Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The Freedom and Joy of Obedience

One staff member at our  church teases me a lot about my distaste for the word “obedience".” My perfectionistic side has long found that the concept of obedience brings up all sorts of “earning God’s love” theology in me, and I run from that. It’s not that I don’t want/need to obey, it’s that I have been in a season where grace was my primary lense of relating to God, because I had obeyed for so long out of fear.

Recently I was offered some tickets to see the UNC-Clemson game at the Dean Dome, and I had the chance to go with two of my favorite people in the world. Parking pass. Row-N. Lower level. Pregame meal in the Bowles Room.

The problem was I had a board meeting that night for Housing Greensboro, a non-profit which provides major and minor home repairs for low-income families. Having missed our November meeting and not meeting again until March, if I missed this meeting in January it would have put me out 6 months from attending a board meeting.

I knew that the right thing, the obedient thing, the God-honoring thing, was to stay and honor my commitment to the board. But there are few things I love more than lower level seats in the Dean Dome, and so the internal war was on. I tried every way that I could to justify going to the game. And all the while I knew that having to work so hard to justify my decision was simply pointing to the fact that something was amiss.

So I decided to stay, and not with a glad heart, I might add. But the morning of the meeting (and the game), I woke up with peace. I knew that I was honoring God, and there was deep joy in that knowledge. When I went to the board meeting, I went freely, not out of compulsion, and I found a renewed excitement about our mission. God was giving me joy and life, the very things I thought I was giving up by not going to the game.

God showed me the importance of obedience out of love for Him, and that the fruit of obedience is wholeness, life, and peace. I had to remind my flesh and my will that there are more important things in life than basketball and that my allegiance is to God first. Bringing my life and my will into alignment with God’s, which seemed like a constricting thing, actually brought great freedom. The freedom of obedience.

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