The command to “obey” or the term “obedience” can conjure up some pretty intense feelings for many people. Why? Because many have been forced to obey someone or something that was oppressive, mean, or downright cruel. This may not be true for all of us, but our human nature seems to buck up against someone else telling us what to do. In fact, that tendency goes back to the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve, who had been given the best of everything, chose to disobey the ONE command God gave them—Do not eat from the tree of good and evil. As a result, the freedom to remain in the garden was lost.
As educators, we ask children to obey every single day. We aren’t asking them to obey us or the rules so that we can oppress them. We ask them to obey because we only have their best interests in mind. We want to protect them. Children don’t always make decisions that are in their best interests. As teachers, we want to create safe environments where children can flourish and be the best they can be.
When they don’t obey, there are consequences, corrections, and guidance. Why? So they can learn and grow into responsible citizens. If we are truly concerned that our students benefit from obedience, we don’t want them to comply only when we are watching. Ideally, we want students to choose to obey because they know it will yield what is best for them.
God doesn’t want compliant behavior from us either. If He did, He could have taken care of that in the garden. Instead, God gave us choice because He loves us. He wants us to obey Him because we want to- because we love Him.
If you love me, you will keep my commandments. John 14:14
Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them and we will come to them and make our home with them. John 14:23
So Jesus said to the Jews who believed in him, “If you continue to obey my teaching, you are truly my followers. Then you will know the truth. And the truth will make you free.” John 8:31-32
True obedience comes from a place of love. When we choose to obey from a place of love and trust, we not only enter into fellowship with God the Father, but we also experience freedom.
Let me digress for a moment because I believe this is a teachable moment. What specifically are we supposed to obey? If you refer back to the very words of Jesus in John 14, you will see “commandments” and “my teaching.” Where do we find those? You guessed it—THE BIBLE! Now here is the really tough question:
How often do we read our Bible, meditate on His Word, and seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance?
According to a recent LifeWay survey in 2017, less than one-quarter of those who have ever read the Bible have a systematic plan for reading the Bible daily. How in the world can we live obedient Christian lives if we don’t even look at the very manual God provided us? Consider these verses (emphasis mine).
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:21
The Lord our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us, so that we may obey all the terms of these instructions. Deuteronomy 29:29
The commandments of the LORD are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are clear, giving insight for living. Psalm 19:8
As Christians, we will struggle to make the right choices even if we don’t know what the right choices are. When I look back over my life, I can’t believe how many decisions I tried to make without the guidance of Scripture. I’m so grateful for God’s grace. Psalm 19:8 sums it up so well. God has not made it a secret. When we choose to obey, our hearts will truly be filled with joy.
Thank you for your patience as I digressed, but I couldn’t go on without emphasizing the importance of meeting with God daily in His Word. I honestly believe obedience to God’s Word gives us freedom. Living a life of disobedience is so burdensome. In a sense we, create our own imprisonment. We find ourselves second-guessing decisions, wondering why things are so difficult, striving to make things better, and trying to live a good life. Yet, our efforts are often futile. Our faith walk feels empty.
When we make the choice to obey not only God’s commands but His calling on our lives, it is like having a weight lifted off our shoulders. We simply need to push open the prison door, step out, obey, and leave the rest up to Him. Do you know how freeing that is? God wants to bless you. God has a special plan just for you. He will be faithful.
It has taken me far too long to figure this out. Just recently, I have taken some big steps toward obedience. I am here to tell you that God did not disappoint! The first event gathering of Victorious Educator Ministries was a tremendous success! As a result, I am ready to choose obedience again. What is God calling you to do?
Want freedom? Choose obedience.