Have you ever been stuck in traffic at a red light, waiting impatiently for the light to change so that you can get to your destination and go on with your day? Do you ever wish that you could run the red light and get where you are going faster? What do you think would happen if you did? Maybe you could get away with it once, perhaps twice, but most likely you would get ticketed, or perhaps end up injured, dead, or put someone else in danger, all because you wanted to follow your own rules.
What is it in us that desires to rebel, to buck against the limits that we have been told not to cross? We see it even in babies, who crawl towards power outlets they have been told not to touch, or scream when they don’t get the candy they crave at the store. As we get older, we become more clever in masking our rebellion, but we still chafe inwardly at being told what to do, even while outwardly conforming. Most grievously, we rebel against God’s commands in His Word.
Like a loving father who tells his child not to touch the stove for fear he will get burned, so too has God laid out loving commands for us to follow, that we would have abundant life and not face the consequences of disobedience. These commands, like the tracks that keep the train from derailing, help us to stay on the path that leads to life, and not to death.
Proverbs 6:20-23 says,
My son, keep your father’s commandment,
and forsake not your mother’s teaching.
21 Bind them on your heart always;
tie them around your neck.
22 When you walk, they will lead you;
when you lie down, they will watch over you;
and when you awake, they will talk with you.
23 For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light,
and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life.
The commands of God are as important as life and death for us. Do we see them in this way? Do we cling to them as we would cling to a life raft that pulls us to shore?
How do we know that we love God and love others?
1 John 5:2 says,
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.
Obedience to God is not mysterious. He has not left us to try and search for how to obey Him. He has given us commands to follow. When we do not follow them, there are consequences, such as:
- destroyed relationships
- financial ruin
- destroyed reputation
- arrest/time in jail
- sickness (from poor lifestyle and eating habits)
- death (eternal separation from God)
On the other side, obedience to God by following His commands leads to:
- health (from good lifestyle choices)
- provision (by making biblical financial decisions)
- eternal security
- a clean conscience
- favor with God and man
- forgiveness from God
- a family of believers
I am not saying that obeying God will instantly make your life better. It will probably make it more difficult. But the fact of the matter is that God has wired us to function best when we are obeying Him. Walking in rebellion to Him will feel good in the moment, and perhaps even for a few years. But it will, guaranteed, lead to our destruction in the end. There is no other way around it.
I am also not saying that we are saved based on what we do. Our salvation is solely based on the work of Christ on our behalf, and we are saved by grace alone. Rather, our obedience is an evidence of our salvation (Eph 2:8, Gal 2:16). So if we are not desiring to read the Word, to pray, to have fellowship with the saints, we need to ask ourselves, do I really love God? Am I really His child? If the conclusion is no, then repent, turn from your sin, and place your faith in Christ for your salvation. If the answer is yes, then confess your sin of wandering from God, and come back to Him. Take advantages of the ‘train tracks’ of grace that He has given to you to help you not to wander. And let us say with the Psalmist,
If your law had not been my delight,
I would have perished in my affliction.
I will never forget your precepts,
for by them you have given me life.
Psalm 119:92-93, ESV