By guest blogger: Michael Anderson
When I was a boy I yearned for a dog. I begged and begged my father for one. Then one night a family friend came over with a dog for sale. This dog was absolutely pitiful. He was mostly blind; all he could see was his own shadow, which he barked at incessantly. He excreted an oil that smelled horrible and quite literally stung your skin if you touched him. This poor dog, was a dog that not even a mother could love. But in this pitiful dog I saw my only chance at happiness. For days I nagged my father for this dog. He repeatedly responded, “Son just trust me and let it go.” But eventually I wore him down until he agreed to let me have the dog. And it was an absolute disaster. No one wanted to touch him, he was horribly misbehaved, and cost my parents hundreds of dollars, in vet bills on a regular basis. Later I found out that my parents had already picked out a puppy for me from an award winning show dog and were merely waiting for the puppy to be old enough to bring home. Now as harsh as it may seem to my dog, I wish I had trusted my father. I had no doubt of his love for me. The sacrifices and provisions that he had given me should have been enough for me to trust him and obey when he asked me to “let it go”.
That was an important lesson I learned about my father. But it is even more important for me to learn about that lesson about my heavenly Father. You see, I love my father, but he is merely a man and a sinful man at that. But the Lord is perfect and His love is perfect. How much more can we trust Him and His love for us when He asks us to obey Him (John 15:14)?
Obedience is a negative word in our culture today. We fear that in obeying we lose control to someone who may not have our best interests in mind or we fear that if we obey another we will “lose ourselves”, that is, we will lose our identity.
But this is the amazing thing about our Lord’s call to obedience. As believers in Christ, as those who have been redeemed by Christ’s blood, there can be no doubt about the Lord’s love for us (Romans 8:32). It is because of His perfect love for us that we can trust Him when He asks us to obey.
Further, we were created to walk with God. When we obey Him we are walking with Him. There is never a time in which we are more ourselves and our hearts are more at home, then when we are obeying the will of God (Romans 8:21). It is through obedience to Him that God sanctifies us, that is He makes us holy and more like our true selves.
What’s more, not only does Jesus ask us to obey Him, but He models that obedience. Paul tells us in Philippians, that we should be like Christ Jesus who took on human flesh and humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:8). He did all this because He loved the father and He trusted the Father’s love for Him. We see that trust and mutual love so powerfully when Jesus asks the Father to take the cup of suffering and death from Him and still says “but your will be done” (Luke 22:42).
Thankfully the story doesn’t end at Christ’s obedient death. Paul goes on in Philippians 2 to say that as a result of Christ’s obedience God exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow...and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:9-11). Jesus trusted the Father’s great love for Him and was obedient. Likewise it is in our trust of the Lord’s great love for us, that we can learn to obey Him. And it is through our obedience that we demonstrate our love toward Him.