Obedience

“The one who says, ‘I have come to know him,’ and does not keep his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:4).

Religious leaders will do verbal back flips in order to avoid saying that we need to obey God’s commands. Commentators will write four paragraphs to show that the Holy Spirit really didn’t mean what he plainly said in one simple sentence. People will declare, “Oh surely God wouldn’t condemn us if we didn’t obey that commandment!”

The fact is that the Lord demands that we obey his commands.

We feel as if a fulfilling relationship should not be loaded down by responsibilities and expectations. It would help, of course, if we remembered that we are not God’s peers, his “good buddies.” He is the creator, we are his creatures; he is our mighty father, we are his children; he is the king of kings, we are his subjects.

Every now and then a student will ask something like this: “Do you want us to just memorize all this material, or do we need to understand it?”

Many Christians try to live by grimly “memorizing” life without enjoying the fullness of life offered in Christ.

The answer is not, however, to abandon any mention of obedience. “You can either keep rules or have fulfillment,” some seem to imply. What we need to do is to grow to a point of maturity where we want to do things God’s way, where it is our desire, from the bottom of our hearts, to do it his way!

When a parent tells his infant child to say “please and thank you,” he is hoping that there will come a day when the child will not just be mouthing words because his parent insists he must, but because he actually knows how to express gratitude to others! At that point, the child has become gracious and mature.

Mature Christians submit to a father in heaven who knows best; they even ask for his guidance and direction in life. They want to obey because they know he knows best!

“May thy will, not mine be done;
May thy will and mine be one.”
(Mary Barber, “Prince of Peace, Control My Will”)

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Stan Mitchell

Stan has preached since 1976, in Zimbabwe, California, Texas and Tennessee. He serves as preacher for the Red Walnut Church of Christ in Bath Springs, TN. He is currently Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He is married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy Watts. He is the author of four books: The Wise Get Wiser, the Foolish More Foolish: The Book of Proverbs, Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song, and Equipping the Saints for Ministry. He has recently published another book, "Will Our Faith Have Children: Developing Leadership in the Church for the Next Generation.

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