“How might I better align my daily cadence to God’s? How saturated are my purposes and desires in his? How obedient am I to his calling on my life? Does my fasting matter if I am not living obediently? Does my fasting matter if I live insistent upon satisfying my own cravings?” ~ Timothy Willard
Willard asks all the appropriate Lenten questions. They are questions that all of us should ask ourselves on a regular basis and not just during Lent for that matter. The questions revolve around the core of obedience, a word and a reality that are so hard to embrace and live.
From the moment we are born, we seem to eschew obedience. We would rather have the world become obedient to us. Babies know exactly how to wrap their parents around their fingers. Toddlers work extremely hard at controlling their parents and often do so through tantrums. Teens are not much better, though their tantrums are often replaced with other acts of defiance.
We continue the theme through our adulthood as well. We do not want to be obedient to employers and others who are authority figures in life. Given all of that, it’s not to hard to figure out why we have a problem with obeying God. If our life is filled with rebelling against obedience, we will lean toward bucking obedience to God and His commands.
Commands. The word itself often makes the hair on the back of our necks rise. Who is going to command us? Why should we obey another? We do not see the commandments of God for what they truly are: an invitation to intimacy and a path to safety. The commandments, after all, were not given to us to control us but, rather, to keep us safe from harm. Just as we often buck against our earthly commands — those of our parents, employers, and others — we resist God’s commands. If/when we do so, we injure our souls.
The way to keep us safe is the path of obedience. Rather than a blind obedience, which often leads to resistance, we need to have an informed and loving obedience to God. That will carry us through the troubles of life and keep us from the snares of the world.
FAITH ACTION: Examine your life in such a manner as to discover how to be more obedient to God’s love and law.