1 Jn. 2:6
He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
If my high school years can be summed up in one expression, I would have to say that I spent that time putting on a show. Whether it was for my parents, my peers, or my teachers, I was always trying to manipulate how people saw me. I did pretty well in school and thought it was important to make sure that I remained in good standing with the leadership there because that was the image which would help me. However, I also wanted to get away with doing some things that I should not have been doing. I did not necessarily have a heart for honoring the rules of that institution or respecting my leaders just because it was the honorable thing to do. I got away with a lot because I put on a good show for the right people at the right times. My obedience always came with an ulterior motive, and I was playing a part to see how I could benefit from it.
Obedience to God is something we must fulfill out of the right motives. It is easy to put on a good show before others who matter, but a show cannot deceive God. True obedience is about having a heart that desires what God desires. As that change happens in us, we should find ourselves being more obedient and less defiant to him. It might be difficult in the beginning of our walk to simply obey because it goes against our sinful nature. After a time, the expectation is that we desire less of sin and more of holiness, less of flesh and more of spirit. What we consider small steps in obedience today might have seemed like great challenges back then. The difference is our growth in obedience as our character has been changed more to the character of God’s. What was once forced and unnatural becomes our regular response.
The problem we often encounter with obedience is that we do not have the same goals as the person or power we are called to obey. One reason it took me so long to come to Christ is that I did not want some god or some church telling me how I was to live my life. That was a decision I considered to be solely mine. I did not have the same interest as God and the Church, so I did not agree with their rules. As I began to desire what God desires, and to support and come under the headship of the Church, then I wanted to live under that structure. It is a different process and a different timeline for all of us, but we should see the fruit of obedience growing in us as we grow closer to God and his image. Father, give us hearts that desire to see and accomplish what is on your heart, that obedience would become the natural way for us.