I once was a rebel.
One of the first things God began transforming after I was gifted with salvation was my rebellious nature. God truly had His work cut out for Him. After years of willful disobedience, through God’s grace, I committed to obeying and serving Him.
After salvation, a believer’s life has a new trajectory directed toward God. Obedience to God is the hallmark of a renewed holy life.
Our obedience demonstrates to people to whom our allegiance belongs. When we choose God before our own self-serving desires, we demonstrate that we love Him above all else, even ourselves.
Now by this we know that we have come to know God: if we keep His commandments. The one who says “I have come to know God” and yet does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in such a person. —1 John 2:3-4
As a new believer, I was fully committed to obeying God. I made it my passion. My mission. However, I slowly began treating obedience as my means of obtaining God’s approval and winning His favor.
When I mistreated a coworker or spoke negatively about someone, I felt tremendous guilt. I immediately thought I was at risk of losing God’s love. Somehow, I shifted from obeying God out of love to serving and obeying Him out of fear and legalistic obligation.
For this is the love of God: that we keep his commandments. And his commandments do not weigh us down…—1 John 5:3
It is important to pay attention to the order of the words in 1 John 5. God’s love comes first, then our obedience follows.
Therefore, our obedience should always be the result of God’s love, not a transaction we make in order to obtain His love.
Don’t get me wrong. Obedience to God’s Word and His commands are extremely important. As believers we are called to build our lives upon God’s Word as our firm foundation. We rely on the Bible for wisdom, knowledge, and peace. It is our source of security and assurance of our identity.
If we truly love God, we will seek to know Him, know His Word, and keep His commands. When our faith is genuine, obedience will be the outcome.
But what happens when we fail God?
Thankfully, God knew from the beginning of time we would fail Him. That is why God has given us His Son, Jesus. Jesus did what we could not. Jesus remained perfectly and completely obedient to the authority of God, even to the cross.
Because Jesus lives within believers, God sees us as He sees Jesus: perfectly righteous; holy; beloved daughters. Therefore, we are free to serve and obey God with all of our hearts with reckless abandon, knowing He loves us no matter what.
But whoever obeys His word, truly in this person the love of God has been perfected. By this we know that we are in him. The one who says he resides in God ought himself to walk just as Jesus walked. —1 John 2:5-6
When we disobey God and His Word, we can run boldly, unashamed, and throw ourselves upon God’s throne of grace. We honestly confess our struggle to obey Him. We pour our hearts out to Him earnestly and humbly. After humble repentance and confession, we trust God. We follow Him once again, knowing we are loved, knowing God has already poured upon us His mercy and forgiveness, knowing we are forgiven, restored, and renewed.
As I grew in my Christian walk, my entire world was changed when I began to recognize God’s love is incomprehensible and inexhaustible that even when I did not obey Him, He loved me just the same. This merciful love compelled me to choose to follow Him, serve Him, and obey Him even when I knew I did not have to. Obedience to God became my act of worship for His great love for me.
When we fail God, we remember our salvation was never based on our behavior or our level of obedience. We remember our right-standing with God is fixed and unchanging. We remember we have the fullness of God’s love and His delight.
We remember His love, and follow Him obediently again and again and again.
Where might you need to cooperate with the Holy Spirit’s work in your life in order to become more disciplined and obedient to God? How can we pray for you?
Peace and grace to you,
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