We have addressed various challenges and difficulties with obedience over the last week. Today I want to talk about one of the most important aspects of living an obedient life. That attribute is endurance.
We may not always think of endurance as being related to obedience. I will admit I did not until recently. What I have realized is that obedience becomes easier AND harder the longer we commit to it. I want to speak to both of these.
I want to touch on the issue of obedience becoming harder first. The reason is that I want to expose something I have encountered in my own faith journey. As I have tried to become more intentional in my obedience, and by this I mean more aware of it (my tendency has usually been to behavior compliance, which I think is quite normal in the church of the twenty-first century), I have realized that what I thought made obedience difficult was not the command I was confronted with.
What makes obedience hard is the separation between our intentional awareness and our move toward passive compliance. Obedience, in order to be properly called obedience, must be active and something we conscientiously engage in. When we are intentional we are taking thoughts captive; we are seeing the goodness of God around us; we are not letting life happen to us, but we are actually living the life Christ secured for us on the cross.
On the other side, the longer we endure it becomes easier because we see God’s faithfulness in sustaining us. We become witnesses to how the power of sin has been broken and how we can see victory when we trust in the Lord’s wisdom. Obedience stops being a burden and becomes one of our great delights.
To see obedience as a joy that pleases our Heavenly Father and brings satisfaction to our souls comes when we persevere. Through the difficulties and the obstacles, we endure because we have become convinced that our obedience is both what God requires, but also what God desires. And because he desires it we please him when we obey.
I want to encourage you to strive for obedience. You will find more joy on the other side than you thought possible.