Most of us don’t automatically connect the word obedience to a feeling of joy. Joy seems liberating. Obedience, at first, sounds restrictive. Joy feels lighthearted, but obedience sounds burdensome and heavy. In our sin, we humans tend to think the greatest joy is when we are free from God’s interference. Yet, we were designed for God and, therefore, to live outside of His truth would be a place of misery, not joy.
Tim Keller used this illustration. Imagine a fish who decides he’s tired of being restricted to the water. He wants to be free, to experience the joy of life on land. So he manages to flop around and “free” himself onto dry ground, which turns out to be a death sentence. Why? He was only designed for water, not for land.
In a similar way, just as the fish was built for water, we were built for God—and we will not find true life and freedom anywhere except in obedience to God through Jesus Christ.
“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith”. 1 John 5:3-4
So although the word obey feels a bit out of place in our “don’t-tell-me-what-to-do” culture, Christians should have a different reaction to the word obey. For trusting believers, obedience means enjoying the blessing of a living, growing connection with God, not merely a dreaded bondage to some rules. Through Jesus Christ, God, who is the ultimate authority as our Judge, has now also become our Heavenly Father and Savior. Obedience to God’s truth connects us to the growing joy of loving God and a perspective for living a purposeful daily life.
The purpose of the church is to point a world struggling to find a lasting hope to the joy of forgiveness, and the delight of obedience and trust in Jesus as Lord.
From a Shepherd’s Heart,
Pastor Perry Kallis