Love and Obedience

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In order to follow Christ in radical obedience, we must understand -- more and more every day -- His radical love for us as seen clearly in the Gospel.

Love and obedience are inseparable.

I will be honest, I don’t really like the word “obey.”  I never liked it as a child, and there is a part of my rebellious flesh that still shirks at the word. Obedience requires humility and submission, two things that I am not naturally inclined toward.

But 1 John 5:1-3 is pretty clear: “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” 

Not burdensome….hmmm. A rather perplexing statement.  I don’t know about you all, but most of the time when God (or my mother for so many years:) has asked me to obey, it often feels burdensome.  Sometimes I have been willing, but many times I have resentfully done what has been asked. 

Here is what I believe the Lord has been impressing upon me. The difference between the 2 scenarios is this: sometimes the Gospel is so clear to me. I can see Christ’s undeserved death for me and how it communicates God’s love for me, and I am willing to do anything He asks. In those instances, the beauty and power of the Gospel overflow into my actions. 

Other times however, I have lost sight of the Gospel and I no longer see as clearly the imperative to obey.  Instead of the Gospel I see my circumstances, which perhaps at the moment do not feel so loving, and I want to run the other way instead of following Him in obedience.  That is why the Gospel must be so central in all of our lives.

In order to follow Him in radical obedience, we must understand, more and more every day His radical  love for us seen clearly in the Gospel.  Romans 5:8-9 says, “…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.” Jesus’ love for us was and is radical.  We were smelly, stinky, dirty rotten scoundrels and Christ died for us.  And not just died, He was crushed, broken, tortured for us.  Unbelievable.  Amazing.  That kind of sacrificial love is the only thing that will compel us out of gratitude to a truly radical, leave it all out there, guts and glory type of obedience. So here is the simple equation that is helping me:

JESUS’ RADICAL LOVE = MY RADICAL OBEDIENCE.

This is what I am praying for us all, girls, that we would understand more and more His radical love and the Gospel and be empowered by His grace and the Holy Spirit to radical obedience.

By Angie Thomas

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