I fear for the Church today, as it too often preaches to the flesh and not to the spirit. At one end we have the legalistic message that preaches the dangerous and false doctrine that man can somehow save himself apart from the grace of God. At the other end we have the hyper-grace message that takes the holy truth of grace and shames it with the teaching that we can sin without consequence.
Obedience has become a negative word in our Church today. We either condemn it with legalism or we condemn it with hyper-grace. It is not grace or obedience, but grace and obedience. “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Romans 6:1-2 NKJV).
Grace is not the license to sin, but the power of God that set us free from sin. By God’s grace, Christ died that we would be set free from the bondage of sin. By God’s grace, the Holy Spirit was sent to give us power over sin.
We have been set free from sin. If we sin now, it is not because we have to, but because we want to. I do not teach on obedience to shame you where you are, but to draw you where you can be. I am in the same battle, and I refuse to allow the lies of the Devil to prevail in my life.
Don’t you ever let the Devil convince you that God’s power cannot do a work in you. If you fall, get back up. If you fall seven times, get back up seven times. Just keep getting back up, confess your sins and turn to God. You cannot sin beyond God’s grace to forgive you, but you can stop trying to.
Here is a truth, you cannot be obedient of your own power. Knowing this truth, every time I fail God, I will then remind God of His promise to me, “I will put My Spirit inside you and cause you to live by My laws, respect My rulings and obey them” (Ezekiel 36:27 CJB). It is not like God forgot His promise, but sometimes I have.
And so, I need to be the one to remember His promises, and to yield to His Spirit that the Holy Spirit will be the power within me, that I might live a life of obedience that pleases Him. Here are some things below I have written on obedience. I pray this will be a blessing to you.
Love is never born out of obedience, rather obedience is born out of love. Never place obedience before love, because only love can cause obedience.
You will live what you love. To live differently, you must love differently. Love the world, then you live a worldly life. Love God to live a godly life.
Love is the spark and obedience is the fire.
Love is the prefix to obedience. Love is not the result of obedience, but the cause.
We think if we are more obedient then He will love us more. Yet obedience is the result of us loving Him, not the cause of Him loving us. “But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us” (Romans 5:8 AMPC).
Just love Jesus more every day, obedience will follow.
Obedience is simply loving Jesus more than yourself.
The secret of living in obedience is having the life of Christ in you. “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me…” (Galatians 2:20 NLT).
To obey Him, love Him. The Lord Jesus said, “Loving me empowers you to obey my commands” (John 14:15 TPT).
Obedience does not draw you nearer to Him but drawing near to Him will be the cause of your obedience.
The difference between legalism and righteous obedience is that legalism is done trying to earn the love of God, while a righteous obedience is done out of love for God.
Legalism is trying to please God by your own power.
True love is when obedience is done lovingly and not legalistically.
Legalism tries to earn salvation, whereas obedience is the result of salvation.
Legalism is man trying to rule himself, whereas obedience is man being ruled by Christ. “But now we have died to those laws that bound us. God has broken their effect on us so that we are serving in a new spiritual way, not in an old way dictated by written words” (Romans 7:6 NOG).
Legalism is the letter of the Law, dead ink on paper. Obedience is the Spirit of the Law, Christ in you.
If you make obedience your goal, then at best you prove some level of self-control, and you serve your pride. Make loving Jesus your goal, and obedience is merely what happens from this love.
Obedience apart from love is just man showing off what he can do on his own power.
Why you obey the Law reveals all. If you obey to earn, you are prideful and obey sinfully. You think too high of yourself. You try to do because you think you can. You cannot. “For the Christ is the end of the law. And because of Him, God has transferred His perfect righteousness to all who believe” (Romans 10:4 TPT). You cannot be righteous of yourself, but only receive His.
When you reach the end of yourself, your inability to keep the law, you find Christ. The end of you is the beginning of Christ in you. “…And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing His glory.” (Colossians 1:27 NLT).
In pride, people are “…seeking to establish their own righteousness, [and] have not submitted to the righteousness of God” (Romans 10:3 NKJV).
Righteousness is never found in your power, only in submitting to His. Christ fulfilled the law; your part is to be filled by Christ.
The secret of obedience is Christ in you.
“Jesus said to his disciples: If you love me, you will do as I command” (John 14:15 CEV). And Jesus knows you could never do this on your own, so next He promised us, “Then I will ask the Father to send you the Holy Spirit who will help you and always be with you” (John 14:16 CEV).
It is not hard to obey God when once you realize God is in you, that you can accomplish that very thing. “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3 NKJV).
Yield to the Holy Spirit, that the life of Christ would reign in you, and the supernatural result will be a life of increasing obedience.
Blessings to you,