Obedience. Right away I envision a dog sitting at an owner's feet, on a slack leash - a leash that no doubt was not even necessary for the owner's verbal commands are all that are needed in the case of an obedient dog.
Next, I imagine a child at the dinner table without being told - - eating all the peas and carrots before consuming the dessert. Elbows off the table, this is a child happily enjoying being part of an orderly family. This child obediently following the rules. The results? Order and peace in the home.
In regard to the word 'obedience' I have to be transparent here - I was the last person I thought of as being obedient. Why is that? I am not an animal, surely not a child - - why do I not associate obedience with myself? Did I leave obedience at adolescence? Did I merely teach it to my dog so I could be in control?
I questioned, "As an adult, whom must I be obedient to?" Crickets.... More crickets....
In my carnality I logically went down the list. My husband? Well I respect my husband and respond in my role as wife, but obedient to my husband? Surely not.
My parents? I have cleaved and left (Genesis 2:24). I now respectfully honor my parents but since I am no longer under their discipline. I would be required to be obedient to them? Surely not I reason.
How about being obedient to an employer? Submit to the authorities God has placed over you - but obedient?
The word obedient sounds so submissive...
So I looked up the definition:
obedient: obeying or willing to obey; complying with or submissive to authority: an obedient son.
And so - - I realized it sounds submissive because it is!
The child learns from the parent. The animal learns from the master. We must learn from God - from His Word - the Bible.
Obedience 101 - God's Way
Joshua 1:7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.
Joshua 1:8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
In context, the Book of Joshua is the story of the man Joshua leading Israel from victory to victory as the people follow the Lord and claim their promised inheritance. Joshua is a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ who won the victory over sin - over Satan. Joshua is also a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ, who gives rest to those who trust Him (Matthew 11:28-30, Hebrews 4).
Joshua knew he was following orders - he was second in command (Joshua 5:13-15). His life was evidence of obedience and out of that faith we realize we too can share victory (1 John 5:1-5).
Back to the word 'obedience'. I can only be obedient to what God's Word commands in regard to: my husband, my parents, my employer if I am in the Bible. If I am not in the Word I do not know what is required of me! I do not know how to follow orders. I am living without a compass, without a map.
And so it all made sense suddenly. Obedience to God first. To His Word. Realizing what is required of me helps me to know my role in other's lives. Like Joshua back in the Old Testament, I know I must be second in command with the Lord leading me to victory. In the grand scheme of things I truly am a child. Yikes! I am also like an animal in that I too need a leash at times. Knowing I must be obedient allows me to rest in the fact that I will remain on the winning team - doing the victory dance one day.
How I long to find the Promised Land. How about you? Do me a favor. Say it out loud (deep breath first), "Obedience". Not so hard to say. But very hard to do - - if you attempt to do it without God!
Lord, grant us the faith and obedience that will provide the much-needed courage to enjoy the success that only comes from You! Amen and Amen.