Tag Archives: obedience

Obey Your Husband

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The other day, my mother-in-law tried to give me a new cat. After consulting with my husband, it was clear that he felt an extra animal was just too much to take on right now. When I broke the news to her, she replied that it didn’t matter if Nick said no. I should just bring it home anyway- lol. My response was that we are instructed in the bible to obey our husbands:

Ephesians 5:22-24

“Wives, obey your husbands as you obey the Lord.The husband is the head of the wife, just as Christ is the head of the church people. The church is his body and he saved it.Wives should obey their husbands in everything, just as the church people obey Christ.”

A lot of people take this quote and say that it is “backwards” or “outdated”. If I read this quote only, I might be inclined to agree. However, further in the text it states:

Ephesians 5:25-33: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, …

So while the bible does instruct us to obey our husbands, it also states that a husband should love his wife as equally as his own body, so that any decision he makes would have her best interest at heart. Most decisions in a relationship are joint decisions, but inevitably there will be times when husband and wife cannot agree. In those times, I listen to this text and respect my husband’s decisions as much as I would my own. Interested to hear what everyone else’s thoughts/interpretations of this text are?

 

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A Quote by C.S. Lewis

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C.S. Lewis

“[E]very time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different than it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing into a heavenly creature or a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy and peace and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state of the other.”

C.S. Lewis

 

Sin Has Consequences

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“What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of?….For the wages of sin is death…”Romans 6:21-23

As you can see, I’m still pondering January’s theme. Beth Ann’s post about abortion made me think of this verse.  Not just because abortion kills babies, but also because as Beth Ann said, a piece of her died also.  When we disobey God, we harm others, and we also harm ourselves.  Sin may look pretty, or easy, or feel good for the moment, but it has consequences that are not good for anyone. We’ve all experienced this.

Guess what else I notice in this verse.  We earn the consequences of our sin.  It is the wage we receive for the things we do. It’s not foisted upon us; it doesn’t just happen–we work at it!  In case you have any thought like, “I haven’t done anything too awful, so this doesn’t apply to me” listen to this:

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

Not some of us, or most of us, but ALL of us are sinners.

Fortunately, I haven’t given you the full story.  Here’s how Romans 6:23 ends:

“…but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

And Romans 3:23:

“…and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

God gave us a way out of our sin.  We don’t earn this;  it is a free gift.  We don’t choose our salvation, but we can choose how we live in view of it.

“…I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.  Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.”  Deuteronomy 30:19

Choose obedience.  Choose life.

 

 

 

Tools of the Trade

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Image result for images of the armor of godWhen it comes to obedience, Satan is our enemy.  His wiles were behind the very first instance of disobedience in the garden, and he continues to lead us astray today.  However God has given us tools to resist the devil.  In Chapter 6 of Ephesians, the apostle Paul describes these tools and calls them “the armor of God.” (Ephesians 6:13-17)

When and how do we receive this armor?  I believe it comes with our baptism.  This is the day God claims us as His own, the day that we “put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 13:14)  Only in Him do we become righteous and capable of true obedience.

Here’s what the Lutheran Catechism says about baptism:

“It (baptism) signifies that the old Adam in us, together will all sins and evil lusts, should be drowned by daily sorrow and repentance and be put to death;  and that the new man should daily come forth and rise, to live before God in righteousness and holiness forever.”

This is based upon Romans 6: 4

“We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised form the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”

So here’s the question Paul poses:

“How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:2)

You and I are new creations.  God gave us righteousness through Christ.  We have the armor of God.  Remembering this can help us to be obedient.

 

 

 

A Prayer of Personal Dedication (Obedience)

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This prayer is from the Via de Cristo Pilgrim’s Guide, so some of you will recognize it.

Lord of my life, I know that my life is not my own.  By your death and resurrection you made me your own.  Help me to live under your direction, always ready to hear the call, “Follow Me;”  always aware of your presence;  always knowing that I have received the gift of your Spirit;  always living so that others may receive your love and mercy through me.

It is not easy to ask for these things, Lord because I know I have much to give up.  I can no longer pretend that my life is my own.  My prayer is my surrender to your care and direction.  I want to follow, Lord, but it is very hard.  I will get very tired.  I will make selfish mistakes.  I will fail time and again.  I will fall.

Show me again that there is love and mercy in your hand.  Use me in spite of my reluctance, doubt and disobedience.  Pour into me your good Spirit, so that I am not afraid to follow and fall and follow again.  Amen

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Keeping it Simple

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“With what shall I come before the Lord and bow myself before God on high?  Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?

Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil?

Shall I give my firstborn for my transgressions, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

He has told you, O man, what is good;  and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Micah 6:1-8

We tend to make things complicated that should be simple.  The Jews had over 600 rules to explain exactly how to follow God’s commandments.  I’m no different.  When I take on a task, I like to pin down the exact expectations, so I can be sure to measure up.  God doesn’t seem to work that way.  He made each of us unique and special. He knows our talents and gifts, our weaknesses and flaws.  Remember Beth Ann’s post about the talents?  Each servant was commended for using what they had been given, but they didn’t end up with identical results.  The only servant who was denounced, was so fearful, he didn’t do anything with the gift he was given.

So, in the verses above, God’s prophet Micah tells the people, there isn’t a certain number, or a specific type of sacrifice you need to make.  You just need to be fair and kind to others.  Spend time with me, have a humble attitude, and you will learn what you need to know and your efforts will please God.  He is, after all, your Father, who wants love and respect, not blind obedience.

Jesus tried to keep it simple, too.  In the book of Matthew when the Pharisees question him about the requirements of the law he answers:

“…’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and will all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment.  And …You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments, depend all the Law and the Prophets.”  Matthew 22:37-39

So, if I love God, my heart will be in the right place, and I’ll want to obey.  It’s won’t be a task to be completed perfectly.  It will be a natural consequence of who I am.  I guess the lesson for me here is, spend more time with God, getting to know Him, experiencing His presence, studying His Word, and my obedience, though imperfect, will please Him.  I don’t need to worry about the details.

 

Setting Limits

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Martin Luther: “On Secular Authority: How Far Does the Obedience Owed to it Extend?”

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Martin Luther

January 1, 1523

So, if a prince or a secular lord commands you to adhere to the papacy, to believe this or that, or to surrender books, then your answer should be: it is not fitting for Lucifer to sit next to God. My good Lord, I owe you obedience with my life and goods. Command me what lie within the limits of your authority, and I will obey. But if you command me to believe, or to surrender my books, I will not obey. For then you [will have] become a tyrant and overreach[ed] yourself, commanding where you have neither right or power. If he then takes away your goods and punishes you for your disobedience, then blessed are you, and you should thank God for counting you worthy to suffer for the sake of his Word. […] But I say to you: if you do not resist him and let him take away your faith or your books, then you will truly have denied God.

God’s Servant

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“And Mary said, “Behold I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38

We’ve just started a study of the book of Luke in our weekly Bible study, and right away we have one of the best examples of obedience in the Scripture.  The verse above is Mary’s response to the angel Gabriel’s announcement(it’s called the annunciation) that she will have a very special infant.  The conception will come about through the action of God’s Holy Spirit, without a human father….but wait, that’s a problem!  Mary is a young, unmarried woman.  What will the neighbors think?  Even worse, what will her parents and her fiancé think?  She’ll be disgraced and that special child branded as illegitimate. She might even be stoned.  How can this be good?

If Mary thought any of these things, it seems to have been for a very fleeting moment, because almost instantly she responds by saying she is God’s servant (some versions say handmaiden) and she will do whatever He commands. I wonder how many of us would be so accepting.  I’m pretty sure I’d be begging God to find some other way to accomplish His purpose.  Some way that didn’t cause me difficulty and humiliation.

Thankfully Mary did not try to take the easy way out.  She trusted God and His plan for her and for everybody else.  Remember in one of my previous posts I talked about how what is for our immediate good is not always for our ultimate good?  Here’s a perfect example.

I need to keep this in mind when things are happening that I don’t understand or don’t like.  God’s ways are not mine.  He has a plan.  I am His servant, just like Mary.

Walking in Obedience

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I am posting this for Becky, a Lutheran lady from St. Paul’s who does not use the computer, but likes to write.  She is one of our adult Sunday School teachers.  I hope you enjoy her thoughts on this month’s topic, obedience.

A Christian is called to obedience and discipleship.  God is to be loved and listened to and obeyed.

“The Lord our God is one Lord and you shall love Him with all your heart and soul and might” Deuteronomy 6:4 (the law of love)

Be exclusively devoted to God and learn His commandments and obey them.  Our entire being must be totally committed and obedient–our total being with love–our absolute devotion to God with all we have.  We need to seek the truth.  His word is truth and needs to be known and obeyed.  When we worship, we come together before a loving God to honor Him for His greatness and focus on listening to hear His Holy Word.  We have to be exposed to the Word and open our hearts to transformation through faith and obedience.  Willing obedience is the response of gratitude for the gift of eternal life.

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”  John 14:15

We respond to God’s promises and commands out of love and gratitude and devotion to Him.  In lifting our hearts to God and being instructed by Him, we express our love for Him.  God commands us to be consistent in our Christian conduct.  What we profess must be revealed in our actions.  Where words and deeds are in harmony, faith and works go hand in hand.

With the perfect obedience of Jesus, we, through faith and love can now in Christ obey God and be saved(Romans 5:19).  Christ’s obedience teaches us obedience through believing in His saving work.  We join with Him and receive the promise of eternal salvation.

“Who in the days of His flesh, Jesus learned obedience through what he suffered.”  Hebrews 5:8

Doing good to others is part of our commitment to God.

“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey His commandments.”  1 John 5:2

Our walk of obedience to God gives us a heart guided and nurtured by the Holy Spirit in all areas of our lives to grow in our love for Jesus.  May we each offer ourselves to God in trust and obedience.

 

 

 

Come and See

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“Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, ‘What are you seeking?’ And they said to him, ‘Rabbi’ (which means teacher), ‘where are you staying?’  He said to them, ‘Come and you will see.’  So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.  One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.  He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah (which means Christ).  He brought him to Jesus.  Jesus looked at him and said, ‘So you are Simon, the son of John?  You shall be called Cephas (which means Peter).”  John 1:38-42

This is a continuation of my last post.  Notice that Jesus doesn’t give them details about where they are going, he just says “Come with me and see.”  They learn from him, and immediately Andrew tells somebody else about Jesus — his brother Simon, who becomes Peter, the rock of the church.

Obedience has results.  Immediate results(they got to know Jesus) and long term results(they introduced Peter, who played a significant role in God’s plan).  I can certainly see the same kind of results in my own life.  I’m a very shy person, but following Jesus has led me to do things I would never have been able to without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.  I teach adult Sunday School, I’ve lead retreats and workshops, I am even able to put some details of my personal life and struggles out there for others in this blog!  I’ve been able to use my gifts for God, and I think I’ve encouraged others to do the same.  I’ve been blessed and I hope those around me have been blessed by my obedience, even though it has often been slow and grudging.  Maybe one day, when I die and am judged, I’ll see the really long term results of my obedience and also my disobedience.  I’m sure I’ll be amazed at what obedience has done, and dismayed to see what those times of disobedience led to.

What about you?  Have you been willing to “come and see”?  Are you just beginning the journey?  Or have you been on the road for years?  Bloggers, please write, and readers please comment.  I want to hear your story.