How can I obey God's word?
Let us read James 1:19-27
To a certain extent, obedience is a matter of reason and discipline. I rationally decide that I want to obey and act accordingly.
However, this obedience is limited. It will take me only as far as I can follow with my reason and with my effort. If it goes beyond my reason and abilities, I might follow unwillingly, with resistance that will lead me to anger, depression or frustration. And I will beginn to hate the one who is demanding my obedience.
God's word requests our obedience. It is not just any word – it is the word of the eternal God, our father and creator.
How can obey God, at anytime, in any circumstance?
Only if I trust in him, only if I love him. How can I trust and love God?
I need to know him – the more I know him, the more I will realize how much he loves me, how much he has always loved me, even before I knew him he had loved me immeasurably.
There are times when it seems easy to see his love for me, and to love him back accordingly, naturally. He is giving so much joy to me – how could I not love him, how could I not trust him and his word, how could I not try to follow him with all my life?
But there are also times when it is difficult to see, feel and be assured of his love. Things go wrong, I feel bad, people and situations are against me, different from what I wished and expected. Or I perceive God's word as oppressing me, asking me to do what I do not want, or what seems beyond my ability. I might feel criticized, threatened, condemned by God's word.
How can I love God in such situations, how can I accept his word as true and obey?
Only if I go one step beyond my reason, understanding and superficial perception – only if I trust that in such situations, it is the same God as in all other situations when it seems so easy and joyful to accept God's word.
God is always the same, he is always the one who has loved me, even before I was created and long before I knew him. He is always the one who gave his life on the cross for me.
When my thoughts and feelings suggest me something different – that God would be against me – then this is wrong. No matter how intense these feelings and thoughts appear to me, they are simply wrong. God does not change.
How can I accept and obey God's word in these situations?
By trusting God, that he is always the one who died for me on the cross, and that he never changes his heart towards me. When there is anything that seems to contradict this truth, then I need to learn and understand more. And God will surely lead me to through any situation to come to a deeper understanding of his love.
Situations can change in an instant. Even the darkest and unspeakable painful situation can be transformed to the brightest light of love and joy. The worst situation ever, the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, changed to the fullness of life in the resurrection.
Isn't God be able to change all situations of my daily life, and hasn't he done so many times already?
When I notice that I get angry, depressed or desparate facing a difficult situation – then I should not allow these feelings and notions of my mind to rule over me. Instead, I can remember that there is the God of love, my humble father who always loved me, and I can come before him with all my pain, questions, doubts and worries. Wouldn't he be willing to lead me out of the darkness once more?
How great is the joy when I have endured in the difficulty, when I have maintained the loving and thankful heart towards God, even though everything seemed to be against me.
Let us be thankful and full of trust towards our loving father, in any situation – knowing that he never changes, that he is always our humble creator who gave all for us, even his life on the cross, longing for us to live with him in joyful unity, eternally.