Obedience Is a Choice

When it comes to making choices, people tend to do so based upon how the anticipated outcome benefits them personally.

Of course, there’s good that can come from that, but that “good” may only represent accepted societal values. And American societal values don’t necessarily represent God’s perspective.

Rather, our values—having progressed with our political history—reflect iStock_000000055650_Smallsociety’s drift from the days of our country’s founding.

For instance, George Washington once said: “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.” Numerous other founders expressed the same reliance upon God and His providence.

Today, however, God’s perspective is often seen as limiting or diminishing our right to choose. In the minds of many, God is seen as a “spoil sport.” He is only there to “block my goals.”

God wants us to know that He gave us the right to choose. We are free in Christ, and Paul has assured us of this in Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ set us free: therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery” (NASB).

With this more specific view of our freedom in Christ, we can make good choices. Good choices, though, come from having God’s perspective. Solomon gave us some insight into how we can gain God’s perspective in Proverbs 3. He begins with the admonition: “do not forget my teaching” (see v. 1). Relying upon our minds to hold dear what God has taught is critical both to our political freedoms and our submission and obedience to His will and His desires for us.

I was recently reminded that obedience is from the Greek word hupakoe, which literally means “to hear under.” We are under God’s authority and, by virtue of our faith and trust in Him, should be fully committed to obey Him. And to obey Him is to hear His perspective as we program our minds with His Word—by studying it, by learning what it means, by memorizing it, thinking about it, and by living it out.

We can only choose what our minds have first grasped, and our freedom of choice is restricted to the information we have in our minds.

Have you chosen to saturate your mind with God’s Word and His perspective?

If it is our desire to surrender to the guidance provided by the Holy Spirit, we must open our minds to the power of the Word of God. Grasping the truths of the Word helps to meld our hearts with His desires.

Jesus sought to have us see His desires for us in John 8:32, “and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” Truth brings things into light, it points out what is true, and it allows us to demonstrate before others the depths of God’s redeeming love.

God has given us a freedom in Christ, yet He implores us to “hear under” and fully commit ourselves to Him and His authority. The choice to obey is ours.

For more information about how you can “stay the course,” refer to The Wheel illustration at The Navigators’ website.

The Rim: Obedience to Christ (See: Romans 12:1; John 14:21): Some acts of obedience to God are internal, such as attitudes, habits, motives, values and day-to-day thoughts. But even these eventually surface outwardly in our relationships with other people. Keeping His commandments in obedience is our outward indication of inward health and love for Christ—our worship.