When Obedience is Hard

When Obedience is Hard

It has been said, “following the course of least resistance makes men, as well as rivers, crooked.” No doubt, always doing the easy thing is a dangerous way to live, because obeying God sometimes requires doing things that are not easy. In Hebrews 5:8, it is said of our Lord, “though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.” Therefore, the test of true faith is whether we obey when it is hard.

It is hard to obey when I am not “in the mood.” If we decline to do the right thing when we simply don’t feel like it, what kind of commitment to God does that reflect? That is not commitment at all! We need to decide to be “be ready in season, out of season” (2 Tim. 4:2). We need to remember and live Mark 12:30, because not being in the mood to obey God is a lack of love for Him (John 14:15).

It is hard to obey when it is not “convenient.” Felix is the classic example of one who postponed doing the right thing until “a convenient time” (Acts 2:24-25). If we think we can delay obedience until it becomes easier, we usually find that it only becomes harder (Matt. 19:21-22). Additionally, if we are not careful, we may show that our schedules, routines, and habits are more important to us than the Lord’s will (Matt. 6:33). It is possible to be so possessed by our daily routine that the Lord has to “make an appointment” if He needs us for anything! Going to Bible class and worship is not always convenient; home Bible study is not always convenient; Defending the truth will not always be convenient. Yes, obedience to the commands of God is not always convenient.

It is hard to obey when we do not understand why God has required something. Noah, “being divinely warned of things not yet seen…,” spent approximately 100 years preparing the ark (Heb. 11:7; Gen. 6:13-22). Abraham, “when was called to go… went out, not knowing where he was going” (Heb. 11:8; Gen. 12:1-4). It is hard to obey when we do not understand, but people of true faith have always trusted God enough to obey (Heb. 11).

In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Paul said, to be consistently obedient, he had to discipline himself daily. Jesus is the ultimate example of consistent subjection (Matt. 26:39), even when obedience was hard. Therefore, may nothing stand in our way of being obedient to Him.

-John Garza