As Christians, we are constantly told that we have to be obedient to God. That obedience is the only way to get blessings or that obedience is required in order to fulfill your purpose. And when we question what obedience is we often get told the routine answer of, ‘it means to follow the laws of Christ.’
But to me that never felt quite right. God came to earth and took His place on the cross because he knew that we could never live up to the expectations of the laws in the old testament. He took on our sin and paid the price so we don’t have to. So we are now blameless in the eyes of God.
So for me, the whole ‘it means to follow the law’ has never sat right with me.
And to be honest this question had been plaguing my spiritual journey for sometime. And finally after almost a year and some change God has finally given me revelation on what it means to be obedient.
What does it mean to be Obedient to God?
Obedience to God means to abide in Christ. Trusting Him to guide our lives and trusting him to train us to live righteously and to empower us to be all He created us to be.
I got this definition from a post written by Alyssa Howard called, Defining What it Means to be Obedient to God. I think it really embodies what Obedience is and I really just wanted to break down her definition further.
Obedience to God means to abide in Christ.
Abiding in Christ is all that God asks us to do in order to get a changed heart. In Romans, it says that for those in Christ there will be a renewing of our minds. A ‘renewing’ as in ‘ing,’ meaning that it’s a constant thing. In order for our minds to be renewed, we need to be in The Word constantly and consistently.
I.e., Reading the word of God, praying to God, and spending time talking with Him. We need to be associating with other Christians to help strengthen our resolve and help us to move in purpose. I have a post titled, Why It’s Important to Read Your Bible and How to Read Your Bible and Actually get Something out of it. Which are two really helpful posts if you are questioning the importance of reading the bible.
We need to be censoring our media and who we speak with so that we aren’t tempted to step outside of Christ. Thinking thoughts such as ‘Is it wise to be in this place? Will this bring me closer to God?‘
The bottom line is; what you put into your relationship with Christ, is what you get out. If you aren’t around Christ-centered people, you aren’t going to church and you aren’t in your bible, then you probably won’t be reaping all the benefits of what having a relationship with Christ will give.
And I know it can be easy to get caught up in the world. Having FOMO is a real thing as a Christian. Trust me, I understand completely. However, we need to be more purposeful with our actions so that we don’t slowly start to push God into our peripheral.
We need to be making sure that we are spending meaningful time with God. Which I think is a huge part of discipline, not so much stopping yourself from sinning, but building consistency with coming to Christ. Consistency is a huge factor when it comes to obedience to God.
So long story short, we need to come to Christ. That is the first step of obedience to God. Recognizing that we need Christ and we can’t do this without Him. Repenting regularly for our sins and accepting God’s grace into our lives.
Trusting God to guide our lives and to train us to live righteously
I think it’s dangerous when people give the lofty statement of ‘Obedience to God means to follow his commandments.’ Because it’s so much more than just turning away from sin. And honestly, this sort of advice turns newbie Christians into bigoted Pharisees.
It turns newbie Christians into people who think that their good deeds will get them into heaven. Or that by doing good deeds it will help keep them in right standing with Christ. And sadly enough, it can make newbie Christians feel like they are somehow better than everyone else because they’re not sinning as much.
While in reality you literally just got suckered into religion and acts of works. Which leads to frustration and resentment. And it completely sidesteps the part where God is the one that does the changing.
When you are obedient to God, you put in your trust in HIM to guide you and train you to be righteous. You don’t have to do it yourself. You don’t have to force yourself to be someone that you’re not. God knows your heart, you don’t have to hide your true nature from Him. But what you do have to do is be open to His word and allow for Him to come in and make changes.
You literally don’t have to do anything but trust God and abide in His Word, and as you learn more about Him, your trust will grow. Gradually changing you and allowing you to make more Christ-like decisions.
And this isn’t a race, everyone has their own relationship and pace with God. Don’t be so hardpressed to be perfect for Christ. Because God sees you as blameless and sinless, thanks to Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross.
As your relationship with Christ grows, He will test you and put you through trials. Not to break you, but to train you. And if you are doing what you are supposed to be doing you shouldn’t have the same trial twice.
Unlike me when it comes to saving money.
When you put your trust in Christ you start developing and growing in your relationship with Christ and through these experiences, you will be more Christ-like. That’s what obedience to God does. If you are wondering how you can grow your faith, I have a post conveniently titled, “How to Grow Your Faith,” which lists how as believers we can grow in Christ.
There’s nothing you have to do but trust God and abide in Him. He will do the rest of the work. That’s the great part of being obedient to God.
And why would he do this? Because we serve a GOOD GOD. One who wants to love and support us. Which brings me to my last point.
Once we understand that we cannot change ourselves we have to trust God to empower us to be all that He created us to be.
God has a plan for us. He has a purpose for us. But we will never get to that purpose if we don’t abide in Christ and trust Him to bring us to that purpose.
Often I get scared that I might have fallen out of purpose because of my sin Or scared that I might have heard God wrong.
But in reality, as long as I am abiding in Christ and trusting Him. (And repenting). He will not fail me. God is not holding my blessings or purpose captive until I behave. He tells me that He can use me right now, as I am.
God has made promises to us. He told us that He will bring any good work that He has started in us to completion. Even if I am scared to make a move I must trust God to have my back. I have to trust that God WILL correct my steps and He will always place me back into purpose. I trust that somehow someway God will get my attention and turn me back to purpose and back to Him.
And ultimately, by abiding in Christ, by trusting God, and by allowing God to work through me; it will show others how amazing Christ is and will give glory to God.
So what about following the rules?
Don’t worry about sinning and following the rules so much. I actually have a post called, Stop Focusing on Sin and Focus on God. This is super helpful if you find yourself thinking about sin often.
God will guide you and teach you better ways. You don’t have to become a brand new person overnight. Obedience to God is like a muscle, it has to be trained in order to grow.
God isn’t asking you to be sinless. He is asking you to form a relationship with him, and through this relationship, you will gradually sin less and become a better more Christ-like individual.
Look towards the fruits of the spirit to see if you are progressing in your journey with Christ, not by how much you sin.
And remember you have to do your part. You are in partnership with the Holy Spirit. And have faith that even when you start slacking, God will continue doing His part and guide you back to purpose and relationship with Him.
I say this because truthfully, I’ve been slacking with my worship and bible reading these past couple of months. But God has slowly guided me back to Him.
I hope I was able to uncover some confusion you may have had about obedience to God and what it looks like. I hope that I have helped you in some way.
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