Relationships involve giving and receiving. Some have a healthy balance of reciprocity while others don’t. However, regardless of the type of relationship we have, all relationships come with rules. Take honesty as an example. Most personal and work relationships require a measure of honesty if they are to survive the test of time. Rules are boundaries that each person is required to stay within if the relationship is to flourish. For example, if a man wants to date a lady, the rules might be 1) pick her up on time, 2) be respectful of her “people,” and perhaps, 3) don’t call after 9:30 p.m. In this scenario, obeying the rules is a critical factor if he desires a second date.
God requires obedience from His children as well (Rom. 16:26). He desires a relationship with us, but He will not force His will on us.[i] He wants us to trust Him, and because of our love for Him, to be motivated to obey Him. By the shedding of His Son’s blood, God sets each of us apart to be obedient to Jesus (1 Pet. 1:2), just as Jesus was obedient unto the cross (Phil. 2:8). Our obedience pleases God (Col. 3:20), and when we are obedient to Him, He favors us and blesses us (Exod. 19:5).
God set boundaries for us when He gave Moses the Ten Commandments. The “Big Ten” are the rules He commands us to live our lives by.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is similar, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
If we love God, we will be obedient to Him. Following the previous scripture, we can then say that, “There is no true obedience to God without love of neighbor.”[ii]
Because you live in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart. (1 Pet. 1:22)
Obedience to the Father is our guiding light in loving others. In other words, as we love God, His commandments are walked out in our lives.
As I love God, I seek a deeper and more intimate relationship with Him. Through the process of seeking His face, I’ve come to hear Him more clearly and to trust Him more fully. I long to please Him. I cannot say this has been a purely pleasurable trip. There have been tears shed and heart-wrenching decisions made at His urging. Sometimes, the tears have been the result of a walk through the valley of my fears. Other tears have been shed because He has so richly blessed me, once again causing me to be amazed by His lovingkindness, grace, and mercy toward me. He has shown me, in more ways than I can say, that He is there and has it all under control. I’ve had to remind myself countless times that, before anything comes to me, whether good or bad, it passed through the throne room of God. Nothing gets past my Savior and Provider. In those times, He becomes my Comforter as we walk it out together in my life.
Walking in obedience to God, regardless of the difficulty, teaches us how to love others, lead others, and accept His love for us. The walk of obedience, hand in hand with our Abba Father, also reduces the number of miles on our desert journey and keeps the sand out of our shoes.
[i] Kodell, J., 2013