Why Is Obedience So Hard?
My secret fun day at the mall ended as soon as I got home and heard, “Why did you disobey me?” My eyes could only look at our old tile floor as my mom confronted me for ditching school that day. Shame, guilt, fear....the fruit of my disobedience.
When my mom tells me she knows what is best for me, my first thought has always been, “Yeah, right!” My teenage mind highly doubted my mom knew what types of friends I needed, or what types of things I should do or not do. Frankly, I truly doubted my mom even wanted the best for me. At times, it just seemed my mom wanted to make my life miserable, so I doubted her counsel as a mother.
I look back now to my early teenage days and I can honestly say my mom was right in all her instructions. She really knew and wanted what was best for me. But, I disobeyed her advice many time.... I was a young teen who thought she knew what was right. And every time I did, I felt the same way again: guilty, shameful, and fearful.
If you love me, obey my commandments. -John 14:15
We can get tense when we hear the word obedience, maybe because we tend to associate this word with pressure, punishment, following rules, and even words like "shame" and "belittling" come to mind.
So, it makes sense many of us struggle with obeying God. We struggle to obey God, because we DOUBT him. We convince ourselves that we know what is better for us.
God warned Adam that he should not eat fruit from the tree that was placed in the middle of the garden, because if he did he would die (Genesis 2:17). Death!
What if He asks me to give up something I love? What if He asks me to forgive someone who broke my heart?
So, why would both Adam and Eve disobey God if they knew the consequences?! Because they thought they wanted more - as if God had hidden something precious from them on purpose. They doubted His warning, and DOUBT became the root of all sin.
Since we are very much like Adam and Eve, we also struggle to obey God. We disobey because we are fearful of what He might ask us to do. What if He asks me to give up something I love? What if He asks me to forgive someone who broke my heart? Or to move to a foreign country with no personal agenda or financing? It all seems to difficult at times... too crazy for society's standards and our comfort zones.
A lot of people see religion as a list of do's and don'ts, as if you have a live a life of restraint in order to receive your award of blessings on this Earth and then heaven. Others see obedience as a way to earn God's love and blessings. But that's not what obedience is.
Obedience is an act of love, not a duty.
Technically, you don't HAVE to do anything. You can live as you please, because God doesn't force anyone to walk the narrow path to heaven. He can call you to a Holy life, but He won't make you do anything. It's your choice.
The thing is, when you truly love someone, you'd move mountains if they asked you.
But that the world may know that I love the Father, as and the Father gave me commandment, so I do. -John 14:31
But, to love someone, you need to know them - their habits, preferences, and dreams. You need to know the heart and soul of the person.
I cannot obey God unless I form a relationship with Him. Part of my disobedience to Him has been because I didn't know God as my Father. So, this produced a hardened heart towards obedience. How could I trust someone I didn’t know?
Lovelies, we need to cultivate our relationship with God. So much so that we can freely go to Him as our Abba Father. Obedience requires courage and bravery, and we can only do that if we submit ourselves to God. But this requires TRUST. Trust that God has something great in mind for us.
"For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. -Jeremiah 29:11
I encourage you to read His word, get to know Him. Fight for your faith, and obedience will became an act of gratitude and love. And remember, God is patient, He wants to guide you. You are not alone!
Where is God calling to step out in obedience?
Image by Ellie DuHadway