I am the first to admit that I am easily amazed. I use so many adjectives and descriptive words that my husband has practically banned me from 'amazing' and 'unbelievable.' It may sound dramatic, but to me the polka dot socks really were unbelievable! And the drapes inside the lobby of the W hotel? Amazing! Despite my exuberant nature, I can always recognize when something is really worthy of the descriptive words I crave. Yesterday in church was one of those moments. When the music grew quiet and we were praising the Lord as a congregation I was overtaken with gratitude. Here we were, listening to this great guitar and beautiful piano. The drums were on point and the background music as lovely as ever. But when the music stopped-the praise kept going. I kept my eyes closed and perked my ears up for all the different ways we can worship. Instruments are fantastic, but even if my six month stint with the recorder in grade school was the last time I ever touched an instrument, I could still make music. We have voices that harmonize and praise, feet that dance and stomp, hands that clap and reach for the heavens- we were created to worship just as we are. In my fresh revelation of the wonders of God's mind I was reminded that no matter how beautiful our singing voice or how fancy our footwork- our highest form of worship will always be obedience.
Obedience is a spiritual discipline. It is not fun or easy, but it is absolutely essential to our walk with the Lord. Many of us were raised in Christian homes and can tell you all about Esther and Moses. We can explain to you the stories of Zacchaeus and Jonah (if not from reading then from Veggie Tales and Sunday School Songs.) We often pat ourselves on the back for how many Bible Trivia points we can score- but how often do we reflect on how we are loving the Lord? When my husband and I read the book 'The Five Love Languages,' I learned that I have three of the five love languages. My husband has two. The Lord has one. John 14:15 is simple: "If you love me, you will obey my commandments."
We have it backwards, upside down and inside out because we are asking a Holy God to do all that we want without following the formula. The formula is indisputable: if we love Him, we will obey Him. Matthew 6:24 has been ringing in my ears lately and I just recently discovered what it means. It declares that "No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." I used to read that and think "Phew! I don't serve money, that's for someone else." But the more I read it, I realized it spans over much more than money. Anything we seek above the Lord is what we are serving- including ourselves. Choosing to live according to the judgement of our weakened conscience rather than by the leading of the Word is indefinitely serving ourselves.
You see, We want the Lord to restore friendships and heal hurts, but we don't want to give up gossiping about them. We beg for God to give us clarity about whether a boyfriend or girlfriend is "the one," but we refuse to give up sleeping with them. We look up Bible verses on confidence and contentment, but we won't even consider turning from constantly comparing ourselves to others and lusting after what they have. He has given us his Word not as a suggested way of life, but the only way of life. Obeying His commands is not a nice way to show we love Him, it's the only way to show we love Him. Pleasing ourselves cannot come at the cost of obeying the Word. James 1:25 says "But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves."
When I was younger, I remember sheepishly saying "I love you" to my parents after scribbling on the walls or sneaking to watch the forbidden TV in the guest room. They would reply, "Don't tell us you love us. Show us you love us." I feel a tugging on my heart that The Lord is saying the same thing. Our love and reverence for the Him will be evident by our response to His commands. I challenge you to join me in making 2014 a year of obedience. Make a list of all the areas of your life that are disobedient to Gods Word and pray over it- asking for forgiveness and a way out. We are promised that we'll never be tempted beyond what we can bear- there is always a way out. Watch how your life transforms as you dedicate yourself to obedience.