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.


2 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.

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