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thoughts on obedience

July 5, 2008

I’ve been thinking about/dealing with this a lot in the past couple weeks and two things really stand out:

First, I take issue with a phrase we Christians like to throw around. It goes something like, “delayed obedience is disobedience.”

There are some situations in which that may be true, but Jesus told a story about two sons. The first refused his father’s order, but later regretted his response and did what he was asked. The second son agreed to his father, but never actually did what was asked. Which did his father’s will? Of course, the parable is primarily discussing salvation, but which did his father’s will? Jesus accepts the first son’s delayed obedience.

If the Lord asks me to give an offering, and I refuse but the next day regret my response and give the offering is that disobedience? It’s not perfect obedience, and perfect obedience would be the goal (because, like I said, some circumstances do apply and can’t be made up for later), but is it disobedience? Meh.

Second, Christians need to think less sometimes.

Now don’t hear what I’m not saying. I’m not saying we should be stupid. I’m not saying we should ignore apologetics. I’m not saying we shouldn’t study the scripture. I’m not saying we shouldn’t know the times. I am saying that when it comes to the issue of obedience, we may – sometimes – need to think less.

Because it seems to get us in a lot of trouble. We question and we wonder and we reason and we don’t obey. It’s not living by faith.

And the more I thought about this one, the more I thought about Jesus coming back. The bible says that if possible, even the elect will be deceived. It repeatedly calls that day “great” and “terrible.” It talks about Jesus coming back to earth as a man to trample His enemies, and warns us to make sure our hearts are so right toward Him that we’re not offended. Bottom line: He’s always right; everything He does is just and good; our role is to trust and love.

So if we can’t obey now (without the reasoning, the questioning, the doubting), when all He asks is for an offering or a simple (albeit counter-cultural) behavior or a spiritual discipline, how will we stand in love, faith and trust – proclaiming His goodness and mercy when the rest of the world is raging against Him?

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