My little Schnauzer, Bella, has obedience issues from time to time. For example, she hesitates when I call her. Often, I can see the contemplation in her little face. She is deciding; she is weighing her desire to obey against the expectation, and more times than not she chooses her own way. I know that she loves me. I know that she trusts me, but I think that at the heart of the issue it is a matter of will and Bella choosing her will over mine.
We, even as believers, genuinely struggle with obedience, too, but Jesus addresses this in Scripture: “…If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Luke 9:23 It is for us to reject our own will if it differs from His will. And truthfully, like Bella, although we may love and trust the Lord, it is very possible that our love and trust are very limited or somewhat incomplete, because Jesus sets the bar here: “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” John 14:15 True love for Him and trust in Him are demonstrated by obedience.
In the Old Testament, in 1 Samuel chapter 15, there is an account that directly speaks to this point of obedience. Saul, the first king of Israel, was sent forth by the Lord to attack the Amalekites. His instructions from the Lord, given through the prophet Samuel, were to destroy the Amalekites—all of the people and all that they had, but Saul only partially obeyed—and truly some might argue that he mostly obeyed, but…he did not FULLY obey the instructions of the Lord, and that matters—even partial obedience is called disobedience.
Unfortunately for Saul, when confronted with his disobedience, he tried to justify his actions. He made excuses, even tried to blame others for his choices. He went so far as to say he was disobedient for the Lord’s sake, but Samuel declares: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15:22
Today, let’s “take stock”. Let’s ask the Lord to open our eyes to areas where we need to step up and follow through with obedience, and go back, if you will, and read 1 Samuel 15 and let Scripture light the way.
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