Obedience to God
Many of us have been told that the goal of our faith is that we would be made more obedient to God. Have you ever wondered what that means, exactly?
Every sermon I can recall hearing which addressed the topic of obeying God has equated it with obedience to a moral code of conduct. As much as new covenant teachers try to emphasize God’s grace, it seems we can’t get away from the tendency to observe our own moral conduct with concern.
As popular as the idea is that obedience to God is equivalent to obeying a moral code—I don’t think it can best be described this way. I believe it speaks to a deeper issue.
First, I’d like to propose that obedience to God is simply a matter of us coming into agreement with Him. But agreement over what?
God’s desire with Adam and Eve wasn’t their adherence to a moral code—it was to have a loving relationship with them. That plan hasn’t changed. He wants to have the same with us.
The relationship He had with Adam wasn’t lost because of disobedience. Consider for a moment what would have happened if Adam had eaten from the forbidden tree, but continued to embrace God as his loving Father. He would still have been guilty of disobeying a moral code, but it would not have destroyed his relationship with God. Their relationship was damaged not when Adam disobeyed, but when he forgot that he was God’s beloved son and hid from Him. The enemy’s chief tactic against us has always been to call into question God’s love for us and suggest that we are not loved, and not His sons.
The real trick the enemy pulled off that day was not convincing Adam to disobey God’s orders. It was convincing him that God did not love him anymore. Not surprisingly, the serpent tried to question the identity of the second Adam, but failed miserably, because Jesus knew exactly who He was and how much the Father loved Him.
How many of us have avoided drawing closer to God out of fear that He may not love us?
Sin is a real problem, but it results from our failure to understand who we are. It’s an identity problem. All our effort to avoid sin will not free us from it. But when we fully grasp the reality of our identity as beloved children of God—and when we begin to live from that reality—sin no longer has power over us.
Obedience to God is perhaps best understood as coming into full agreement with everything He says we are. It’s embracing our true identity and accepting the fact that we are unconditionally loved and completely accepted by our heavenly Father.
This reality should make obeying God a joy and not a chore.