Do You Struggle With Obedience?

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229- ObedienceDo you struggle with being obedient to Christ in your walk with Him? If you do, maybe it’s because you don’t truly understand what it means to be obedient. It’s something we all struggle with that holds us back from allowing the Holy Spirit to cleanse our heart and renew a right spirit in us (Ps 51:10). 

How true it is that we struggle with “keeping the law” when we don’t have to… are told that we are not to. It’s like we vicariously try to keep it by our “works” when that has forever taken care of by…

Rom 5:19… the obedience of one.

Jesus allowed John to baptize Him when He was sinless. Why, when John’s baptism was one of repentance? We fail to understand that Jesus’ baptism was of a different kind than all those John administered to others. His baptism was to fulfill the ceremonial law. He was “washed” with pure water as were the pieces of the ceremonial lamb. His baptism was to prove that He was, in fact, a spotless lamb (the spotless lamb of God) who was eligible to die. While He was superior to the Law He was made under the law for us.

So when we read in Romans that by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous,  we need to remember that Jesus was being obedient in His submission to death on the Cross. That was His true obedience… His death brought us His righteousness. As W.R. Newell wrote, “Jesus went to the Cross and suffered the penalty of death for man’s guilt so that the result is an active righteousness’, reckoned to man; that is, Christ’s keeping the Law in man’s place; and second, a ‘passive righteousness,’ which consists of putting away of all guilt by the blood of Christ.”

Perhaps the reason we struggle with “obedience” is because we don’t fully grasp the truth of what His death means. We allow the enemy to blind us to the fact that as the bride of Christ, “we” died on the Cross with Him… We Died. Unless we are able to believe in our heart that we died with Him, that our old man died on that Cross, and that we were buried with Him, and that we rose from the grave with Him, we will never get free from the thoughts of a “guilty conscience,” and the results of that guilty conscience… works of obedience.

Our death on the Cross has set us free from not only our sins but the guilt that accompanies them. We are free to allow the Holy Spirit to cleanse our heart and renew a right spirit in us. To grow in Christ, to become spiritually mature in Him, to become all that He created us to be. But as long as we fail to understand that obedience has been replaced by grace, we will continue to bring our “goodness” into the equation. And that is hanging onto what Christ has taken from us… the filthy rags of our own righteousness (Isa 64:6).

Do you struggle with obedience? Perhaps you need to let the Word of God remind you that the law has dominion over man only as long as he “lives.” (Rom 7:1). As His bride you no longer live, you are dead, and therefore you no are no longer under the claims of the law on your conscience that result in your struggle with works of obedience. The work has been done. That was taken care of when you went to the Cross with Jesus. The only obedience we’re concerned with it obedience to the work of the Holy Spirit as He draws us closer to our bridegroom, as He works in us every day to bring us to spiritual maturity. But that won’t happen as long as we ignore the fact that we died on that Cross.

Every religion in the world involves “doing something” for its god. The heart of the Gospel is that we can do nothing for God because He did it all for us on the Cross. We can’t allow the enemy to use the longing in our heart to be holy and exhibit His righteousness in our daily lives to drive us into “obedient works.” We need to remember that His holiness has been applied to us by grace … by the obedience of one.


4 Responses to “Do You Struggle With Obedience?”

  1. Ryan March 20, 2019 at 11:39 am #

    I really enjoyed reading this. I could feel the grace of God throughout it but I’m not out of the woods (wilderness) yet. I’m struggling to give up my addictions, my vices. I’m probably only looking to myself to achieve this. I was sober for 10 months. Almost the longest I’ve gone in 20 years. Do you know what that’s like? I had horrible withdrawls and suffered with anger. I mean I was never really feeling present and all I wanted was to be at peace, chill out and try to enjoy my life. One night I had a moral failure and “fell” as it might be referred to. Now I’m in it again. Last night I realized that really feel good when I’m stoned. Sometimes I even feel my mental health is better. I was suffering with suicidal thoughts yesterday afternoon. I listened to a sermon about hard times and how it’s good for us and there were some words on seeds. I felt like the sermon barely reached me. Do you know what that’s like as someone who believes in Christ, has been saved and has had both baptisms to feel unmoved from a sermon? I felt like this might never change and if so it will be a LONG wait as is everything with God. One long wait after another. This is a little more transparent but I have prayed for a wife or significant other since around 2008. I dated a lovely women in 2011. I was still in my addictions. She was getting annoyed by them and I was annoyed it annoyed her because I knew I had to quit. Well I broke up with her on Good Friday on Easter weekend. It’s taken me years to get over this foolish mistake and it is one of the biggest regrets of my life. Where this comes back to you article is that I struggle and more often give in to temptation. The temptation to go home and get stoned or the temptation to go home and try to remedy my own loneliness through viewing porn. Trying to get and feel that attachment again. I feel like a sick person. I don’t know when I will ever put my foot down to stop this again and try to recover. I think I have just been wanting to speak and reach out to another Christian for help. Maybe that’s what I did here.

    • Thomas M Mitchell April 1, 2019 at 12:12 pm #

      Ryan – For some reason my system did not alert me to your comment and I apologize for not responding sooner. Reaching out for help is always the first step and from your note I can tell that you have reached out to the Lord. We can never overcome our addictions (whatever they are) without the help of the Lord, and often He will bring that help in the form of a Christian brother or sister that has been where you are. We can’t change in our own strength, we need the strength that only Jesus can give us. What we tend to forget in the crisis is that strength is but a heartbeat away. All we need to do is ask. Start by finding a pastor, counselor or brother in the Lord to whom you can become accountable. It’s all about small steps and the most important one is the first one. Your note is a great first step. Take a deep breath and remember how Jesus sees you… not how you see yourself. I am not a counselor but I have had issues of my own (as we all have) and the answer you are seeking is the same one I found. I will join you in prayer for God to open the door for you to get the help you are asking for. We sometimes forget that He knows exactly where we are and what we are facing… He is just waiting for us to ask and He will come along side and see us through. You are in my prayers Ryan.

  2. Nick Pino June 19, 2020 at 5:03 pm #

    Hi Thomas my name is Nick. I’m in ministry and actually getting ready to go abroad as a missionary. But I have struggled with obedience for years. There are times I have lived in a great amount of peace – years on end – and not felt pressure or obligation to do a bunch of hard things “or else” for God. Rather, I came to a point where I felt like what I had loved to do as a career and God’s will were actually one in the same, like dovetail. But I haven’t felt that way recently. In fact, I have felt like I was just outright disobedient to the Lord – pleading for Him not to leave me but fearful for my struggle to let go of something. I love the Lord…….I really do and I know He knows my heart. I want to obey Him and be more at peace but I’ve tried to obey in the past and I haven’t seemed to get relief. It feels like I’m not sure that I truly love the Lord unless the task is harder, but I keep cringing and begging God to have mercy each time I feel pressured to do these hard things yet fail to do them. I know nothing matters more than God but I don’t want to feel caught up in legalism either. The moment I start doing one hard thing the more I feel like there are more hard things to do afterward. It’s an endless cycle. I need God to free me from this feeling. Not from loving and obeying Him, but this is not living. This feels like bondage. Lord please help me. And how am I supposed to minister to someone else if I’m feeling like this?

    • Thomas M Mitchell September 26, 2020 at 3:26 pm #

      Nick… it breaks my heart that I did not get noticed of your post until today. I pray that this reply will reach you. I have been where you are and for years I struggled with my feelings of being disobedient. Then during a very hard time in my life the Lord so subtly led me to the verses that changed my life… Matthew 6:33-34. Over many months I finally understood the simplicity of what He said and how it applies to us as His bride. Life is to be truly taken and lived one day at a time. Each day we arise and thank Him for another 24 hours we have 3 options: live it in the past, live it in the future, or live it in the present. Living it in the present is the only viable option. Every minute we spend in the past is wasted on things we can’t change and every minute spent in the future is wasted on the unknown. They both take time away from the present, the present where the Holy Spirit has so much that He wants us to deal with on our journey to spiritual maturity. Our past failures, or perceived failures, are but learning steps along the way. If we get caught up in self condemnation we will slide down that slippery slope that winds up in our drifting further and further away from Jesus. It is a journey and there are ups and downs all along the way, but His grace is sufficient. He has promised that He will never leave us or forsake us and that the good work He has begun in us He will be faithful to complete. I trust that you are on the frontlines for Him as I write this and know that my prayers are with you for your journey through the world with each day moving you a little closer to the promise of Romans 8:29 … For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. We are all on our individual paths to bring all that He has given us … all of Him, His character … from the inside to the outside where as we become more like Him, He will be glorified. Many blessings Nick and I am holding you up in my prayers.

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