True meaning of obedience
So, I know the risks I take launching a Blog in 2017 with the word ‘obedience’ in the title. I know the risk I take launching a Blog with the word ‘obedience’ repeated several times just in my introduction. It is a risk I’m willing to take because I hope and pray that you will see my authenticity and you will see the truth in what I write. Understanding how Biblical obedience applies to your life will help you to understand how it is a blessing and not a chore!
Do I really expect you to believe Me?!
The word obedience seems to be skewed so far out of context when it comes to Biblical truth and especially when its related to the role of a woman in today’s world. From where I stand (being born again-going from a life of sin to being a sinner saved by grace and faith in Jesus Christ), obedience is the ultimate act of love.
Wait!…. I know what some are thinking….. “obedience is for the weak, pushover women who have no desire to succeed.” Oh how I understand that thought process! Oh how Satan loves to confuse us! Ladies, please hear me! I tell you, obedience is born out of love…. Wait! “how can this be?”
How do I know this to be true? My own personal struggle and surrender to obedience guides my testimony! I was raised in the faith-well kind of- I believed in God and I went to church and I went to private school. I did everything right; followed all the rules… and yet I lost my way. Satan led me into the trap of believing that God was just a really good “friend” and He was letting me down by not giving me what I believed I deserved. In my mind, if He loved me He would do His part and I would do mine: I follow the rules and He gives me what I want. Fear and reverence were unnecessary burdens placed on me by an overbearing Church. My understanding of what it meant to be forgiven was skewed and I certainly didn’t understand the true meaning of obedience.
I thought I was growing and maturing. I “prayed”, asking God for what I wanted and what I believed I deserved. My immaturity was starkly revealed when those prayers were not answered as expected- when expected….and so began… a sinful life. It was not until I was brought to my knees and truly accepted God’s love and forgiveness that I finally came to understand this concept of obedience.
What exactly is True Obedience
True obedience is not following the rules and doing things because you want to earn God’s grace and love, and if we are being honest-really you want his blessings (the good stuff). True obedience is born out of pure reverence and awe; humbled gratefulness for sins forgiven. Obedience is our best attempt at showing gratitude for that forgiveness, for His mercy, grace, and unconditional love.
He brings us to our knees to save us from ourselves. He desires to bring us closer to Himself, so that in our humble obedience to His perfect way of living, He can truly bless us. By finally accepting our need for forgiveness we open the door to a personal relationship with our Father and our Savior. The forgiveness we receive upon acknowledgement of Jesus’ selfless act on the cross is life-altering! It lifts our burdens, clearing the path in our hearts for true reverence and obedience to His word.
I took a break from writing this post to reflect and ponder on what the Lord really wanted us all to understand about obedience and how it applies to our lives. I do my Bible studies a little differently than a lot of people…random page flips that never turn out to be random at all (check back soon for a more in depth look at the concept of Rhemas and their use!). Mark 5 is what I turned to….”Jesus sends demons into a herd of pigs”. Wow, how relevant and applicable to this topic of obedience!
In this miracle account, a man possessed by a ‘legion’ of demons finds Jesus. That in and of itself is something to take note of…if an evil spirit seeks out Jesus, how much more should we?! I find this verse extremely significant as well-This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him (Mark 5:3-4 NIV). Nothing and nobody could fix this man, nothing could control the demon—-except Jesus!
This man was brought to his knees (verse 6) and Jesus commanded the spirit leave the him (verse 8)….and guess what happened….the ‘legion’ of demons OBEYED (verse 13). Now my sisters, if an entire legion of evil spirits knows, believes in, and follows the direction of Christ, is that not enough of an example for us to take heed? As we continue in this chapter of Mark we see that the cleansed man then sets his mind on what HE believes is the best plan for his life…to go with Jesus (verse 18). In fact, the man ‘begged’ Jesus to go with him. Here is the clincher…Jesus tells him NO!
I don’t know about you but this struck me hard. How often to do we set our minds on a certain course of action believing that WE know best for our lives? And yet, what God has planned for us is ALWAYS better! Jesus told this man that instead he needed to go home to his family, care for them and spread the good news of what had been done for him (verse 19). What did this man do? He OBEYED (verse 20)! What was the result? All the people were amazed! (verse 20)
What this Means for Us
How does this translate into our lives today? This passage, among many others, provides us with a very clear picture of what God needs from us. He needs our surrender, our acknowledgement of Jesus as our salvation, our obedience, and our testimony. And guess what ladies….we need Him! We need forgiveness, we need to understand surrender and what it does for our hearts. All of us need direction and He provides this and more if we are willing to obey and walk with Him.
His plan for our lives is laid out for us in His Word. Accepting His forgiveness brings clarity. He gives us a road map to follow and provides us with a guide (The Holy Spirit) if we are willing to accept direction. A personal relationship is fostered with Himself and Jesus and it will sustain us when trouble comes. He knows it is not easy and He knows we will be ridiculed for living in obedience. BUT, He promises to walk with us every single step of the way.
When we finally come to understand that every single sin hurts the heart of our Heavenly Father, we are better able to understand the significance of the relationship between forgiveness and obedience. His forgiveness and grace allows us to be joyful in our salvation; we are confident in our forgiveness because of what Jesus did for us- in our place.
A Change in Perspective
Choosing sin, no matter how small, hardens our hearts to His sacrifice and His love (notice I said choosing – **living in sin is different than being a sinner in need of a savior**). HOWEVER! Acknowledging our sin before God allows His forgiveness to relieve burdens of shame and guilt. This in turn allows us to live freely.
The freedom born of forgiveness is different than the freedom we believe we have in doing whatever we please. This is life-giving freedom-Soul freedom. In that freedom we are able to choose a righteous life based on love and joyful gratefulness for sacrifices made. We get to follow Him! Therefore my friends, obedience is a privilege and honor, not a burden. Don’t let this easily deceived world convince you otherwise!
I know, I know….this is a controversial topic! But don’t you think it is necessary to our walk in faith? What role do you see obedience playing in your life?? In your relationship with the Lord…. your husband….in your role as a mother….in the workplace….lets chat!