Obedience is not a word that is looked upon fondly in our culture these days. It is delicately omitted from wedding vows, and other conspicuous places because of it's supposedly burdensome nature.
But as I talked with my tween son the other night, who was so heavily burdened with the lack of his own disobedience, the Holy Spirit gave me a fresh perspective.
Frustrated with himself, Alex shared with me rather feverishly how he had declared that he was restricting himself from all he things he enjoyed most, things, that by the way were not wrong or evil things...but all the same he was no longer going to allow himself access to those things because every time he got so wrapped up in them, he tended to disobey.
So, he figured, if he removed those things, took all the fun and joy away, then he would be able to obey.
This, my friends, is the picture of living in the law.
We realize that we need to obey, but are so distracted when we try in our own strength, that we come to the conclusion that we must remove everything we hold dear or find joy in, so that obedience is all that's left to do.
What a distorted perspective we have!
Obedience is not the barrier that is dropped to separate us from all the things we enjoy!
No! God intended it to be the doorway to all the joy and treasures that He has awaiting you!
Obedience is the access point to the fullness of God!
Obedience is our joy!
Obedience is our privilege!
Before you guffaw at this claim, hear me out.
When the Holy Spirit points out an area in which He is asking you to obey, it isn't to keep you from something, it is to open the doorway to a new and fresh spiritual experience, a new and fresh fullness of Himself so that your very burden of trying to BE good enough can be lightened as you realize that in CHRIST alone...you already are!
This, my friends, is the picture of GRACE!
1 John 5:3-5 says, "This is love for God: to obey His commands. And His commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God."
The victory of overcoming the sinful patterns of my life, whether they are in thought, attitude, or action, is the gift of the Holy Spirit to me...if I am willing to unwrap it...in OBEDIENCE.
What use or good is a gift left wrapped, bow and paper in tact, on the shelf?
It only gathers dust.
The person to whom the gift was given has knowledge of the gift, but they can only experience a shadow of the joy and purpose for which the gift was intended to impart.
It has to be opened by way of obedience.
Maybe you don't know HOW to open the gift...maybe it is a strange and unfamiliar package that you are unsure of how to navigate.
Well here is your hope: YOU KNOW the GIVER! His HOLY SPIRIT lives in you. You are able because He is able.
Obedience is NOT fulfilling the law or commands through your own efforts, ideas, structures, maintenances or rituals.
For what good is obedience if it is driven by the root of bitterness?
Obedience is NOT trying to be holy or achieve holiness.
For what good is obedience if it is inspired by the root of pride?
Obedience IS fully embracing Christ in the midst of all the imperfection and sinfulness of my flesh that is continuously clamoring to lure me elsewhere.
Holiness is Christ. So as I embrace Christ, I will bear the fruit of holiness...I will find myself walking in obedience even when I am unsure of how to place one foot in front of the other.
How? Because it is Christ at work in me.
It is His love that compels me. It is His grace that inspires and humbles me.
"With an abundance of natural strength we are useless to God. With no strength at all, we can hold on to Him. And with His strength flowing through us, 'we are more than conquerors'(Rom 8:37)...I cannot please God, but there is no 'I cannot' in Christ. 'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me'(Phil 4:13)" -Nee
Understand today that obedience is not something God simply wants FROM you...it is what He wants FOR you.
God desires for you to RECEIVE all the riches of His grace, all the blessings of His love, all the fullness of His power, through the doorway of Holy Spirit empowered obedience.
"Now what I am commanding you to do today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach." Deuteronomy 30:11
Obedience is not a barrier. It's the doorway to the fullness of the gifts of our limitless God, who empowers u thru His grace.