Here is a common conversation in our house. “Do you know what would have happened if I had done what you just did when I was a kid? I don’t either, but I’m pretty sure I would be dead!” That’s an exaggeration…with enough truth in it that I didn’t even consider doing various things during my childhood (not finishing dinner, keeping my room in non-Marie Kondo condition, challenging the opinion of my father, etc.). Now, on the whole, I am blessed with amazing kids that do a good job obeying mom and dad. However, I’ve noticed in recent years that obedience in almost all contexts is rapidly going out of style. Complete independence seems to be the model of the day. Just think about the word “obedience.” Does that word excite you, or does it make you cringe? I’m guessing the latter because we are very apprehensive to obey anyone besides ourselves. Is obedience a bad thing?
As our culture has moved from obedience to independence any form of obedience has seemingly gotten a bad rap. I once visited a church member who had removed all safety devices from his house because he had tired of following safety regulations in his factory job. Now look: independence is not always a bad thing. In fact, blind obedience in our sinful world is seldom good. There is, however, a type of obedience we should all adopt in our lives: obedience to God. There are many passages on the importance of obeying God, but 1 John 5 gives us a clear and concise account.
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:1-5
I love this passage because, in just five verses, it tells us what obeying God is all about. We obey God and ALL His commandments not out of blind loyalty, but because of our love for God. And why do we love God? Because God sacrificed his Son, Christ Jesus, on the Cross so that we may overcome sin and death. Out of our love we obey the plan God has for us, a plan that is not burdensome and which overcomes the problems of the world. Talk about a countercultural way of thinking! Yet, why wouldn’t we want to obey God? This is the God who created us, saved us, and sustains us. This is the God who died for us. Can you imagine anyone better to obey than Him? I encourage all of us to reflect on how we are doing at obeying God. I pray that we may all begin obeying God out of the love we have for all He has done for us.