I had an AHA moment not too long ago … I realized Christians often get something wrong. At least, I know I occasionally get it wrong.
We get obedience wrong when our motives are wrong. (Wait, don’t leave now. I promise, it’s a good thing to obey anyway but we’ll talk about that in a minute.)
So I asked myself the following questions…
Why do you obey God or maybe the better question is why do you try to obey God?
- To earn His favor?
- To look good at church?
- To make friends?
- To influence others?
- To feel good about yourself?
- So “it will go well for you?”
- All of the above?
God promised it would go well for those who obey Him…
Be careful to obey all my commands, so that all will go well with you and your children after you because you will be doing what is good and pleasing to the Lord your God.Deuteronomy 12:28
But I’ve been wondering if wanting a blessed and comfy life is really the best motive for my obedience.
Is it God-pleasing for me to want to obey Him to earn His favor, to look good to my friend, to feel good about myself, or even because I want His blessings?
My honest answer is “I don’t think so!”
Because everything on my list is ME focused!
And that’s what we can so easily get wrong.
The Truth Christians Often Get Wrong
As I read in Deuteronomy recently, the following words practically jumped off the page:
“If you obey the commands of the Lord your God and walk in his ways, the Lord will establish you as his holy people as he swore he would do. Then all the nations of the world will see that you are a people claimed by the Lord, and they will stand in awe of you.”Deuteronomy 28:9–10
God does not want us to obey to show the world who we are … He wants us to obey to show the world who He is.
Not to show that we are good, but to show that He is good, loving, and kind.
Not to show that we are better than those who don’t obey, but to show that His ways are best … that treating others with respect, compassion, and love represents Jesus.
Not to show that what the Bible says is right, but to show that God’s commands are perfect … commands that show how His perfect love has the power to change hearts and lives.
So, my goal is to imprint the following words on my heart.
“I don’t obey God to show who we are . . . we obey to show who God is because we love Him.”
Obedience glorifies God!
Obeying God’s commands is not about you. It’s not about me. It’s not about theology or doctrine. It’s not about being right. It’s not even about being holy.
Obedience is about God. It’s about living to bring glory to the One who loves us so much He died to show us.
Friend, I think the point is that you and I need to take ourselves out of the obedience equation.
If we could only begin to obey God’s will to show how much we love Him.
Jesus gave us an example when He prayed…
And this is the way to have eternal life—to know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one You sent to earthJohn 17:3
David said to his son, Solomon…
My son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve Him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the Lord sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If You seek Him, you will find Him.1 Chronicles 28:9
And Jesus also said…
I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.Luke 11:9–10
What awesome promises!
I think you and I obey “to know Him and to make Him known.”
Imagine if we obeyed to love Him and to show His love!
This simple Holy Spirit empowered attitude adjustment has the power to change everything.
- No more judgmental pride.
- No more rejection.
- No more unforgiveness.
- No more division.
- No more ___________.
Just loving the Lord and loving others for His glory.
And the Good News … is Jesus promises to help us!
Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.Matthew 11:28–29
You and I can trust Him! We can follow where He leads us because He is there to help us every step of the way.
So, what’s the bottom line?
Obedience is not about you or me. It’s not about following the rules. About seeing to it others obey the rules. About judgment, fitting in, or doing it right.
Obedience is about KNOWing God’s will, ASKing for His help to obey, and making known His LOVE … that the world might want to know more about the One who gives us the power to love when it seems impossible.
Knowing Him and Making Him Known!
You and I show God we love Him by loving others.
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”John 13:34–35
This is OBEDIENCE – Showing God’s love and reflecting His glory!
Friend, any other reason for obedience is wrong.
I will add, obeying is always the right thing to do even when we do it with the wrong attitude. Honestly, I have to admit that has happened in my life more often than I care to say.
I am working on an attitude adjustment and I believe that’s what the Lord wants us all to do. To admit we can’t obey Him with the right motives on our own but with His help, you and I can…
… do everything through Christ, who gives [us] strength.Philippians 4:13
So, I’m praying…
Father, I love you! I want to KNOW YOU and OBEY YOU. Your Word says You know my heart … my motives. I want to obey You with motives that please You … that glorify You, that will make You known to others. Father, I want the world to know and love You the way I do.
Your Word also tells me that I don’t have to do my life on my own … that may be especially true when it comes to obedience. I love this promise…
For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.Philippians 2:13
Thank you for faithfully giving me everything I need to live for Your glory each day.
I come to You, Jesus, asking Your Spirit to help me obey the Law of Love that everyone I meet might want to KNOW You because they have seen You in me. By Your grace and for Your glory. Amen.
I’m praying your day is filled with blessings and countless reasons to praise the One who loves you most and best!
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