Obedience gets a bad rap these days. It doesn’t carry a good connotation. On the other hand, rebelliousness appeals to us. There’s even a new car commercial that begins with typical things that moms say that are restrictive, and it concludes with a voiceover saying something to the effect of, “For the rebel in all of us”. Rebelliousness is fun. It’s sexy. Don’t you want to be a part of the Rebel Alliance? Don’t you want to be a Female Rebel?
So, autonomy and rebelliousness are lauded in our culture, and the word “obedience” carries with it a sort of coldness, vacuousness, and routine.
We see this even in modern maxims about Christianity. We hear people say that Christianity is not a religion, it’s a relationship, and that it’s not about “do” but “done”. Others take the Greatest Commandment to the extreme by thinking that they have no need for the law of Christ: all we need to know is “Love God and love others”.
If one were to say that Christianity is about obedience to Jesus, he might ruffle some feathers. But the writer of 119th psalm has a different attitude toward obedience. Here’s a sampling:
Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it. – Psalm 119:35
Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways. – Psalm 119:37
Turn away the reproach that I dread, for your rules are good. – Psalm 119:39
The psalmist loves the law of God and obeying it. And mind you that he even has the Old Covenant law in mind. He loves it.
The psalmist rightly understands that all that God has commanded is good and delightful. And true joy is found in obedience to Him. His laws are not burdensome. Yes, sometimes, they’re hard. It’s hard to bless those who persecute us, and it’s hard to deny our bodies sexual immorality, and it’s hard to count others more significant than ourselves, but when we obey, we experience a greater satisfaction than when we disobey. It’s God’s design that sin leads to destruction and obedience leads to abundant joy. So, it should be our heart’s desire to be obedient to the Lord Jesus in all things. We need to not be confirmed to the pattern of this world, in its attitude toward obedience, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds, thinking like the psalmist did and more importantly, as the Savior did, who became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.