Do I Have To?

By Jenny Harrison

(l-r) Lainey,Jenny, Emiley  Jenny's youth bible study class
(l-r) Lainey, Jenny, Emiley
Jenny’s youth bible study class

I was never fond of the word obey—for me, it carried a negative connotation. Obedience was associated with former rigid and hurtful rules.

Maybe this is why I chose not to repeat the word in my marriage vows. (Love, honor, and obey were routinely recited by women in wedding ceremonies when I got married.)

I would eagerly agree to love, honor, cherish, and be faithful to my love forever, but obey? Afraid not! Not this gal!

Unfortunately, my burdensome definition of obedience seeped into my perception of the church and God as well. Inwardly, I believed I could never be what God expected. I saw my Savior as an angry taskmaster ready to hit the smite button when I fell short.

Recently, I lead a children’s bible class. After a brief discussion about understanding the importance of an obedient heart, we went to the bible in search of clarification on the subject. It’s ironic how God puts it on my heart to teach children, and suddenly I, the “grown up,” am the one with a heart being softened and eyes opened to the magnificent plan of my Lord.

Here are a few of the verses on obedience that we found:

Obedience to God completes us

But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 1 John 2:5 (NIV)

Obedience to Christ provides spiritual freedom

But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. Romans 6:17,18 (NIV)

Obedience leads to happiness

Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. Psalm 119:35 (NIV)

Do I really have to? No, obedience is a choice, however, I can’t imagine being in a better place than in the loving care of my Lord and Savior.

Copyright © 2013, Jenny Harrison, all rights reserved, Breath of Life Women’s Ministries.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.

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