I was not an obedient child. It’s not that I didn’t understand the rules, I just didn’t want to follow them. And it caused me a lot of pain—literally and figuratively.
Now that I’m and adult, and a Christ-follower, I have seen the blessings that come from obedience and the pain that comes from disobedience. And I have decided that obedience is always attractive.
Really. Look how much we appreciate obedient children or well behaved dogs or even reliable friends.
When we are obedient in our Christian life, people notice and they are intrigued by our faith. When we are obedient, we portray Christ accurately and attractively. When we decisively walk the straight and narrow—not veering to the right or left—but keeping our feet on the path that God has shown us in His Word, we begin to see God in His infinite beauty. He becomes more and more clear to us—more and more attractive—and of great value.
Obedience is not hard, but it does take discipline. Our natural ways are often not God’s ways. Obedience means listening to God when He speaks through the Word, through Godly friends, through scripturally sound books. Obedience also means doing what we hear God telling us. James 1:23-24 says, “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” Hearing and doing must go together if obedience is the goal.
When we do hear God speaking, we must obey immediately, because as I tell my kids, delayed obedience is disobedience. Delayed obedience can also make us doubt that God even spoke at all and it can encourage us to disregard that still, small voice. When we continually ignore God’s promptings, His voice will get harder and harder to hear. But when we hear Him speak and we jump to obey, and when we continue to do this, focusing on God’s plan and not our own comfort, God says that we will gain freedom in Him and blessings from His hands, “ But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does. (James 1:25)
The act of obedience takes a choice. It involves just doing the next thing God asks of you, again and again and again. Like I tell everyone I meet with, walking as a Christ follower requires a long obedience in the same direction (I actually stole that phrase from a book by Eugene Peterson). It requires an everyday reliance on God’s Spirit within you and a moment by moment choice to die to your own natural inclinations.
Obedience is our path to freedom.
Obedience invites God’s blessing.
Obedience is attractive because God’s ways are beautiful…and beautiful lives point our broken world back to their Father.
Obedience does not guarantee we will know what the future holds, but it does give us confidence in the pure character of God—and the knowledge that His ways are always good. So, in obedience, we can rest….and trust…and give Him glory.
Obedience is always attractive.
Be careful to obey all the law…do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.