Does the word “obedience” rub you the wrong way? Does it make you feel restricted and tied down to be yourself?
The issues of obedience or rebellion are not issues of personality and being free- spirited. Let’s look at a couple of scriptures:
“If you love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15
“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9
The issues of obedience and rebellion are issues of relationship. Many times we think of obedience as avoiding sin, and rebellion as falling into sin, but ultimately the issue is the condition of our relationship to the Lord. In obedience we are building trust, and we are growing in relationship towards the Lord, and in rebellion we are destroying trust, and jeopardizing the relationship.
In 2 Chronicles 16:9 the King James Version uses “perfect” instead of the word “loyal”.
Perfect : In Greek: Complete, friendly, peaceable, to be safe, make restitution, restore, give, make good, reward.
The loyalty/perfection of our heart shows the condition of our relationship to our Lord. It is an indication of the level of peace we have with Him. It reveals how safe we feel with Him. It also emphasizes the level of restoration that we have walked with God. Our obedience isn’t so the Lord can say, “Look, they finally listen to me.” Our obedience restores us from the condition of insecurity, anxiety, & brokenness to a place of wholeness. It is a reward to walk with the Lord in trust and in obedience. It means we no longer wrestle with God, but we have come to believe Him and trust Him when He speaks. Jacob finally stopped wrestling with God and the Lord changed his name (Genesis 32:22-28). Jacob no longer walked in deceit, self assertion , and strife, but was willing to surrender it all to God.
When our heart is loyal towards the Lord, we are no longer double-minded. We cannot hold on to Jesus and hold on to our own understanding anymore. We can’t serve two masters! We will either hate one and love the other, or love one and hate the other. There cannot be a mixture of faith and human understanding anymore. A heart that is loyal to God, instead of doubting, is acting upon His word. Praise Him!
“For by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” Romans 5: 19
Jesus the perfect one set the example for obedience. Imagine if he hadn’t obeyed the father; we would have no hope of salvation. He didn’t obey because it was comfortable or He was popular. On the contrary, the Son of God while He was on the earth, he was ridiculed, persecuted, disrespected, and finally was crucified. He chose to the obey the father, and He changed the world by His obedience!!!
Next time you consider the issue of obedience versus rebellion, think about the condition of your relationship with the Lord. Obedience versus rebellion are not an issue of whether we are free-spirited or not. They apply to all of us. When Jesus told us that if we love Him, we will obey Him, He wasn’t saying this to take our joy and freedom away, but He was saying that our obedience is a fruit of our love towards Him. It is a by-product of our trust towards him. Our obedience will set us free from ourselves and bring greater freedom into our lives.
Unfortunately, the body of Christ has adopted either a great adherence to obedience where it has become legalistic and man pleasing. Or on the flip side some have tried to use the grace card and have not taught or trained people into obedience of God’s word. The Lord calls us to obedience but it is an obedience that is directed towards Him, and it is based on Biblical principles. If we are not obeying Him, then we really don’t have the kind of relationship we think we have with Him!