It seems like everywhere I turn these days, I hear about this word: obedience. This somewhat unpopular word in my freedom-loving United States of America often becomes a hard word to follow.
We can look to other societies in the Bible that also struggled with obedience. Often, I think of the nation of Israel, God’s chosen people, as they constantly fought submitting to God. Their nation was also a blessed nation who had prospered under the rule and authority of God. However, they began to follow their own ways and turned their backs on the giver of all their blessings.
“Obey me and I will be your God and you will be my people. Only do as I say and all will be well.” Jeremiah 7:22-23
This command can repeatedly be found throughout the book of Jeremiah. God longed and desired for his people to follow him. The directive is still the same for us individually, as well as our nation. Our job is to obey God.
I have great news for us: Jesus died on the cross for us. That may sound like a simple line to you, but hear what that means. Jesus died to be a sacrifice for our sins. By doing that, he removed the obstacle of sin that caused a separation from God’s pure holiness and our sinful nature so that we can have a relationship with God. That was God’s original intent when Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden.
The good news continues, as we are given the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us and to give us power to do the work of God. When the Holy Spirit prompts us, we have a choice. While this may not seem like a significant moment, it is. We can follow the Holy Spirit’s prompt or we can go our own way.
I want to warn you that going your own way is a rebellious step that begins to harden your heart. If you struggle to follow God’s word and the Holy Spirit, I encourage you to take a moment right now and ask God to forgive you for rebelling against him. Take it a step further and ask him to break that bondage in your life. Take hold of your freedom from the old sinful nature.
“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. THESE TWO FORCES ARE CONSTANTLY FIGHTING EACH OTHER, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.” Galations 5:16-18
We can choose to see our situation for what it is: a battle of the heart. Will we choose to follow God or the ways of our old sinful nature? When we are confronted with an issue, we must take a moment to examine when is happening. Is this from God or a lie from Satan? Does this line up with scripture? Does this line up with the promise God gave for this situation? These questions turn our hearts towards God, which is the first step in submitting ourselves to obeying him.
In all situations in life, I encourage you to prepare your heart to obey whatever God asks of you. This position of submission is a place a of freedom.