Let me play out a scenario for you. We have a two year old son named Flynn and he is a bit of an adventurer. He hones in on one thing and nothing will deter him. For instance he loves coffee, specifically the smell, so the other day he was in the pantry, and nothing good happens when your two year old is in the pantry. We begin calling for him thinking surely he will listen to his loving mother and father and respond immediately. Nope. "Flynn!" Needless to say after calling his name a few times I walk to the pantry and what do I see? Flynn with his hand, not in the cookie jar, but in the bag of Starbucks coffee grinds. His hand was covered and he looked at me and said, "Coffee!" Even though I am excited about his blossoming love for coffee, He has a difficult time obeying. I believe that if we are honest with ourselves we all have a difficult time obeying.
We tend to think of obedience as a childish thing. It's something I had to do when I was younger but now I don't. What does a life of obedience look like for an adult?
Thankfully we have a beautiful demonstration of obedience in the life of Jesus.
Hebrews 5:7-9 "In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications,with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him"
I love this passage because it speaks of why Jesus was heard in prayer, and no it wasn't because his name was Jesus, it was because of his reverence. His awe and respect for the Father is exemplary for us. It then translated into obedience and he learned it by fulfilling and doing what the Father commanded. I believe there are two key factors when it comes to obedience.
- Obedience begins with listening. - Simply put, you must listen first. What is God asking you do to do? Is you ear tuned to His voice or have you pushed it down so many times you can't hear it?
- Obedience is fulfilled in action. - Once you have listened you must act. There is no sideline obedience, you have to get in the game.
Obedience seems simple enough but why do we still find it so difficult? I believe it is a result of some forms of "obedience" that are masking themselves as true obedience and yet are still disobedience. We think to ourselves that we are obeying and deceiving ourselves. What do I mean?
- Partial obedience is disobedience - Prime example is the story of Saul in 1 Samuel 15 when God asked Saul to wipe out the Amalekites. Saul did most of what God asked and yet spared the cattle and sheep and did not kill King Agag. That partial obedience cost Saul his reign as king.
- Delayed obedience is disobedience - My children are a prime example of this. I hear "I was going to do it," more often than not. However, when something is asked of you, you are to respond not in your time but in the timing of the one who asked. It still speaks of my desire for control in the situation. It reveals a hear that is not fully surrendered. Which leads to the next point.
- Wrong-Hearted Obedience is disobedience - Sometimes we will respond quickly but with the wrong heart. Whether it is to be noticed by others for our good behavior or we are grumbling and complaining the entire time it reveals that your heart is not in line with the Father's. That doesn't mean obedience is always easy. It will be hard however we have to get over ourselves and trust the leading of the Holy Spirit that there is a better purpose and plan for our growth and more importantly His glory.
Don't be deceived by disobedience that masks itself as obedience.
Listen to the Father's voice and act on it today!