That word, “Obey.” When you hear it, does it ring beauty like harp strings? Or slam down hard like a bully’s club? Does it seem to free your soul, or oppress it?
1 John 5:3 says,
“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.”
If that’s true, why can the very word “obey” seem to fall so heavy, blare in deep tones inside head and heart, sounding so akin to “odi-ous!”
Is it maybe because we have a bent to oppress ourselves?
A bent bent?
Consider: Have you just made a bunch of commands for yourself to obey in the coming year?
Lose twenty pounds!
Read through that Bible, before next January!
Memorize a new verse every week!
Don’t step on a crack!
Run that vacuum cleaner. every. Friday!
List three whatever’s. every. single. day!
Don’t forget to journal something. daily!
Publish a blog post. every. weekday!
They’re little, those nagging orders—well, some of them. In more ways than one. But any one of them alone can. get. oppressive…. When you’re sick, or lying injured, or struck with grief. When your sleep deficit has grown like the nation’s money one, so neither mind nor body are working right, and all the pile of others’ demands is lying right in your path, making O-bedience to your self-commands impossible…!
Be careful with resolutions. Be gracious, as God is gracious—with yourself.
And maybe, maybe… we ought to leave off ordering ourselves about with orders not belonging to God, or His children.
Was it just by chance that I happened on Colossians 2:20-22 this morning, before facing this “odious” word Obey as my writing topic, as a step in the path closer to God? I don’t think so.
When I decided that after C-alling on God, then L-ooking to Him for strength and instruction, O-beying only follows as good sense, I was thinking…
only of God’s commands and instructions
only of those things that delight His Spirit and make me more like Him.
Some of His commands do seem hard to obey. In fact, some are, well, truly
in our humanness, in our feeble strength.
But, as Colossians 3:1-3 says, if we were raised with Christ to newness of life, we have died! Our strength and abilities aren’t limited to that corpse of self groveling in defeat at our feet. We have Christ within. And Christ within will easily put on Christ without and do the will of Christ in the Spirit of Christ.
But oh, how we hinder Him with self-designed rules and expectations! How they can become a maze of demands just past the door of each day’s waking, beneath which we can’t even see God’s perfect law of love and liberty!
So, I wish you (and I wish me!) a happy obedient new year, this bright and shining 2013, happy in Him, and obedient to His commands… that are not burdensome.
[More on this in a future post]