How importance is obedience? Do you see obedience to what God says as vital, or optional? How much does obedience affect your walk with God and your ability to live out what God has for you in your life? What is the source of strength for you to obey?
Have you ever felt temptation to sin and had the thought, “I’ll never be perfect, so I may as well just give in?” I certainly have felt that way from time to time. Even the world knows that an unfaithful employee, or an employee who steals from the company, should not be kept around. Christians, of all people, should be ones who want to do what pleases our “boss,” or our “Father.” And yet, many Christians view sin as inevitable and often when a child of God is disobedient every day, we do not regard it as anything extraordinary.
The Scripture says that we are to be led by the Spirit and that we must walk by the Spirit. The power and strength to obey comes from a right relationship to the Holy Spirit. Obedience is only possible when I allow myself to be guided and ruled by Him. The Holy Spirit’s role is to remind us of what we have been taught, and to lead us in truth. (John 16:13-16) Which means, obedience is the most important factor in our whole relationship to God.
This was the attitude of Christ’s life. He lived to do not His own will but the will of the Father (John 5:30). His Father was “at home” in His heart, and lived with complete freedom to act, and behave how He desired, through Christ as His instrument. Jesus desires the same of our lives! He desires to become at home in our hearts (Eph 3:17). But, He will not have the freedom He needs to act and behave as He desires until we surrender completely to a life of obedience.
After reading that, if you are like me, your first thought may be something like, “That’s impossible! Complete surrender… a life of obedience… That will never happen on this fallen earth!” And while there is truth to that, just as certainly as the forgiveness of sin is assured to us in Him, so also is power against new or fresh attacks of sin assured to us when we understand that, by faith, we can confidently rely fully upon Christ and His abiding protection.
This faith sheds a totally new light on the life of obedience. Christ holds himself responsible to work this out in us every moment, if we only trust Him for it. Romans 1:5 and Romans 16:26 tells us that “obedience that comes from faith.” Faith brings me to the Lord Jesus not only for forgiveness of sin but also every moment to enjoy the power that enables me as a child of God to abide in Him and to be numbered among His obedient children. It is written of these children that as He who has called them is holy, so they also may be holy in all their behavior (1 Peter 1:15). Everything depends on whether or not I believe that Christ in me is able to live holy through me, not now and then but every moment. That He is the strength of my life. Such faith will lead to an obedience that will enable me to “walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power.” (Col 1:9-13)
The soul that feeds on such promises will experience instead of the disobedience of self-effort all that the obedience of faith means. All such promises have their measure, their certainty, and their strength in the living Christ.
Adapted from Andrew Murray, “The Living a Prayer Filled Life” Chapter 11