My “One Word” for both last year and (now carried over into) this year, is CLOSER. It’s aim: increased intimacy with God.
Sometime last year the idea hit: Make C-L-O-S-E-R an acronym, each letter standing for a key to greater closeness.
C came to stand for “Call”— on Him. Intimacy is not a do-it-yourself project. I need Him for the relationship, and His help (especially with my inadequacies) in building it.
L became “Look” — to (and at) Him. Love looks at the object of its affection, not all around at everyone and everything else. And if I expect my help to come from Him, that’s where I should obviously look to see its approach.
Then came… O.
To it I assigned an Odious word. Obey. Odious to the rebellious, but also to victims of abuse, especially spiritual, especially those taught that disobeying their twisted leaders, in anything—is disobeying God. I hope my next “Closer” series post rectifies this distortion, showing obedience to God as a spirit of oneness with Him, rather than slavish adherence to cold, hard man-ufactured rules.
Maybe that post should precede this one. I had trouble deciding. But the plain facts in this one are important, and basic.
So… Why is Obedience crucial to getting CLOSER to God?
1 – In one sense it only makes sense: “Just a closer walk with Thee” needs must be a walk with Him, going His way. I can’t walk very closely with anyone by heading out in a different direction! I can’t walk in close intimacy with my sovereign Lord and walk in dis-obedience to His Spirit.
Walking with God, in step with His Spirit — they’re biblically synonymous with obedience! Where scripture says Enoch walked with God it implies obedience, in the deepest sense. Ditto Noah. With each instruction God gave, Noah did precisely as God told him. Ditto Abraham, called “the friend of God.”
2- Disobedience to Christ, no matter how small, wrongs the Lover of my soul. It grieves His heart. He means good for me in His instructions, and when I reject them, I reject Him.
3- Disobedience (sin) separates me from Him. It’s not that God turns away from me the second I go disobedient, it’s that I’ll avoid facing Him.
4- Even if that weren’t true, how can I expect His direction and companionable assistance in one area while I’m unwilling to follow it in another?
5- Obeying is how I get to experience God’s wondrous workings, right in my li’l ole person. I’ve seen the most amazing things happen by obeying the difficult, especially the “impossible.” Compelled to call on God to enable, then putting one foot in front of the other is when I have found myself operating under a whole new power far beyond my own — His!
6- I learn heart-and-soul lessons through obedience that I can’t “get” any other way. Some commandments make little sense until I do them. Only after the fact does the why of them come clear, and the wonder of God’s ways.
7- If the obedience requires great strides of faith, bringing me into a greater dependence on Him, it can give me more confidence in trusting Him and walking with Him in the next situation. The closeness grows.
8- Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Not keeping His commandments is therefore not-loving Him. And growing intimate with Him apart from love… well, that just can’t be!