Obedience No Matter the Cost

What is obedience? Many times we define obedience as doing what we’re told. However, more times than not, obedience looks like doing whatever we want and then trying to justify how it is correct and right. Just look at the culture around us that states, “I can be whatever I want! My gender doesn’t define me. And if it does, then maybe I’ll just change that too!”. It’s said that we’ve moved past the post-modern movement and are now in what is considered the post-truth era. “I want what I want whenever I want, and I’m certainly not going to let facts get in the way.” We look at our culture, shake our heads and say, “I’m glad I’m not like that. I base my truth on the Bible!”. James says, “You believe that God is one. Good! Even the demons believe - and they shudder.” (2:19) It’s easy for us to look at the Lord and His Word and profess to know it and follow it until it rubs us the wrong way. When this happens, we start to try and justify our actions so that others will not think less of us. “But you don’t know what that person did to me!”, or “I really don’t agree with the direction the pastor is leading.”, and my favorite, “I’ve been here for 50 years! No one is going to tell me what to do.”. We like to be obedient until it gets hard.              So what is obedience? It’s doing what scripture says despite our feelings, prejudices, and reasoning. When Stephen was preaching his first, and last, sermon in front of the Jews, he stated, “You stiff-necked people with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are always resisting the Holy Spirit…” (Acts 7:51) How often do we resist the Holy Spirit? How often do we know the right thing but refuse to do it because it may hurt someone’s feelings? Or our friends and neighbors will start to think of us differently? When we stand before the throne of God, these excuses will not suffice. But can’t we make it up by doing other good things? What if I give a lot of money to the church? Or what if I put in a lot of time by serving? Samuel answered this in 1 Samuel 15:22-23 by saying, “Does the Lord take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? Look: to obey is better than sacrifice, to pay attention is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination and defiance is like wickedness and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has rejected you…” What an indictment.             May we not be guilty of shunning the Word of God for the feelings of others or our own feelings. May we instead seek the Holy Spirit, read scripture, and then obey. We must be prayerful, we must be serving, we must be sacrificing, we must be loving, but most of all, we must be obedient.
Pastor Ben