Advertisement

Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

God’s Obedient Child: More Musings for Rebels

I’ve been stalling on the subject of obedience: just the term makes me a bit squeamish, and I’m not sure where this discomfort comes from.

Maybe my squeamishness is the result of having grown up singing in church one too many rounds of that cheesy, old hymn, Trust and Obey; maybe it is the outgrowth of having sometimes heard the term thrown around with an almost smug and legalistic pietism that denies the degree to which obedience to God  requires becoming sullied.

Advertisement

Maybe it’s because more often than not, authority, be it in our churches, places of work, halls of government, or even our families, seems to be gravely misused, frequently with devastating results.  (There’s good reason for the bumper sticker that reads, “Question authority,” which you’ll probably catch in my forthcoming book.)

But I’ve promised to move out of the realm of the abstract into some concrete  reflections on the nature of obedience to God.  What follows here is the beginning of my own wrestling with Scripture.  Maybe you’ll have some contributions- I hope so!  This subject is so rich that it could become fodder for a whole series of reflections on the nature of obedience to God in our marriages and families, places of work, and with respect to our role as citizens of our nations and the world.

Advertisement

Here is what I’ve come up with thus far in the way of what obedience to God isn’t:

  • Blind, unthinking adherence to an external set of laws or commands, in the form of Pavlov’s dog or the subjects of the 1960’s Milgram experiment
  • Externalized behavior only, in terms of a strict keeping of God’s laws (the Ten Commandments) at the expense of a personal relationship with God

 

Here’s what I think obedience is:

  • Being in right relationship with God and inviting God to take the helm of our lives (which is an ongoing act of setting aside one’s own agenda)
  • Inviting the Holy Spirit into our lives on a daily, even moment-by-moment basis
  • Upholding the Ten Commandments, not for the sake of following rules but because these put us on the path to God’s best for us and invite us into a relationship with Jesus
  • Listening to the stirrings of one’s own heart, in prayer, with others, and through the examination of one’s conscience
  • the working out of God’s purposes for one’s life “with fear and trembling” (I happen to believe Kierkegaard is right: if, as I’ve seen it tweeted recently, religion is not a solitary enterprise, it is also true that every human being must ultimately stand alone before God and encounter God for themselves; the church can do great damage in asserting its authority over and against the individual in relation to her God.)
  • following Jesus…if it is true that Jesus is “the fulfillment of the law,” then following Jesus is the closest we can come to obeying God, which, paradoxically, often means calling into question the authorities of this world and declaring our allegiance to One who is greater

 

Advertisement

These are some initial thoughts.  What are yours?  Who, for you, has embodied obedience to God, and why?

And, here’s the $100 question of the day: does obedience to God ever require that we go against our personal conscience? I have in mind here Abraham, whom God told to sacrifice his own son…Drop me a note in the comments section below, and we’ll republish your contributions.

 

Previous Posts

What I'm Learning About That "Pick Your Battles" Advice
At least once a week he runs several times around the full perimeter of our local neighborhood park. And he's ...

posted 5:22:16pm Apr. 22, 2016 | read full post »

"T" is for "Try": "REST" for Restless Souls, Via the 12 Steps
Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.  - "Step 12" of Alcoholics Anonymous The trials of single parenting and a ...

posted 8:21:06pm Mar. 22, 2016 | read full post »

Here's What the Exhilaration of Trust Looks Like
NPR ran a story the other day that brought me to tears. About a former mortgage banker Ray Jackman, who now works full-time with kids with ...

posted 11:44:01am Mar. 04, 2016 | read full post »

"S" is for "Surrender": REST for Restless Souls, Via the 12 Steps
"Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him." - Step 3 Back at this ...

posted 9:44:54pm Feb. 26, 2016 | read full post »

Trump's Torturous Takeaway — How Waterboarding May Soon Be Back, and Why
Torture is acceptable and even commendable. That seems to be one of the takeaways from last night's ...

posted 4:36:07am Feb. 11, 2016 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.