Of the many challenges we face when seeking to be true followers and disciples of Jesus Christ, obedience seems to be the one that is most difficult.  Let’s face it, from the Garden of Eden on, mankind has shown our stubbornness in wanting to do things our way, on our terms, in our timing.  And the Old Testament shows time and time again the problems and destruction that awaits fallen man when we want to disobey God and do things our way.

So God sends his Son so that those who believe in Him will be justified by our faith in Him.

But did Jesus say anything about obedience no longer being important?  In John 14:15 Jesus states:  “If you love me, you will obey what I command.”  So as much as we would like to believe we have no responsibilities once we place our faith in Jesus Christ, quite the opposite is true:  We have a responsibility to obey God all the more because of our stated love for Jesus Christ, His Son.

I think as Christians we misunderstand a very important point:  We tend to think that our salvation in Jesus Christ alleviates us from the responsibility of obedience to God; when in fact it raises the bar on that obedience.  The Old Testament forbad a man from adultery with another woman; Jesus said if we look at a woman with lust in our hearts, we commit adultery.  He also said if we hate a man in our heart, we commit murder.  So while we think the bar has been lowered, it has actually been raised.

We seem to have devolved as a church in America these days.  To us, it has become all about salvation with little attention paid to obedience through holiness.  Altar calls have been minimized to the point where they convey a simplistic, incomplete message:  All we have to do is ask Jesus into our hearts and we will be saved.  The only problem is, just where does it say that in scripture?  Jesus says the greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul and mind—we reduce salvation to “inviting Jesus into our hearts”.  We suffer as a church from a lack of real spiritual mentors, willing to teach new Christians what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.  We seem more interested in superficial, meaningless numbers than we are about developing true disciples—disciples who truly commit everything to Jesus.

A parent trains his child to obey so they are protected and will be prepared for the challenges of the world ahead.  God is doing the same with us—teaching us to obey for our own protection, both now and when things get really ugly.  If we cannot obey him now, when things are still relatively peaceful and stable, how will we ever obey him when doing so could cost us our jobs or even our lives?  Things will never be easier than they are right now for true disciples of Jesus.  So let’s train ourselves now in obedience and faith for what lies ahead so He may be glorified in all things.