We are rebellious creatures by nature, aren’t we? From the moment we’re born, we scream out our demands, to be fed, provided for, we question everything our parents tell us, then move out on our own, and continue with our demands, fairly dissatisfied with whatever our current situation may be, until we die. That is typically the natural order of things (I’m not speaking of those who found contentment in the Creator God through Christ Jesus, but that’s a different subject altogether). Our nature is rebellion, and it was handed down to us from the moment our ancestors first disobeyed the voice of God, doing what He forbade them to do in the perfect world He created.
As a husband, father, and preacher my heart has been broken time and again by Disobedience. I hate disciplining my kids, and when I have hurt my wife by dishonoring her wishes, or when she has done so with me, it complicates things so much. Usually, to make things right, it requires more time and effort than had we just simply done what was asked to begin with. As a preacher, I am heartbroken, often, as people will come to me for advice, and, when I give warnings and counsel from Scripture, I see the scriptures come to full effect when the counsel and advice is disregarded. Ultimately, it seems like many want affirmation, and not counsel.
Why does obedience matter so much? Why are we removing phrases like “honor and obey” from marriage vows, and making them buzzwords and distasteful in our society? Because obedience requires us to remove our wants, wishes and desires, and leads us to sacrifice them for God and for others. And, even though we know that our disobedience usually causes us greater stress, greater mess, and more hassle, we’re so in tune with what we want NOW that we think we can handle the consequences as they come. But the weight we carry is far worse than had we simply obeyed to begin with. The highest form of love is obedience. Jesus said “if you love me, you will keep my commands.” God constantly called his nation, not to worship when they sinned, but to obedience, and to live according to His voice:
“With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Do what the Lord requires. Obey His voice, and while it is, in the short term, difficult, He carries the weight. Our disobedience is far more of a weight, and one we cannot bear.
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.
“These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.