Obedience is total submission to God; surrender our will to God’s at all costs. It is the ability to do exactly as God says, and when He says to do it because we trust him implicitly and love him wholeheartedly. Obedience is true faith in action.
Despite God’s promises to give us a new heart (Ezek. 36:26); to never leave us or forsake us (Deut. 31:8); to supply all of our needs (Phil. 4:19); to work out his good pleasure in us (Phil. 2:13); and to strengthen us (Isa. 41:10), I’ve got to admit that I still struggle with believing that total obedience to God is possible.
When I think of total obedience, I think of boring, mindless people saying ‘praise the Lord’ and ‘amen’ after every sentence; not engaging in any forms of social media, never cursing and definitely never cutting anyone off in traffic, as I have been known to do.
I’m realizing that my struggle is that I’m equating obedience with perfection.
I’m ‘sloooowwwllllyyyy’ learning that obedience does not make life boring or humdrum, and it definitely has nothing to do with perfection. On the contrary, it brings more grace, more peace, more joy, more simplicity to my life. It always brings blessings!
In 1 Kings 2:3 (CEV), King David gives this advice to his son, Solomon:
“Do what the LORD your God commands and follow his teachings. Obey everything written in the Law of Moses. Then you will be a success, no matter what you do or where you go.” 1 Kings 2:3 CEV
In Proverbs 3:1-3 (ESV), Solomon shares this wisdom:
“My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for the length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.”
An in Isaiah 1:19, the prophet shares:
“If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land.” Isaiah 1:19
When God asks for our obedience, He takes into account all our strengths and frailties; He’s not looking for us to be perfect.
- He looks to see whether we truly desire to do His will.
- He gives us the grace to obey Him just for the day, the hour or the circumstance
- He looks at whether we are wholeheartedly giving ourselves to Him or just going through the motions.
When you and I make our goal to seek God, He extends His grace to us so that we can learn obedience. God will not force us to be obedient nor will He require us to jump through hoops to prove our obedience to Him.
A big difference between the Old and New Testament is that the Old Testament demanded obedience but it did not provide the grace for it. In the New Testament, God’s grace empowers and inspires us to keep His commandments.
Obedience to God brings so many blessings. It is where the true riches of relationship with God are found. Imagine how it feels to trust someone so implicitly that you would do anything for them–even unto death! (Phil. 2:8)
So if you’re anything like me and struggle with the concept of TOTAL obedience, stop equating it with perfection and start thinking about it as the path to true blessings. Even though you might not ever have experienced it yet in your life, trust that total obedience is possible. Recognize that your doubts and fears will not disqualify you from being obedient, and trust that God will guide you through the process from disobedience to obedience if you allow him.
Are you ready for true blessings?
Pastor Rick Warren sums it up as this:
Obedience = Love + Trust + Action
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