FREEDOM IN OBEDIENCE
When you read God’s Word, you find that obedience is critical to a life that is pleasing to God. Throughout the Old Covenant and the New Covenant, there is a recurring theme: a call to obey God and live according to His commandments. Because obedience is emphasized so much, we come to understand that this is an area of intense struggle for mankind. We know, in fact, that the first sin mankind committed was disobedience, at least in part.
With each stage of life, as we become more independent, we begin to desire more and more autonomy (self-sufficiency). In fact, personal autonomy has become the reigning virtue of our day. If somethings feels true to you, then it must be true for you. We define freedom as the right to determine our own concept of existence. In that sense, freedom entails obeying only oneself.
This is why the word “obey” has been taken systemically out of the American culture. But as much as we like to believe that we live in a completely free society, we are not completely free and will never be, at least in the way that freedom is commonly defined. There is always someone or something to which we must answer.
God’s Word asserts that real freedom comes through our obedience to Him. This assertion is counterintuitive for those raised in a culture that values personal autonomy. Man’s search for freedom outside of God will lead him into disobedience and disobedience is sin. The Bible tells us that through one man, Adam, sin entered the world. Once sin entered the world, it brought with it enslavement (bondage). Only by being united to Jesus Christ can we find true freedom from that bondage. Jesus is the Truth and because He is His Word, His Word is Truth. Jesus said that those who abide in Him and His Word will come to know the truth and that truth is what sets you free. From what? The bondage of sin. So, while it is true that Adam’s sin of disobedience brought condemnation for everyone, it is also true that Jesus Christ’s act of righteousness, dying on a cross as a sacrifice for us all in obedience to God, brings a right relationship with God for those united with Jesus Christ.
At the heart of obedience to God should be our love for Him. We shouldn’t obey God simply because of what we avoid by being obedient. He wants us to obey Him because we love Him….the same way you want your kids to obey you out of love. Sometimes we need to stop and redefine our image of God. We are made in God’s image and we have a desire for relationship, love, intimacy, and truthfulness…and so it is with Him.
True obedience isn’t just about following a set of rules. Rather, it is a choice to follow where He leads because His way is perfect. His way leads to freedom; His way leads to abundant life, which doesn’t mean life is without struggle. It simply means we can overcome our struggles with His help. It is the willingness to “submit freely.” It is a choice that grows organically out of our personal relationship with God. In that context, obedience becomes less about following specific rules and more about following after Him.
There is freedom in obedience – freedom to achieve your greatest potential and to become your best self. But you have to submit your own will to His will. Then and then only, can you truly be free.Type your paragraph here.