I want to make sure that I make this distinction right from the beginning. To say something is simple does not mean it is easy. Obedience is simple, but it is rarely easy.
As we have seen over the last couple of days, the call and difficulty of obedience are related to the problem we have to submit to what we have been told to do by God. The more we seek to know and do God’s will, the greater our chance of confronting the greatest obstacle of our faith: We do not want to do things God’s way. We wonder quietly (and sometimes openly) if God really wanted to he could make it easier for us to obey.
Let me answer this simply: NO! God will not make it easier.
Obedience will always be a challenge because it will always ask us to actions that challenge our comfort. I don’t know why we want to make obedience to God easy. It is not easy. It’s not supposed to be because God is working to remove the vestiges of sin from our lives. That means that until all God sees is Christ in us, there is a continued need for obedience.
The miracle is that God has not left us powerless. When Jesus ascended into heaven, he promised to send another. One who would be both our comforter and our source of strength. When I say this I mean two specific things. First, the Holy Spirit comforts us not in our sinning. No, the Spirit of God comforts us by reminding us that in spite of our sin, we have been forgiven; that in spite of our tendency toward failure, Christ’s success on the cross cannot be revoked or rescinded.
Second, the Holy Spirit is our strength. What I mean by this is that we are not going to win the battle for obedience against sin in our own ability. It is divine enablement that makes the life of a born-again believer of Jesus possible to live until we see Jesus face-to-face. The Holy Spirit pokes and prods our conscience, letting us know we are moving away from God’s will and purpose. When we heed this prompting we are drawn away from danger and reset on our journey.
Obedience is hard, but not because God has made it hard. It is hard because we make it hard. When we fail to obey, it is not an indictment on God, but on us. We have failed to obey because we found something of lesser value than God more worthy of our time and efforts.
Obedience is simple. We just want to make it complicated. And this is what makes it hard.