Thursday, November 14, 2013

Obedience is Joy

Most days teaching my kids to obey is like herding a group of cats. I want to pull my hair out and get them to understand that I’m not trying to be cruel there’s a reason why I need them to obey. “Don’t you know that when I yell STOP it’s because there’s a car coming and I’m concerned for your safety,” sound familiar?

When I get overly frustrated I can’t help but wonder about how God feels with my lack of obedience. Obedience is opportunity. Opportunity to show me some lessons, to see His goodness, to feel joy. Some people don’t see it that way. They think obedience means I will have to do something I don’t want to do. In previous situations He’s put up a sign warning me of my consequences if I didn’t stop doing what I was doing. There were times I obeyed and there were times I’ve failed. Obedience comes out of a true relationship with God. Our willingness to obey is a change of response out of love that we should be eager to undertake. 

John Piper in his book, The Dangerous Duty of Delight says, “Joy is not just the spin-off of obedience to God, but part of obedience. It seems as though people are willing to let joy be a by-product of our relationship to God, but not an essential part of it. Because joy is an act of obedience, we are commanded to rejoice in God. If obedience is doing what God commands, then joy is not merely the spin-off of obedience, it is obedience.”

I’ve been doing a bible study by Robert McGee and he says this, "Obedience is co-active. To obey, we have to act. It is a requirement that we do something. Working co-actively with God is not a common approach for most Christians. Most Christians are passive in their faith. Obedience is taking responsibility for our part of the process. God values us so much that he chooses to allow us to work with him. In the co-active process, God demonstrates the great value he has put on us and on our free will."

Throughout history, God has worked through individuals’ willingness to obey. The thing is this, God sees the big picture and we don’t. He has a reason for everything. Our minds can’t handle all of what God sees so we have to trust Him and obey. Just like our relationship with our kids. We want them to trust us; trust our decisions. A good parent trains a child and teaches him/her to do things for themselves and allows them to experience the consequences of their actions. Yes, they will make mistakes and when they do we can be there to help solve the problem and learn from it. We give them healthy boundaries. But they don’t have to be alone. It’s a co-active relationship. The more we obey the more victories we have under our belt. 

Additional Resources:
The Dangerous Duty of Delight by John Piper

Search for Peace by Robert S. McGee

Power Verses:
Psalm 40:8
I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart.

Isaiah 26:8
Lord, we show our trust in you by obeying your laws; our heart’s desire is to glorify your name. 

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