Obedience is an Action Verb

Obedience is the spiritual response to listening to God’s direction for our lives.

Many listen for our Creator’s directions but often our emotions divert us on a detour that leads to a dead end. We are so easily caught up in feelings. And those feelings camouflage what God wants us to do.

Our human nature is fragile. We are whipped about by the storm of emotions. We recognize that we aren’t to respond in a situation where we are hurt and wounded. However, there are those who believe that’s the end of it. We stand within the storm of conflict and pat ourselves on the back because we haven’t retaliated or fallen to the gale force winds of conflict. No, we can peacefully stand as the thunder of disappointment or heartache echoes in our ears. We close our eyes as lightening streaks of anger shoot above us. The howling wind may buffet us but we proudly stand firm. We won’t budge.

Instead, we look at ourselves as sacrificing for the sake of Christ.

On the other hand, our thoughts can take us to the worlds of what if. In our mind, we think of all the ways we could respond, letting our anger or pain pour forth like the deluge of a torrential storm. We martial our verbal defense and allow ourselves to wallow in our own self-righteousness of never voicing the words we’ve been conjuring up. We never realize that there is something else at work in the circumstances.

But that’s the problem. In many instances, we may find satisfaction in not responding and turning the other cheek. After all, that’s what Jesus told us to do. Unfortunately, we are missing the rest of His guidance of how we respond to one who hurts us.

Obviously, we need to learn how not to react to the raging emotions that fly through the air like the wicked witch of the west. Yet, we stop there and think we’ve pleased God.

Unfortunately, we’ve bought into the lie Satan would have us believe. Even if we recognize the truth of the circumstances, we fall short of the goal. First, the emotions prevent us from realizing there is more to the situation than just enduring. Certainly, it takes spiritual maturity to do that. But, if we are to grow spiritually, we must look beyond what we feel – beyond the hurt or pain. To be devoted to Christ means we must endeavor to take that next step.

Do we ever consider what it is that God might be trying to illustrate to us? Do we ever think about the fact that the Creator of the universe has control over everything that happens in our lives?

If we refuse to see God’s hand in whatever painful circumstance we are experiencing, then we might as well respond in our human nature. This is the truth we must see. If we just endure – you know, grit your teeth and stick it out – then we aren’t moving in obedience.

Different circumstances certainly require different actions. Yes, there may be times when we do nothing in our human behavior. Someone wounds us; we refuse to respond in the natural way by striking back. Nevertheless, without trying to see what God wants to show us, we aren’t actively seeking God’s perspective.

And that’s what it’s all about. God doesn’t usually change our circumstances. What He does change is our perspective, but if we aren’t willing to respond in that way, then we aren’t being obedient.

"To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously." Luke 6:27-30, The Message

Blessings, Francine
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