TO OBEY OR NOT TO OBEY?
"To be or not to be" is a famous quote from one of Shakespeare’s writings, namely, Hamlet. The character Hamlet is contemplating the value of life with its suffering, troubles and heartaches.
For the believer and follower of Jesus Christ, a crucial question is not speculating on the value of life’s sufferings, troubles and heartaches; but to obey or not to obey. For the believer the value of life is found in obedience to the Lord. To obey the Lord does not exempt one from suffering, troubles or heartaches. Obeying the Lord and trusting in Him — no matter what — is vitally important. But disobedience results in suffering and heartache of another kind, which has spiritual consequences and may result in eternal ramifications as well. Please read 1 Corinthians 3:10-15.
To disobey the Lord is to live by the desires of our sinful nature. Sadly and unfortunately, we then experience the consequences of our sinful nature, which is hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery. But those who believe — trust in and belong to Jesus Christ; they have put to death the sinful nature and its passions and desires. Galatians 5:19-20,24.
To obey the Lord is to walk in the power of His Spirit. The fruit of His Spirit or the blessings of God are "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Galatians 5:22-23. To disobey is to "quench the Holy Spirit" 1 Thessalonians 5:19 and experience life without the fruit of God's Spirit.
To obey opens up the work of the Lord and the presence of His Spirit in our lives, to disobey is to harden one's heart. The harder our heart becomes the more difficult it is to trust and obey and experience the assurance and hope of eternal life.
Here is an illustration that I have heard numerous times; however, it communicates well the deceitfulness and eroding affect of disobedience and thinking that nobody will be hurt. If you were to place a frog in a kettle of boiling water; it will quickly jump out, aware that the environment is dangerous. But place a frog in a kettle of water at room temperature and then slowly increase the temperature of the water until it is boiling. The frog will stay in the water until it boils to death.
Let us beware of the lure of sin and disobedience. It was the disobedience and the hardening of heart that prevented a generation of Israelites from entering the Promised Land so many years ago.
Let us beware that there are different motivations for obedience. Loving grateful obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ for what He has done for us — results in love, joy, peace, assurance, hope, etc. But legalistic Pharisaical kind of obedience results in inflexibility, rigidity and spiritual death.
Humble, loving obedience is having the attitude of the Lord Jesus Christ, "who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:5-11.
To obey or not to obey that is the question. For the believer in Jesus Christ, there is no question, because the value of life and blessings of God are experienced in grateful, loving obedience as a response to God's amazing grace.
Where there is life in Christ, there is love and gracious obedience!
To obey or not to obey? Think about it!
Pastor Perry DeGroot