Friday, February 01, 2008

Obedience is Impossible!

The challenge about obedience is that it is impossible for me to do by myself. I remember a little three-year-old girl visiting and I asked her to go into the house because I couldn't watch her continually on the sidewalk. Her answer, convincing enough in her own mind, was, stamping her foot on the sidewalk, "But I don't WANT to!" Even though it sounded childish and unconvincing to me (and very reasonable to her), at the same time, it's the chant that I continually hear in my own mind when I am called to obedience. God doesn't call me to obedience in the things I already want to do; He calls me to obey where I don't want to. That's the thing that makes it obedience.
I remember one of our first churches, where one of my main impressions was that grace got trampled on quite a bit. People would continually say, "But we live in an era of grace." Hallelujah that we do! Still, in the New Testament, grace is not a reason to disobey and think that we are getting away with it. "Shall sin increase that grace may increase all the more? May it never be!" says Paul in his emphatic manner. May it never be! I should never trample on grace.
God calls me to obey in loving Him with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. The next thing is that I am to love my neighbor as I love myself. He says elsewhere that I am to honor all men, that I am to respect my husband, that I am to consider others as better than myself, that I am to obey authorities, that I am to forgive others 70 x 7 times. Then I quarrel, "What if they're not acting honorable?" "What if he's not acting respectable?" "What if they clearly aren't 'better' than myself--by what I can see?" "What if they've shown no remorse, no repentance, what if they haven't asked for forgiveness?" "What if the authorities are unreasonable?" God doesn't give me an out. He doesn't say, "...if they're worthy...if he's respectable...if they're better than you...if they're repentant...if they're reasonable." He just says to do it. He, after all, is the ultimate authority in my life, and He says to do it.
Obedience is hard--nay, it's impossible! I can't do it in my strength, because even if I do, then it's outward obedience and I'm chafing inside. I can only do it through Him. Nothing is impossible with God. So I must ask Him to help me, and then, only then, am I able to obey. Only then am I treating others as I want to be treated and fulfilling the second greatest commandment, to love my neighbor as I love myself.


theGracegirl said...

I love thee, I love thee, and that thou dost know. Okay, so that's usually to God, but it's true for you too. And actually if you finish the lyrics, it's pretty pertinent to your post. So...shweet. Dude, Mom, I miss you. But it's cool. Love you!

NeverAlone said...

You inspired me to go to Cyberhymnal and get it; I hope it stays in my head today:

“Because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
Words & Music: Anon­ymous, from Christ­ian Har­mo­ny, or Song­sters Com­pan­ion, by Jer­e­mi­ah In­galls (Ex­e­ter, New Hamp­shire: Hen­ry Ran­let, 1805) (MI­DI, score). The lyr­ics are some­times at­trib­ut­ed to John A. Gra­nade.

I love Thee, I love Thee, I love Thee, my Lord;
I love Thee, my Savior, I love Thee, my God;
I love Thee, I love Thee, and that Thou dost know;
But how much I love Thee my actions will show.

I’m happy, I’m happy, oh, wondrous account!
My joys are immortal, I stand on the mount;
I gaze on my treasure and long to be there,
With Jesus and angels and kindred so dear.

O Jesus, my Savior, with Thee I am blessed.
My life and salvation, my joy and my rest.
Thy Name be my theme, and Thy love be my song;
Thy grace shall inspire both my heart and my tongue.

Oh, who’s like my Savior? He’s Salem’s bright King;
He smiles and He loves me and helps me to sing:
I’ll praise him, I’ll praise Him with notes loud and clear,
While rivers of pleasure my spirit shall cheer.