I grew up with a father who exercised authority in a way that I knew I better obey, or else! Being a kid I thought it was all about Dad telling me what to do. Isn’t that what all kids think? Then I went to school and teachers told me what to do. If I didn’t obey I was toast.
When I was sixteen I got my first job and guess what? I had a boss that I better obey or I would be fired and it’s been that way ever since. Do your job, do it well, or you will SUFFER the consequences! Let’s just say that I didn’t have a healthy view of obedience.
To most people obedience is a negative thing. I know it was to me. In 1973, I was born-again, baptized, and joined a church. Over time I was taught that I needed to fear God and obey Him or else He would punish me. I swallowed that teaching hook, line, and sinker because it matched what I always believed about authority. Therefore, I went through most of my Christian life fearing God and trying to obey Him. When I messed up I expected God to deal with me accordingly. After all, God is God! He is the Supreme Being and I better not tangle with Him or else.
Sometimes bad stuff would happen in my life and I thought I must have done something to tick God off so He was punishing me. I wasn’t sure what I did, but God is always right so I tried to straighten up even more. I begged God for mercy. I begged God to hear my cry. I prayed for forgiveness over and over. I did everything I could to appease this awesome and fearful God. After all, didn’t the Bible say that is it a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31)?
Whenever I read verses about obeying God I would inwardly cringe. I’d rather skipped over that part of His promises. I loved the actual promise, but I didn’t like the obey part. Why? Because I had a wrong view of obedience. Some derivative of the word obey is used 176 times in the Bible. Even Jesus said the we must keep His commandments (obey). All of this seemed like a Master-slave relationship to me. I didn’t fight it, but I didn’t understand it either. Why did this whole obedience thing leave a bad taste in my mouth?
The Bible is filled with stories of the consequences of disobedience. Look what happened to Adam! He disobeyed God just one time and that sent all mankind into a downward spiral of turmoil. This obey stuff is serious! Don’t mess with God!
Finally, one day as I was meditating on God’s Word, I considered the word “obey.” The Lord spoke to me the most amazing thing, “Son, obedience isn’t for me, it’s FOR you.” What? That was a foreign thought! Obedience was FOR me.
Father went on to show me that He is good and that His supreme desire toward me and for me was only good. Therefore, what He instructed me to do was FOR my good. Obedience isn’t for God to take an ego trip. HE doesn’t need my obedience, I DO! Did you get that? God doesn’t need our obedience, we do!
Obedience to God’s instructions leads us down the right paths (Proverbs 3:6). Since He knows what’s ahead and how to get us to where we WANT to go, He desires that we obey Him. When we obey Him He will lead us to where WE WANT TO GO! He WANTS to give us the desires of OUR heart (Psalm 37:4). He DELIGHTS in OUR prosperity (Psalm 35:27). He doesn’t want us to obey Him for Him. He wants us to obey Him FOR us. He wants us to obey Him so that He CAN bless us. How can He bless us if we make wrong choices and do stupid stuff?
If left to our own devices we will end up sick, tired, broke, and dead. He on the other hand sent Jesus so that we can have life and have it in ABUNDANCE (John 10:10). Even salvation through Jesus isn’t for God, it’s for us.
Don’t get me wrong, God gets something out of our obedience. He gets blessed kids who are an exhibition His glory. We get blessed and God gets glory. Now that’s a good deal, don’t you think? So, all this time when I cringed at obedience I was cringing at the perfect OPPORTUNITY for God to bless me.
Today, I have a fresh REVELATION of obedience. The truth of God’s word on obedience was forever imprinted into my heart and now I can say, “I love to obey!” I love the word obedience. Our obedience to God is the precursor to blessing. Without obedience, we are on our own, and that, at least for me, has been a disaster! I can’t see into the future, but God can. He has a perfect plan for me to live long and prosper. He has the same plan for you. For us to succeed we must trust the Lord with all our heart and not rely on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). As we trust and obey He leads us down the RIGHT paths. We then live prosperous and extraordinary lives.
Did you know through obedience to the Holy Spirit He will guide you into all truth and show you things to come. Just imagine living a life of missing all the traps Satan has set to destroy you? We can live the good life through obedience to the Holy Spirit. That, my friend, is an amazing thing!
Today I will leave you with this promise:
“You must carefully follow every command the Lord is giving you TODAY, so that you may LIVE, and INCREASE, and ENTER, and TAKE POSSESSION of all the promises God has given to you.” I have paraphrased this from Deuteronomy 8:1. From this verse we can see the BENEFITS of obeying God. Always remember for the rest of your lives that obedience is not for God, it is for you. God doesn’t need your obedience to satisfy His ego. You need obedience to open the floodgates of blessing upon your life.
I hope you enjoyed this word. The revelation that God has given me regarding obedience has forever changed my fallen view of what it means to obey. I no longer have a Master-slave relationship with God. Rather I am His son, in partnership with Him. He, as the Holy Spirit, is my counselor to guide me down the right paths as I obey His instruction to live the blessed life. God is eager to do the same for you!