In our Alphabet of Faith series we’re up to the letter “O” as we make our way through the letters of the English language. The choice of which word to choose was not difficult for me.
“O” stands for Obedience!
We can’t succeed at life without exhibiting obedience toward one authority or another. We have to obey traffic laws unless we want to get into an accident or get a ticket. We have to obey the rules and guidelines at work if we want to keep our job. We have to obey any contract we sign or suffer the consequences. The law of gravity must be respected and obeyed or we get hurt or die.
It should not be surprising, then, that a healthy relationship with God is going to involve obedience on our part. He’s God, we’re not. He’s all knowing, we’re not. He’s always right and moral, we’re not. Hence, we’re to yield to His will and ways.
The religiously-minded person is going to live from a different perspective than does the secular-minded person (secular meaning making no room for God). The secular person is going to operate from the perspective of what he or she thinks is right. The religiously-minded person is gong to function from the perspective of what he or she thinks God wants. The psalmist wrote, “I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.” (Psalm 119:60)
If the truth be told, I don’t always want to obey the Lord, and sometimes don’t. If I try to pat myself on the back and tell myself that I obey Him at least 90% of the time that isn’t really anything to brag about. What it probably means is that 90% of the time what I want matches up with what God wants and so my self-will is disguised as obedience.
But there always come those moments when we have clarity and know it’s a battle between what we want and what we know God wants. This is a good time to pray Jesus’ prayer to the Heavenly Father when He struggled with temptation in the Garden of Gethsemane. “Yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42) Thankfully, God helps us to be obedient, so we’re not totally on our own here. Plus there can be the incentive of love, that if we love God we’re going to want to please Him by our obedience. “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15)
We encounter God in many ways: through reading His Word, by interacting with other believers, in prayerful meditation, and in nature. But another way we experience His reality in our lives is by our obedience. Living distinctively different because of Him is what makes Him real to us!