VIDEO: FAITH: Obedience without expectation of benefits
My wife and I continue to thoroughly enjoy the journey of raising children. It truly is the joy of our lives, but it also commands the best of ourselves in maneuvering the challenge of guiding a child on the path of following the Lord and becoming contributing adult. One of the facets of rearing kids we have found is discovering what motivates a child, especially early on in life. The motivating factors in a young person’s life are often the toolbox by which parents and other influential adults use to set the course for maturing behavior and defining of success. Lately though, I have been exploring what motivates my life, especially when it comes to being obedient to God.
A Google search of the number of times obey or obedience appear in the Bible tells us the value of the concept in God’s Word. Varying translations of the Bible mention the word ‘obey’ in varying numbers. In the NIV version of the Bible, the word ‘obey’ is mentioned 223 times, while the King James version mentions it 114 times. Here are some of my favorite and passages which speak to keeping the commandments of God and obedience for obedience’s sake.
“Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.” Exodus 19:5-6
“And Samuel said, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15:22
“But this command I gave them: ‘Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.” Jeremiah 7:23
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15
“But Peter and the apostles answered, ‘We must obey God rather than men.’” Acts 5:29
“Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?” Romans 6:16
“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance,” 1 Peter 1:14
“Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.” 1 John 3:24
“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” 1 John 5:3
The reason I bring this up is for all of us to consider the motivation of our behavior and obedience to God. Throughout the history of the church there has been an attempt by believers to “behave” or “obey” in such a way to please God so He will be nice to us, bless us, and give us what we want. I’m sure many of you like me have tried to negotiate with the Lord based on promises to do certain things or change my ways and eliminate sin.
Obedience to God so He will do something nice for me is not the motivation by which the Lord desires faithfulness to commands. The Lord desires a transformed heart which obeys God because He is God and because we love him. The fact is this, the benefit of obedience is the way obedience transforms or mind, heart, and behavior as we are faithful through the victory of the Cross and the power of the Holy Spirit.
The heart of an authentic Christian is one which is obedient to God without the expectation of benefits or blessings! You are Valued and Love, Pastor B
Rev. Brad McKenzie is Lead Pastor at Orange First Church of the Nazarene, 3810 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Orange.