1 Kings 2:3 (CEV): “Do what the Lord your God commands and follow his teachings.”
John 14:15a (TLB): “If you love me, obey me.”
Luke 2:52 (CSB): “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with people.”
LEARNING TO BE OBEDIENT
WHEN WE WERE children, our mother would tell us to “go to the bathroom” before we went anywhere in the car.
Of course, that would mean leaving our toys and other play things, so naturally we would respond, “I don’t have to go.”
After she told us another time or two, with each time our refusing to budge, our father would bellow, “Obey your mother!”
Suddenly, we had to use the bathroom and would race one another to get there first.
In many ways, that is how many Christians treat the Lord’s commands.
We know that He loves us and that He’ll forgive us, so we’re lax when it comes to obeying Him.
What too many Christians are prone to forget is that He also judges us and is not pleased when we disobey Him.
LEARNING GOD’S COMMANDS
WHAT ARE SOME of the commandments the Lord requires us to obey?
The first and primary commandment, as Jesus described it, is to love the Lord your God with your entire body, mind, and soul. The second commandment, He said, is to love our neighbor as ourself. (Matt. 22:37-40)
He also commanded us to obey the Ten Commandments or Law of Moses. The first four commandments are to love God first, to worship only God, do not take His name in vain, and to honor the Sabbath Day, a requirement for ancient Israel that was replaced after Jesus’ resurrection with honoring the Lord’s Day.
The next six commandments regulated our interaction with our neighbors and were based entirely on mutual love and respect for others created in God’s image.
We readily recognize those “love” commandments as mandates from God, but there are others that we must acknowledge and obey:
- You must be born again
- Let people see your good works
- Abide in Him
- Forgive your enemies and pray for those who persecute you
- Tell others about Him and baptize them in His name
- Get rid of anything that causes you to sin
- Store up your treasures in Heaven
- Observe communion in remembrance of Him
- Be humble, not proud
- Do not lust after women (or men)
- Be merciful.
OBEYING GOD’S COMMANDS
NOW, THE BIG QUESTION:
WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH THAT LIST?
How many of them are you missing? Are you obeying each of them?
A few of them are one-time only, like being born again, but most of the list is ongoing, a way of life. If we are dedicated and consistent, we will live God-honoring lives that will make for a powerful testimony to the Lord’s saving grace.
When we realize that we cannot fulfill the list under our own power, we can lay claim to one of the more compelling commandments in the list, to “abide” in Jesus.
When we do that, He promises to “abide” in us and assures that, without Him, we can do nothing. (John 15:1-5)
GOD’S COMMANDMENTS are requirements, not requests or suggestions. He wants us to obey Him because His commandments are good for us.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)
Those plans conform to God’s design for our lives. We not only are wise if we obey them, but we will be much happier and peaceful. (Proverbs 1:7; John 10:10)
OUR GRACIOUS AND LOVING Heavenly Father, we confess to You so often we have failed to obey Your design for our lives, substituting our own desires for Your commands. We have treated Your commands as worthy suggestions, but often ignore them for what they are: directives. Forgive us, Lord, and encourage us through the Holy Spirit to live our lives as a living testament to Your power and Your goodness. In Jesus’ redeeming name we pray. AMEN