So prepare your minds for service and have self-control. All your hope should be for the gift of grace that will be yours when Jesus Christ is shown to you. Now that you are obedient children of God do not live as you did in the past. You did not understand, so you did the evil things you wanted. [1 Peter 1:13-14a (NCV)]
OBEDIENCE: To hear God’s Word and act accordingly. [Holman Bible Dictionary]
I have friends who enjoyed a visit from their young grandson this summer. Accustomed to the more permissive indulgent parenting of today, the lad wasn’t overly familiar with obedience and had a bit of adjusting during his stay. One of the first things he learned was that, “Grandpa doesn’t count.” The boy didn’t get a count of ten (or more) to decide whether to obey or not. Perhaps he could have learned about obedience from one of summer’s wildflowers: the Physostegia virginiana. Better known as the obedient plant, each individual flower, when pushed in any one direction, will remain in that position on the stem. It doesn’t wait for a count before responding to someone’s touch—it is an obedient flower, and a beautiful one at that.
The words “obedience” “obedient” and “obey,” occur at least 460 times in the NLT Bible. While not a popular concept, obedience clearly is important to God! Moreover, I don’t recall Bible stories in which God offers various options or extra time to think about obeying—He wants prompt and full obedience from his children.
Obedience, in fact, is a mandatory part of our Christian lives. Furthermore, we don’t get to choose what parts to obey and what parts to ignore nor do we get to delay our obedience until a more convenient time arises. As Christians, we are expected to hear, trust, and promptly commit and submit ourselves to God in compliance to his word. Our obedience to God proves our love and demonstrates our faith. The tricky part for most of us is that “submission” thing. The word “submission” makes us think of words like meekness, renunciation, surrender, acquiescence, and yielding—none of which we like to use when thinking about our lives. We’d prefer thinking of ourselves as self-sufficient, self-reliant, autonomous, independent, and self-governed. Perhaps we need a lesson from the obedient plant. Perhaps we need do whatever it is God asks of us immediately, willingly and beautifully. Remember, Grandpa doesn’t count and neither does God!
Instant obedience is the only kind of obedience there is; delayed obedience is disobedience. [Thomas á Kempis]
The bottom line is the Christian faith is obedience and most people don’t even like the word. [Charles Stanley]