Sunday, August 6, 2017

Old School Obedience

Reading Dallas Willard's book, The Great Omission, I was struck by his observation about obedience. While Jesus clearly teaches the importance of obedience ("teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you..."), Christians rarely emphasize it today.

Somehow we want the depths of spirituality without the tedium of obedience. Wouldn't that be easier? Obedience seems so oppressive. Can't we just call it cooperation with God? We do hear occasionally about repentance. But repentance must come back to obedience.

Maybe we think of obedience primarily with outward requirements: do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal. And many of us may believe that we have long ago mastered that kind of obedience. Please don't nag us with reminders about such elementary matters.

But Jesus calls his followers to make some more difficult choices: love your enemies, bless those who curse you, don't lust, deny yourself. These are less visible, but still important matters of obedience.

Being required to "obey" Jesus seems like oppression. Obedience is such a harsh word to twenty-first century ears.

We have somehow lost the connection between love and obedience. Jesus loves us, so he calls us to obedience. If we love him, we will obey his commands.

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