Just the word Obedience makes me feel like what is ahead is just dull and hard work. The putting aside of what you’d really like to do, to do what is right. A word often used alongside perseverance and other words that require a lot of effort and, if I’m honest, it can bring out a little bit of rebelliousness in me. It’s like when someone tells me to put my hands in the air or sing out something and something in me says “shan’t!” (that might just be me!).
“When we love the Lord, Obedience ceases to be a burden. Obedience becomes a delight”
Joseph B. Wirthlin
Words for the Week
During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.
These words touch on what enabled Jesus to move from saying “Father if you are willing take this cup from me” to “yet not my will, but yours be done,” (Luke 22:42). This moment was proceeded by years of walking with His Father and surrendering His life to Him. He knew God and was therefore able to trust Him fully even in the hardest moments.
“God gives His own self totally to us so that we may off ourselves completely to Him”
It has often been said suffering can make us bitter or better and there is a lot of truth in that.
Suffering leaves us exposed, unable to hide who we really are and what we really believe, when what we are supposed to think is stripped away. We become very aware of our failings in how we are dealing with whatever situation we find ourselves in. In those moments we can play the blame game, get angry, feel overwhelmed, hopeless, and full of fear. We can try and carry on regardless, batten down the hatches, distract and deny but in doing so that we have also shut out God. Suffering can leave us isolated and afraid.
In that place Jesus pours out His heart to the Father, real and raw. He is in anguish but is not alone. He is overwhelmed, but in the presence of the only one who fully knows.
It does something to our hearts to have walked through the valley of the shadow of death with God and to know the truth of who He is in that place. All that we are without Him has been exposed and the reality of ‘The good shepherd’ becomes a solid foundation. It changes us; it is no longer out of mere duty that we obey, but out of the knowledge of who is asking – however hard the road ahead we only want to be where He is.
“Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One who is leading”
Own it personally…
- Remember: Spend some time remembering who God is to you personally. Remember where He has provided for you, spoken to you, guided you.
- Restore: Reflect on who God says He is – maybe look up some of the names of God and their meaning and thank Him for who He is.
- Recognise: Ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart and help you to see if there are areas of your life or situations that you like to stay ‘in charge’ of, areas where it would be difficult to be obedient to God and to surrender those areas to His will.
“Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them”
Speak it Out – Pray and Prophesy
You might want to use this worship song or the prayer below to acknowledge that your life belongs to God and that you surrender your right to be in charge and put Him in His rightful place as Lord of your life.
The Wesley Covenant Prayer:
I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will;
Put me to doing, put me to suffering;
Let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you,
exalted for you, or brought low for you;
Let me be full,
Let me be empty,
Let me have all things,
Let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
To your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
You are mine and I am yours. So be it.
And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.