A Question of Obedience
Your book made me see that I have sin in my life. I want to obey God and do what is right, but I’m finding it so difficult. Why is obedience so hard? -a reader
If obedience were easy, there would be no glory in it for God and no reward in it for you! The beauty of coming under obedience to God is that it teaches you to be more like Jesus. Jesus sacrificed His flesh for you; you must sacrifice yours for Him. Like Jesus, we learn obedience by the things which we suffer (Heb. 5:8).
The process of coming under obedience to Christ requires the crucifixion of our flesh, which is the act of disciplining and denying our self-will in order to do God’s will (Gal.5:24, Mt. 16:24). We are bound by our flesh to seek our own will, to do what we want to do, and to fulfill our own lusts (Phil. 2:21). We have deceitful hearts, and are by nature selfish and vain (Jer. 17:9). We have formed habits of self-worship and self-absorption that we cannot seem to break. The Christian whose love for Christ is sincere and true wrestles with her own sinful nature on a daily basis, knowing that the sin within her must be purged so that she can live a godly and obedient life for God.
What I see in Christian circles today are two major setbacks that defeat our ability to obey God before we even begin to try. One: we neither recognize nor acknowledge the relentless attacks of Satan against us. Two: out of a false sense of humility, we forget the awesome power that we have in Christ to resist sin by His strength made perfect in our weakness.
I would say that today’s most effective device of Satan is his use of the media to brainwash us. The suggestive power of secular movies, music, television, books, and the news virtually dictate the way we think and behave. This is grossly underestimated by people. Those of us who are under the influence of the media have a limited ability to obey God. How can you know if you are under such influence? It’s simple. Ask yourself this: are any of my ideas, motives, philosophies, or principles in conflict with what is written in the Bible and in conformance with the secular world?
If the answer to that question is yes, you need to change – not God, not His Word, but you. To help in this transformation, put away from you all media influences that are not clearly and decidedly Biblical.
The second most effective way to limit Satan’s influence over you is to learn the Scriptures. Read them, memorize them, meditate on them, and pray to the Lord day and night to bless the wisdom that can only be given by the Holy Spirit. Pray fervently that the Lord will help you obey Him, making His will your own.
Once you’ve purposed to accomplish the above tasks, Satan’s devices will become clearer and clearer to you. The things of this world (which are the things of Satan) will slowly disappear. They will stop mattering to you. You will stop setting your heart on them. You will see them for what they are: temptations, traps, snares, causes for despair, and the way of destruction. You will begin to recognize the scales being shed from your eyes, one by one. God will reveal them to you as long as you remain willing to obey Him.
By the power of God and through His Holy Spirit, who resides only in those who are truly saved, the obedient Christian has the ability to recognize, resist, and crucify the sin in her life. You can too and, for your sake, you must.
God will, over time, as you practise obedience to His word, exercising your senses more and more to discern both good and evil (Heb. 5:14), make you despise sin, deny your Self will, and destroy the vain desires of your heart. He will show you what true, godly love is. The more of you that you give to Him, the more of Him will He give to you.
Remember, it is not your strength or ability that defeats sin: the Lord Jesus already defeated sin for you 2000 years ago! Allow this truth to fill you with courage, determination, and perseverance. By the power of God, every Christian can overcome the sin in her life. Yes, more will come, and the struggle against sin will last for as long as we are in the “body of this death” (Rom. 7:24), but it is for this cause that we are to run the race with perseverance as sons and daughters of the Living God. Stay in the race, reader, and earn your reward!
Thanks for asking, and thanks for reading!