Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny
If you obey my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you, and your joy may be complete. John 15.10-11
Why is it so hard to be obedient? There are many passages in the Bible that talk about life and death, both in the New Testament and the Old Testament.
In the Old Testament, we read of the Israelites failure to obey time and time again. It just seems like they cannot get it right. Even though they know that life is dependent on obedience, they fall time and time again into idolatry among other sins.
In the New Testament, we read in Acts 5 about Ananias and Sapphira. In 1 Corinthians, Paul had to correct one problem after another of sinful actions or attitudes in the congregation in Corinth. Humans have a hard time being obedient!
To be obedient, we must submit. Submission is considered weakness by those who do not know any better, but it is the most difficult thing to do on a consistent basis. It is so easy to stand up and say that you have had enough, that you are doing what you want to do just this once. There is the account of the example of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, Matthew 26.36-46. His will was secondary to the will of God, the Father. Hebrews 5.8 says that Jesus learned obedience through the things he suffered.
Our ego, our selfishness, does not want to let go of the false perception that we are in control. We are very good at deceiving ourselves and less apt at dying to ourselves, Matthew 16.24-27.
Yet, if we want our joy to be complete, that is what we must do. Submit. Be obedient. For if we are not obeying God, there is only one other alternative. The devil is like a roaring lion seeking to devour, 1 Peter 5.8. To whom do you submit?