I learned to spell the word “obedience” as a child through a song I learned. The lyrics were:
Obedience is the very best way to show that you believe. Doing exactly as the Lord commands, doing it happily. Action is the key, do it immediately, joy you will receive. Obedience is the very best way to show that you believe.
O-B-E-D-I-E-N-C-E. Obedience is the very best way to show that you believe.
The Apostle John was very blunt when he wrote 1 John 2:3-4. “We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”
Many people claim to be Christians, but live no different than the world. If the world looked at our lifestyles, words, attire, books we read, hobbies, tv shows, movies, radio, etc., would they see Christ in us? What about the way we treat others? Would they see Christ in our marriages and the way we interact with our spouses? Would they see our lives lived out every day serving God, worshipping Him? Would our lives point them to Christ?
The word “Christian” was originally a degrading term for the people that followed Christ. It only makes sense that those who choose to follow Him would obey His commands. As Christian follow Christ’s commands, they demonstrate to the world that they know Him as their Savior. However, obeying His commands is not dreaded, hated, or done out of expectations because we “ought to.” Obeying His commands is like a treasure. Because I can trust God to want the very best for me and I can trust His plans for my life, then I know the commands He gives are out of His love and protection for me.
Obeying Christ’s commands should be the desire of our heart. As we reflect on the price that Christ paid on our behalf so that we would have the privilege of following him, our natural response to His sacrifice should be loving Him. Because we love Him, we willing keep His commandments. In John 14:15, Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.”
If out of our love for Him we have a desire to obey Him, then the opposite would also be true. If our desire is to continue to sin and live from the lust of our hearts, yielding to every temptation, than we need to examine whether or not we truly know Christ as Savior. Not that any of us ever live a perfect, sinless life. If we did, then Jesus’ sacrifice would not have been needed. Even as a Christian, we mess up. However, as a Christian, it should cause us to grieve over our sin. There should be an uncomfortable stirring within whenever we step out of obedience of God’s commands and peace only comes as we ask Him to forgive us and we step back onto the path of obedience once again. However, sin and living like the world should not be the way of life for the Christian. Instead we should be spiritually growing, and have a desire to obey the treasured commands of the one we are to be imitating as we go out into the world.
We can’t do this just by sitting in church for an hour every Sunday. Living Christ-like lives is hard work and the more like Christ we become, the more likely we are to draw the attending of Satan who will throw temptations up before us just to make us stumble and fall. When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, Jesus used scripture from the Old Testaments to answer each temptation. This is the reason the psalmist wrote, “Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee.”
Setting aside a daily time to read the Bible and pray is essential. You can know what Christ’s commands are if you are not reading the Bible and hiding its contents in your heart. If you were in a long distance relationship, and your only means of communication was a hand written letter, would you not long for the next letter to arrive and then once it did would you not pour over each and every word? And then as you waited for the next letter to arrive, would you not read and reread the letters you already have? The Bible is not just God’s commands, it is His love letter to us. As a Christian, there should be the same joyful expectation of “getting” to read His Word to us. If our joy and desire is to obey His commands, then reading His letter to us is essential to knowing what His commands are.
Take a moment to examine your own life. If the world examined how you live, would they call you a Christian?