Summary: To focus on the paramount importance of obedience in a Christian's life...the kind of obedience which was conspicuous by its presence in the lives of all the three members of the Holy Family of CHRISTMAS!!!
FESTIVAL OF OBEDIENCE
If you love me, keep my commands….John 14:15
If the rest of humanity owes it (love-laced obedience) to the Creator for its “formation”, we Christians owe it to Him for not only our “formation” but also for our “re-formation”. The human race says Apostle Paul “lives and moves and has its being in Him” (Acts 17:28). Had he not created Adam and Eve in the first place, there would be no mankind now, as it were, on the face of Earth. By the same token, had He not “re-created” us in Christ the moment we trusted His redemption plan (John 1:12/Romans 10:8-10), the word “Christian” (Acts 11:26) would not have seen the light of the day. So in all fairness, for the humanity in general which owes its very existence to the Almighty and for Christians’ in particular who owe their Creator and Redeemer two lives (physical and spiritual), there ought to be none more dear to their hearts than the Most High One (Psa 91:1) and His statutes.
Love for God can be exhibited only by heeding to His instructions (1 Sam 15:22, 2 John 1:6). At this stage, honesty compels me to admit that I could not have walked with my Saviour and Sustainer for more than three decades now but for His infinite grace and mercy shown in forgiving me so many times whenever I have sinned, and subsequently sincerely repented. That’s why a wise Christian put it this way “Christian life begins with repentance and is sustained by repentance”. Oh yes, chastisement sometimes received by me was painful but viewed in hindsight it did me a lot of good spiritually (Psa 119:71-72/John 15:2b TLB), making me fall in deeper love with my meticulous “Trainer”. That is why Christian life can also be described as “falling in love with the Almighty again and again”. Nonetheless while weaving some indelible truths around the Christmas story this time around, I intend to encourage love-laced obedience to our Heavenly Father to the best extent possible (2 Peter 3:14-TLB) by initially projecting how really beautiful and how really ugly obedience and disobedience appear respectively in the Father’s sight.
Just as love-inspired obedience pleases the Lord (Jer 2:2), hard-hearted disobedience grievously wounds His heart (Jer 14:17) for disobedience seen in its true light is nothing but hatred for the Creator. Quite often, we out of improper understanding, presume that sinning leads to hard-heartedness whereas in fact it is just the opposite.
Hard-heartedness breeds sin with ramifications all around. When there is hatred for the Creator, can the hatred for His people around you (His Creation) also be far behind? For instance adultery (disobeying His Command) taken to its logical conclusion is not only a hard-hearted disposition towards the Almighty (Matt 19:8) but also an act of outright hatred (nothing more, nothing less and nothing else) towards a spouse leading to painful consequences.
For better understanding, let’s take two tragic events of disobedience of far-reaching effects in the Scriptures which also incidentally bring to the fore the fact that sin can be of two types…Sin of commission (doing what our Creator doesn’t want us to do) and the other Sin of omission (not doing what He wants us to do).
While the crafty tempter did his part (Gen 3:1-7), what exactly could have transpired inside Adam’s heart before he sank his teeth into the forbidden? Undoubtedly love for eating the fruit far outweighed his love for His Creator, so much so the latter resembled hatred, relatively speaking that is (Luke 14:26) even as he went ahead with a flagrant act of disobedience. Speaking about the attributes of love amongst others’, the Living Bible sums it up in 1 Cor 13:7 wondrously thus:
If you love someone, you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him.
Hmmm…loyalty…taking the Lord at His Word…expecting the best from Him …espousing His cause…in the wake of a temptation…well… were not all these conspicuous by their absence when the forbidden fruit became “God” in Adam’s eyes’ in that dark, poignant moment in human history? No wonder with his love for His Creator and wife at an all-time low, he was not only afraid to see the Almighty face to face (I John 4:18) subsequently, but he also practically disowned his wife (when confronted by the Lord) with the cold, disdainful words…listen especially to the tone behind those words…”The woman you put here with me…”.That’s hard-heartedness with capital “H” for you. Imagine the effect on Eve, when these words left Adam’s mouth…had not the very first husband sung paeans about his wife not so long ago in the days of happy obedience (Gen 2:23)? Doubtless Eve’s heart condition also would have been no better or worse. Dear Friends, I hope you are able to see disobedience for what it is. What havoc it creates in relationships!!!