requires the willingness to submit to all boundaries and commands of authority. Adhering to boundaries extends beyond our personal lives. Most organizations, especially the military and healthcare always have stringent rules and regulations. Breach of their protocols usually results in severe consequences that may include imprisonment and the licensure loss to practice. Although it may sound harsh, before enrolling or pursuing that particular career, the individual always possesses prior knowledge that complete submission of their will is required.
Another area of great compromise is the obedience to traffic laws. An abundant source of revenue for counties and states are from the fines that are collected for traffic violations. And what about the excessive monies that individuals pay for an attorney to work out a plea agreement and pay the courts to maintain their driving privileges when their licenses should have been suspended or revoked?
Even so, there is one aspect of our lives that money or plea agreements are ineffective in changing the consequences, and that is our spiritual walk with God. We will never be able to hide our thoughts or acts of disobedience from God. One of God’s characteristics is Omniscience, All-Knowing. Yes, the Path of Salvation is narrow, and does not allow for deviation. But like the military enrollees and healthcare professionals, we have prior knowledge of the consequences of disobedience to God.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus, our Lord. Romans 6:23
With God, there are no misunderstandings, surprises, changes, or gray areas of compromise. The solution to living a faithful life is the complete submission of our will to the will of God. Jesus replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.” Matthew 22:37-38
Personally, I love the straightforward manner of God. God’s instructions are always no compromise. Unlike worldly standards that have loopholes, God’s truth provides consistency and stability in our lives. When we commit to serving God, He not only gives us the requirements for obedience, He says that loving Him with all of our heart, soul, and mind is mandatory.
“If you love me, obey my commandments.” John 14:15
Our Heavenly Father knew that we would always waver between obedience and disobedience, and err on the side of disobedience because our natural desires are emnity against Him. Because He loves the human beings that He created in His image, God accepted the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus, to die for the redemption of our sins. From Jesus’ death and resurrection, we have the opportunity to confess and repent of our sins. But we must remember that God’s forgiveness is a gift that we should never take for granted.
Although, alone we are no match for Satan’s power, we can praise God that Satan can never compel us to do evil. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 1 Corinthians 10:13
Reflecting on God’s never-ending supply of love, grace, and mercies should produce heartfelt gratitude and the willingness to serve God by being obedient to His will. Our walk with God is not passive. Our spiritual journey requires constant action on our part. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13. It takes faith in God to avoid the pitfalls of sin. Our love for God is the foundation of our faith in God. Much love produces much faith, which produces the fruit of obedience.
REFLECTION: Obedience–the service and allegiance of love–is the true sign of discipleship. Thus the Scripture says, “This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.”…Instead of releasing man from obedience, it is faith, and faith only, that makes us partakers of the grace of Christ, which enables us to render obedience. Ellen G. White (Steps to Christ, 60-61)
Bible Reading: Philippians 4
God, today we thank you for being transparent by revealing the truth, and our requirements for serving you. We also thank you for your Son, Jesus to redeem us from our sins. We pray for the desire to serve you out of love, and to change our mindset that we strive to obey you at all times. Thank you for loving us. We love you and we praise your Holy Name. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.