To obey is to do, notwithstanding our attitudes within this obeying, whether the command is worldly or spiritual, to obey is to follow the orders you have been given, and to accomplish the task you were told to do. There is one major difference in the commands of the world that we are to do and those that are found in the Word of God, when our Lord speaks to us in the Scriptures in the form of a command, we must believe that He loves us and is seeking only the best for us, (Jer. 29:11) and in response to His love in love we obey.
We are commanded to obey all the laws of man that are placed upon us by those in authority in this world, unless they contradict the Word of God. It is one thing to stop at a stop sign, it is quite another to be forced to assist with an abortion, or torture men for information when we are under the command of others. Here and in a myriad of other ways we find within ourselves who our true master is, is it the Lord Jesus Christ, or is it the employer who informs you that if you continue spreading the Gospel at work you will lose your job. It is easy to obey when there are no serious consequences at stake, when the one who we should be obeying is only a still, small voice inside of us, when we learn to turn the volume down on our conscience, obeying seems easier when there is no immediate punishment for our actions.
Do we not look around to see if there are any law enforcement officers before we creep thru that red light, unless their conscience has been seared within them (1 Tim. 4:2), do not those who are in the prison house of pornography do so alone, and in the dark. As long as there are no immediate consequences, as long as we don’t get caught, as long as it is not hurting anyone else, why should we obey.
Before I was saved by the Grace of our Lord, I was not a very nice person, and I saw no reason to be one. As long as I did not get caught, what possible difference could it make if I obeyed the laws of man or God or not. I was accountable to no one and saw no reason to be, what I wanted, if I could get it, I took, why obey if you are not going to get caught. One of the things that our Lord said in Rev. 3:15 was “…I would thou wert cold or hot,” and that is a very apt way to sum up my life before Christ, if you are going to disobey, do so in every way, don’t be one of those “halfway”, lukewarm individuals, if you have no intention of following one of man’s rules, then don’t follow any of them.
There is a close relationship here, though a complete inverse of it, with the laws and commandments that God gave to the children of Israel in the Old Testament, either obey all of them to the letter, or it will be as if you obeyed none of them, breaking even one was to disobey, or fall short, of fulfilling all of them. In the Old Testament, men were told that if they obeyed, they would receive grace, in the New Testament we have been given grace, so we are to obey. “His commandments are not grievous” (1 John 5:3) yet we seem to have the same problem our “spiritual forefathers” had, a somewhat desire to obey, but not in all things. We are commanded to preach the Gospel to every creature, are you obeying this command, we are commanded to forgive, do you, we are commanded to love our neighbor, how have you been obeying this commandment. Whether we want to admit it or not, we are the most important person on this planet to us, and although the believer in Christ is capable of great deeds of compassion in all its form, in love beyond what the world can understand, we at our core always come first. I mean this not in a way of prideful understanding, nor in one of self-serving or self-centeredness, but in a way of self-preservation, an obeying of self for self-continuance.
You may recall in a previous letter to you of how I was fired from a place of employment for placing my Biblical values above the requirements that were asked of me. My “self” fought this decision, for there was no one waiting outside in the parking lot to immediately hire me, but I obeyed the convictions that our Lord had placed in me. The consequences were immediate, the “old man” inside of me screamed at me to not to follow thru with the convictions that the Holy Spirit had placed within me. In trusting in the Lord’s provisions and guidance, I believed His promises, and I obeyed. To obey means to do, and for the born-again believer, that means to do in faith. I expected no reward from our Lord for my obedience, and though He did provide other employment opportunities, it was the peace that I felt inside of me as I walked to my car in the parking lot that I remember the most, the knowledge that I had obeyed the convictions that He had placed within me.
Before I was saved there was no valid reason that I could find to obey any laws of any kind, if I did not get caught, that was enough to continue what I now know was a life of sin and open rebellion. But therein is the catch, as it were, there was one law for me, don’t get caught, and it was a law I made, no one forced it upon me, it was my own personal golden rule, don’t get caught. The times that I did seemed no more to me then a minor inconvenience, time away from the pursuits of my own endeavors that I chose for myself.
Such is the way of the Lord our God in this age of the church my friends, we have been given the choice to obey or not to obey, the choice is completely up to us, but one thing has not changed, there will be consequences, both for those that choose to and for those that choose not to. The lost are not in our equation here, I speak only of those who are truly saved by the Grace of God, whose faith for their salvation rests completely in the Lord Jesus and in Him alone. There are many more rewards spoken of in the Scriptures beyond the Five Crowns, and perhaps if the Holy Spirit leads, we will discuss them someday, but you must know this, if you are not obeying, your rewards will be few, if any. Some will walk into the Kingdom in that day and hear nothing more than “welcome”, they have laid up very little treasure in heaven. (Matt. 6:20) Others will have obeyed in part, while yet others will receive more than they ever thought of, for in humility they obeyed, in love they did as there master asked, and some more than what was required of them.
I will more than likely repeat this statement in many future letters to you, Lord willing, “It is not the deed that the Lord looks at so much, as the intent of the heart when we do the deed.” There are those that obey only because they are commanded to, and there is little intent of submissive love in their heart. A good example of this is “Forsake not the assembling of ourselves together…”(Heb. 10:25) many churches have congregations only because of this commandment, yet more than a few of these individuals personal Bibles need to be dusted off before the next weekend study. Though He desires both, would our Lord rather you attend a service once a week, or open His Word daily and seek out His truths, would He rather you read the Scriptures daily and then only ponder them for your own walk with Him, or study and then go out to seek the lost or perhaps serve your weaker brother. To obey means to do, and if you are not doing, you are not obeying, if you believe your Faith alone is enough, read here James 1:22 “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” By our works, by obeying not in part but in whole what we have been commanded to obey we will be known as children of the Most-High God.
We will never reach the totality of this obedience in this short lifetime my friends, but if you are not submitting to the will of the Holy Spirit in your life, if you are not attempting to “rightly divide the word of truth,” (2 Tim. 2:15) then you have not even started onto the path of obedience, to obeying. Seek the face of God in this matter, ask Him to show you exactly where you are on your path to obeying Him, He will show you, and you will be amazed at what He will show you what awaits at the end of that path for all that love Him, trust Him, and obey Him.