Obedience is such a daunting word, isn’t it?
I don’t know about you, but I always think of a little puppy being scolded while going through obedience school. Maybe he didn’t sit when he was supposed to or maybe he kept biting after being told to stop, but in the end, he’s going to get a little tap on the nose to teach him that being disobedient to his owner is bad.
The word “obedience” has such a strict connotation behind it. We as a society have grown fearful of the word — it literally means to submit to another’s authority.
I know what you’re thinking, “WHOA, RED ALERT, SHE SAID THE WORD SUBMIT,” and you’re trying to find the quickest way to exit out of this article, but hear me out real quick.
Submission is a sacred word within the church. It is an act of worship and acknowledgement of authority, and there’s only One who you should always submit to.
The One who never resembles the negative side of submission. In fact, this one true God is always kind, always present, and always knowing.
The best part?
In order to be obedient to Him, He has only one simple commandment.
Walk in love.
Love Him, love others, and love yourself. This is what being obedient to God looks like. When we believe in God and strive to be more like Christ, it is easy to fixate on certain commands within the Bible so much that we forget our one ultimate commandment: to love.
The book of 2 John, although not even a page long, speaks measures to this.
“I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father. And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk accordingly to his commandments this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.” –2 John 1:4-6
When I first read this letter, I just thought John was talking to some random lady who was pleasing God during that time. However, one thing I have learned about our God is that He loves some good symbolism, and much like the rest of His word, He uses that here through John’s letter. The lady he speaks of represents the local church and the children are the members of the church. John begins by telling the church that he rejoiced when he found out the members were walking in the truth, and in turn, pleasing God.
I absolutely love what happens next. In verse 5, John says:
“Not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning — that we love one another.”
God has always and will always command us to do the same thing — walk in love.
But how do we actually do that?
Well, one way I’ve learned what obedience looks like is actually by not being obedient.
“HOLD UP, IS THIS GIRL TELLING ME I CAN GO OUT AND SIN ALL I WANT TO?”
Not at all. What I am saying is that using your past AND others’ pasts as learning opportunities is a good way to pursue obedience in your present life. See, the thing about being disobedient and sinning is that we’ve all done it.
Let me say that one more time for the people in the back…We’ve all been disobedient to God.
Titus 3:3 says:
“For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.”
Therefore, you are not alone. Me, you, the most holy person you know, and the least holy person you know — we’ve all been disobedient to God.
But we can find comfort in knowing that although we’re not perfect, we know Someone who is.
“But when the goodness and loving and kindness of God our savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” –Titus 3:4-5
When we compare our own disobedience to His perfect example, we grow more like Him, encouraging us to be more obedient.
Growing up I’ve always been told I should be a teacher, because of my natural leadership skills and my ability to motivate a group towards a specific task. Although I’ve come to the conclusion it’s not what God has called me to as a career for my life, teaching is still something I enjoy. So right after Easter this year, I felt a powerful calling to get involved within the church. I thought what better place to use my teaching abilities than the youth ministry?
It wasn’t that simple though.
I had so many inner thoughts that told me I couldn’t do it. That I didn’t know enough about scripture, and especially not enough to teach anyone about it. For a few weeks before completely committing to the idea, I did not fully trust God and the opportunity He put before me.
However after assessing my spiritual gifts and through lots of prayer, I chose to be obedient to God. I chose to serve in the youth ministry to use my teaching abilities. I chose to sacrifice being able to go to the same service with my family every week. I chose to give up my Wednesday nights over the summer to serve these sixth grade girls I barely even knew at the time. I sacrificed a lot from this decision, but oh, did I gain twice as much in return.
This opportunity that God gave me has allowed me to walk through life as a mentor for these girls, but more importantly, walk in love with them.
Being obedient to God can look very different for every person, but each has the same theme: loving God and loving others.
Who can you walk in love with?
I encourage you to ask yourself this question, and then write down a name or even a few names that come to mind.
Pray over that name, that the Lord would give you opportunities to show this person compassion and the true meaning of love.
When you feel Him giving you those opportunities, be obedient. Say yes, and go take a walk with that person.
You’ve got this.
Cejay originates from Bowling Green, Kentucky (home of the corvette plant sink hole), but spent a lot of summers with her family in Moody, Alabama. She currently attends Western Kentucky University with a major in criminology and a double minor in sociology and journalism. When she “grows up,” she wants to become a judge to help change our criminal justice system. On any given day, you can find Cejay on WKU’s campus hanging out at Grise Hall, the Hilltoppers for Christ campus ministry or the Alpha Gam house. On the weekends, you can catch her taking her grandparents’ dog to the dog park, eating mac and cheese or shopping while she works at Old Navy.