One thing that is clear from reading the Bible is that obedience to God is so important.
Another thing that is also clear is that human beings struggle with obedience!
We live in a culture that celebrates rebels and non-conformists. Our society is very individualistic and self-seeking. Films, music and magazines often endorse a very ungodly lifestyle.
We have to have our guard up because their influence on us can be extremely subtle. It is so easy to start adopting their way of thinking without realising it. When we do, we start to drift away from obeying God.
As a young person, I absorbed a lot of worldly values, and at university I just wanted to make my own decisions about how I lived my life. I believed in God and the Bible, but didn’t have a close relationship with Him. I was envious of other people who were free to live however they wanted to and didn’t have all the do’s and don’ts of the Bible restricting them. I was very lukewarm and definitely had a distorted view of obedience.
Looking back, I can see that if you don’t value your relationship with God, you won’t value obedience.
It’s an upward spiral: when you’re obedient this helps to build your relationship with God. The more you build your relationship with God, the more you want to be obedient.
The value of obedience is something you can learn the easy way or the hard way.
Some of the biggest and best blessings in my life have come from the times that I’ve obeyed God when I didn’t understand how my situation would work out. Somehow, God brought things together.
Equally, some of my biggest causes of heartache have been caused by times I didn’t obey. This could have been disobedience to the Word or to what I felt the Holy Spirit was telling me.
The place of obedience is the place of safety. When we sin, we come out of that place of protection that God has provided for us as a loving father. Although God is merciful when we ask for forgiveness, God disciplines us for disobedience and we have to deal with painful consequences as a result of our rebellion.
Ultimately, God lets us choose.
He has said He’ll lead us down the best pathways for our life (Psalm 32:8), but can only do that if we are willing to be led. In Deuteronomy 28, God lays out the blessings for careful obedience and the curses for disobedience. He then gave the Israelites a choice.
Unfortunately, they repeatedly chose to disobey and this had disastrous consequences.
I was speaking to one of the youth at an Urban Saints camp who was very clear in her commitment to God and remembered thinking to myself, “ Wow! She has this figured out at 18 years old! What a life she has ahead of her if she can hold onto it.”
What do I mean by that?
I mean if this young person can keep submitting to God, she has the assurance that God will direct her steps and she doesn’t have to carry the burden of trying to figure her life out. (Proverbs 3: 5-6)
God has planned in advance good works for her to do.(Ephesians 2:10)
She can be confident that God won’t withhold any good thing from her.(Psalm 84:11)
Despite what may happen to her and any mistakes she makes, God will work all things out for her good. (Romans 8:28)
So, yes, what an amazing life this young person can have in God if she keeps putting him first.
And what a life you can have in God too if you choose to obey Him.