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New Testiment Obedience

The doorbell rings and you leave what you are doing and answer it.

Your child asks for lunch and you make a sandwich for the both of you and enjoy a short break in a busy day.

The boss sends you a note to attend a meeting and you get there on time and prepared.

A neighbor calls you and asks if you can pick up something from the store for them. You say yes.

You say to your dog come and he comes wagging his tail.

Tax time comes and you fill out the forms as best you can and you pay the tax due.

Jesus says come follow me and you do.

We cannot live our lives without being obedient. The neat thing is that most of our obedient acts are unconscious. We are hardly aware of them. We do not do them to earn anything, or to prove our worthiness, or as a source of pride, or some act of self improvement. We just do them because that is what life demands.

When we live our lives, we are not aware of the rules that we obey. We do not carry a list of requirements with us that we check after every act to see if we have properly complied. When we play sports, we just play, the rules have become a part of us, and we comply because the game is more fun that way. As we play the game, we are unconscious of our obedience.

Our obedience is imperfect. Life is hard. We tire, or we rebel and say enough is enough. The doorbell rings and we sit there expecting someone else to answer it for us. We know that our obedience never matches that of Christ. It never will and it never can.

There are far lesser things in life than dying on the Cross that I am unwilling to do. I know I should do certain things, but the willingness to be willing is just not there. Our obedience will never meet the standard Christ has set. In fact, the only thing that makes our feeble obedience acceptable to God is His Son living in and through us. Our trust in Him, our obedience of faith, is the only thing that makes us acceptable before God. We do not place any trust in our obedience, we place all our trust in Christ.

 Rom 1:5  through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations,

Rom 16:26  but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith—

Obedience is part of our new life in Christ. It comes with the territory. It is in our new nature to obey. One of the words for obedience in the New Testament is hupakouo. The word means to listen under. An old word that has the same meaning is to hearken. It is a response to something heard. The doorbell rings and you answer it. Obedience is a simple concept. There is nothing extraordinary or difficult about it.

We have within us God’s Spirit. He speaks to our spirit continually and we obey. This process goes on deep within us and we are hardly aware. We obey because God is at work in us, a function of our new life in Christ.

“ Some people are full of talk against legal doctrines, legal preaching and the legal spirit. Yet they may understand very little of what they are talking against. A legal spirit is far more subtle than they imagine…as long as a man is not emptied of himself and of his own righteousness and goodness, he will have a legal spirit. A spirit of pride in one’s own righteousness, morality, holiness, experience or any other goodness is a legal spirit…. It is even possible to have a self-righteous spirit about one’s own humility.” Jonathan Edwards

When we become conscious of our own obedience, we step into a legal quagmire. When we try to improve our obedience, or we think our obedience weak, we have stepped into the arena of standards, rules, and measurements that mean nothing to God. Our determination to be obedient reeks of human effort and the sweat of our brow. Our pride swells or falls based on some human measure of our obedience. This has nothing to do with the Christian life.

“Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:2-3,NKJV).

When you become conscious of your obedience, ask yourself what you are being obedient to? To what are you listening and responding? What will your emotional response be if you fail to obey, or if you succeed? You might find that you are listening to a human voice or worse Satin’s voice and not the voice of God’s Spirit in you. You may be on a road to experiencing pride, or shame. God’s love and mercy and grace has nothing to do with that false voice.

Rest in Christ. Be still and know that He is God and that He is at work to will and to do deep within your very being. God wants us to live life fully and with much joy. Obedience will be there when you need it.

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