I started a Bible reading plan last June, and I’m currently in the Old Testament. The theme that I keep getting out of my daily reading is “obedience”:
“Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants.” Exodus 12:24 (NIV)
“Follow my decrees and be careful to obey my laws, and you will live safely in the land.” Leviticus 25:18 (NIV)
“It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands, and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.” Deuteronomy 13:3 (NIV)
The words “obey”, “obedient” and “obedience” are in the Bible 257 times. Whenever people hear these words, they usually think negatively of “being told what to do”.
I was a very rebellious teen because my father was extremely controlling and abusive. I left home shortly after I turned 18 and later joined the Air Force at age 19.
Upon finding out about my military service, most people will say to me, “Oh, I could never have been in the military.” When I ask them why, they usually tell me it’s because of “the rules”. We humans sure don’t enjoy being told what to do, do we?
The reason there’s basic training for all branches of the military is not just to physically train new recruits, but it’s also to teach them discipline — to get accustomed to rules and regulations. The difference between a good service member and a bad service member is that a good one follows the commands of his/her superiors — this is especially necessary in times of conflict, when there’s little very time to react.
I adjusted extremely well to life in the military. And how could someone like me do so well in such a restrictive lifestyle when I had a cruel, domineering earthly father? One word — RESPECT. I respected my superiors because they respected me. Some synonyms for respect are: admiration, reverence, value, and high opinion.
My Heavenly Father values me — He loves me and thinks I am of worth — and I KNOW this is true because He sent His Son to die for my sins! In return, I am obedient to Him because I love Him! Reading Scripture helps me to understand that being obedient to God not only blesses me because it’s for my own good, but it’s also my act of worship:
I am being obedient by eating healthier and exercising so I can improve this earthly body God has loaned me. In chapter 7 of Made to Crave, Lysa TerKeurst writes, “Define your week by obedience, not by a number on the scale.” I am doing this and have had a great week so far. How about you?