New Year, New Hope

Devotional

Obedience

God is God. Because He is God, He is worthy of my trust and obedience. I will find rest nowhere but in His holy will that is unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what He is up to. — Elisabeth Elliot

The phrase “live like Jesus” is something we as believers often hear but do we really understand what it means? Are we really living a life that radiates Christ? And are we truly abandoning our fleshly desires to pick up the cross that changed the destiny of all humanity?

When I was younger, I once heard a pastor say, “Partial obedience is disobedience.” And while everyone around me began to get up from their chairs, clapping and saying, “Amen!” I quietly sat in my seat. The phrase smacked me across the face and pierced me to the core. It is so true. We cannot go about our lives half-heartedly walking with God in hopes that He will give us a full-heart transformation. It just doesn’t work.

If we are truly living like Jesus, then why are we still sinning? The depth behind the phrase “live like Jesus” is immeasurable. And although this is a great starting point for our relationship with Him, truly understanding its meaning is more beneficial than aimlessly trying to accomplish its task. 

Rather than trying to run through a superficial checklist of good deeds and acts of kindness, what if we spent time learning from Jesus about what perfect love and kindness look like? What if we tried to imbue every thought, every word, every action with the love and kindness of Jesus? 

Instead of trying to accomplish good works like they are extracurricular activities for a college application, we should try to live lives that God’s grace can flow through. This is possible when we obey.

The reality is, God never intended for us to remain the same; He intended for us to remain obedient. For in remaining obedient, we will not remain the same. In our obedience, we open ourselves up to being totally and radically changed by Jesus.

Jesus wants us to find our divine purpose of living like Him. By practicing obedience, we create space in our lives for Jesus to do His work. In time, I think you’ll find that a life of obedience will have a lot more purpose and a lot less confusion. When we learn to be obedient, only then can we truly find freedom. 

In other words, by becoming obedient to God, we free ourselves up to experience the amazing things He has in store for us. Total obedience makes us ready for a truly fulfilling life.

Challenge:

Obedience is a difficult thing to measure. We can easily become prideful in our obedience or despondent at our inability to fulfill God's instruction. Take some time to think about Jesus' perfect obedience in our place, and ask God to help you obey Him with a heart full of love and gratitude for Jesus' sacrifice.