In the beginning, the very beginning, God was there. He was God, and He alone was.
And then He made creation, and suddenly, from His very breath, there was more. Everything He made was good, and perfect, and praised Him by existing in obedience to His perfect and pleasing will. And then He made us, in His eternal image, and we existed within the bounds of our purpose, and we were good… and then we weren’t.
The waves of the ocean go exactly the distance God tells them. The wind is guided by His will. Every earth and sea animal perform to the precise purpose He created them to. So why don’t we?
Why is it so hard for us to obey?
Genesis 1:27 says that God created humans in His image. Above all of His other creations, He gave us an eternal soul, something that could outlast the temporary things of earth and spend forever living out its purpose of glorifying its Creator. If nothing else, we are chosen to do that — glorify God by obeying Him.
Our greatest purpose, the thing we were created to do, is to follow God in obedience, which is our living praise to Him. We will not be called to do anything for God before we are called to obey God.
Before God planted ministry-directed seeds in my spirit, He uprooted my rebellion and cultivated in me a heart of obedience. Like Abraham and Moses, I questioned, and even resisted, God before I completely followed Him. However, I am reminded daily of the fruit of obedience and that when we follow God in wholehearted obedience, He unfolds the purpose-full redemption story He’s written individually for each of us.
God doesn’t want our obedience because He needs it. In truth, God needs nothing from us. He wants our obedience because He knows that when we obey Him, when we follow His perfect plan for our lives, we become more like His Son, Jesus.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:8)
God’s ultimate desire is not for us to give up everything we love and live a boring life of mindless submission to Him. Not at all. On the contrary, God’s desire for us is to live lives intentionally obedient to His will. God’s desire is for us to live like Christ and be maximally effective in spreading His truth to the world around us.
We are never more like Christ than when we obey the Word of God. God knew we would struggle. Against His will, He knew our flesh would fail. He gave us the written Word and His Spirit to guide us — and regardless of anything we would do, He gave us the life of His only Son as prepayment-in-full of our sin.
Like me, you may have abused this gift of grace. But no matter how much abuse we hash out, we will never wear out our welcome with the Father. Jesus faced the abuse we deserved so that we would always feel welcomed to the throne of grace.
With Jesus as our example we know we can always overcome our sin-ridden flesh to obey the Lord. Philippians 2:8 says that in obedience to God Jesus laid down His life for us. Though not many of us will have the opportunity to sacrifice so much in obedience to God, sometimes obedience will require sacrifice. Sometimes obedience requires taking on things you never anticipated accepting the responsibility of. Sometimes obedience requires following God by faith, even when you cannot see the things He is calling you to. But no matter what obedience requires of us, it will always return more.
In Exodus 20:6, God says, “But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.” What a great promise from the One who is faithful to His promises!
We do not obey God out of force or coercion, but from the abundance of what He has already done for us, and more importantly, for Who He is. The more He reveals Himself to us, the more we should want every single thing He has for us. We cannot halfheartedly nibble at this table of abundant grace He’s given us! We need to eat as much as we can, and then share with every person we encounter.
What gets you excited? Read along with us for the next few weeks as we explore purpose and passion.
Elle was raised in Mobile, Alabama, where she met and married her husband, Hayden. Since becoming a full-time mom to their little boy, Ethan, God has grown in her a burden for women, especially moms. Elle loves using her spiritual gifts to encourage other women, particularly in a spiritual setting.