I thought it might be fun to share some of our current Bible studies with you. Since we are a Christ-centered family, learning to be more Christ-like is something we hope to be. The first characteristic we are learning about is “How to Develop Obedience”, and what does that mean. So, lets answer that first question.
What is Obedience?
Obedience is receiving instruction, correction, provision, and protection through the Biblical jurisdictions or parents, civil authorities, church leaders, and employers.
So what does that mean exactly?
Obedience is wise submission to the will of those God has placed over us. True obedience is more that just an action. It doesn’t involve us to carry out commands or instructions that would have us go against and violate the higher law of God. Obedience is more than just compliance and is not subjection or blind submission. It is based on the motivation that God works through those placed in authority and that EVERY person must give an account to God for EVERY choice he has made.
In the Bible God uses the horse and the stubborn mule as an example of willfulness. “Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.” Psalm 32:9. The mule in particular has become synonymous with the spirit that is opposite of obedience, hence the phrase, “stubborn as a mule”. Obedience implies the breaking of your own will, even for Jesus. “Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.” Hebrews 5:8.
So how does God command obedience? Well, here are 6 ways:
- Be obedient to God. “But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29
- Be obedient to your parents. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Ephesians 6:1-3
- Be obedient to your conscience. “Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.” Romans 13:5
- Be obedient to your church elders. “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.” Hebrews 13:17
- Be obedient to your civil authorities. “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work,” Titus 3:1
- Be obedient to your employer.”Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.” Colossians 3:22
Since God the Father sent His perfect Son to be the perfect example to us, we should see how Jesus demonstrated obedience. Did Jesus follow these 6 ways? Well, let’s have a look;
- He obeyed God. Jesus did nothing out of His own will, but only the will of His Heavenly Father, in order to fulfill Scripture.“I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of Him who sent me.” John 5:30
- He obeyed His parents. At the age of twelve, Jesus went to the temple and desired to continue His work there, but He obeyed His parents and grew in wisdom. “And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” Luke 2:51-52
- He obeyed His conscience. The ultimate example of obedience was for the God Son to humble Himself and dye on the cross for our sin. “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:8
- He obeyed His Elders. In dealing with ungodly elders, Jesus would often explain and obey the higher law of God’s own Word. “And a man was there with a withered hand. And they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—so that they might accuse him. He said to them, “Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other. But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.” Matthew 12:10-14
- He obeyed His rulers. Jesus said to Pilate,”Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.” John 19:11
- He Obeyed His employers. By being employed by His earthly father, in the family carpentry business, Jesus was sure to be obedient to His father. “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.” Mark 6:3
Oh, how great is our Jesus! He even goes and calls out the members of the body that must be controlled for obedience. Can you guess what they are? Can you guess the severity of the discipline that Jesus recommended?
Let’s take a look at Matthew 5:29-30:
“If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.”
Do you get it? For most people the right eye is the dominate eye, it is the one that initiates to point of focus. The other eye submits and adds perspective and depth. What we see effects our thoughts, attitudes, and actions. Losing the right eye would be devastating!
Now we focus our attention on the right hand, for most people, the right hand is dominate. It is the hand that initiates actions. We greet people with our right hand, soldiers salute with the right hand, a great many things are done with our right hand. The hand is the initiator of work, evil deeds, and good deeds. What does the Jesus say about this? “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,” Matthew 6:3
Just for our further understanding, we can go all they way back to the garden of Eden. The very first occurrence of disobedience in human history. It was an act initiated by the eye, then the hand.
Let’s look at Genesis 3:6:
“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.”
In this account, can see that the eye initiated the transgression, then the hand moved to carry it out. Among the consequence for this sin was the beginning of sorrow for the eye and the need of labor for the hand. Please take the time to read Genesis Chapter 3.
The Bible is so full of wisdom, and it is a great blessing to have Bibles in our own language to read and learn. I hope this little overview of what we studied in obedience will enrich your studies with your children. If you would like me to post more about our Obedience study let me know. I would love to share more. Otherwise, I will share a little about our current study on Gratefulness.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17