This last week I have had to do several things out of obedience to God, several things that challenged every emotion, every stubborn bone in my body. Obedience to God is probably the most difficult because, although we can trust in God’s goodness and trust that he has our best interest in mind, obedience threatens our comfort.
For me, one of the hardest things to obey is God’s command to confront certain situations. I have always struggled with assertiveness and setting healthy boundaries for fear that I will be perceived as mean or rude. In recent years I have tried flexing my assertive muscle more and more in order to prevent being taken advantage of. This applies to both personal and work issues. Surprisingly I find work confrontation much easier than personal because I have a supportive and understanding boss and because I attach more importance to those with whom I choose to spend quality time. It’s scary to think that I might offend my friend to the point that they may not want to be my friend anymore whereas my coworkers will have to get over it and move on in order to function in the workplace.
My point is, it’s not easy to obey, and it can even be lonely to obey when we live in a society that doesn’t value obedience much. We largely live in a society that values individuality, freedom, and self-expression, doing what makes you feel good, over obedience. So to make the decision to not live with your partner before marriage can seem prudish to those that don’t share the same values, even among Christians who have adopted more “modern” thinking.
God has revealed to me the rewards of my obedience even in the midst of pain, discomfort, and even heartbreak. He binds our broken hearts and shows favor to the obedient. Many kings of the Old Testament suffered the cost of their disobedience, even kings who obeyed early on. See, God forgives our disobedience, but most often He lets us suffer the natural consequences of our disobedience.
For instance, I have been plagued with stress due to lack of assertive communication and healthy boundaries with a coworker. Yes, my coworker holds some responsibility, but I hold the bulk of the responsibility for how I am feeling. God let me suffer the consequences of not standing up for myself, of not obeying Him when he reminded me during my morning prayer that He prepared certain deeds for me and certain deeds for others. He never intended me to carry extra burden because I think I can do it all by myself. He revealed that part of my fear of confronting my coworker was fear that I would not look like a super hero. It challenged my pride. I was also shying away from confrontation because I didn’t want to look mean or lazy. My parents taught me to be kind and productive. I don’t like to disappoint.
Many times God allows criminals to suffer jail time, drug addicts to suffer damage to their bodies and minds. If he rescued us from every consequence of our actions, why would we ever turn from our disobedience? If you start out obeying and continue being obedient, you can skip those nasty consequences and live with a clear conscience.
Where are you struggling to be obedient? Let’s pray for each other in the comments section of my blog.