Obedience is hard work. Whether we obey parents or our boss, it entails hard work. It is hard work because in order to obey we need to pay attention to instructions. When we miss something in the instruction, our obedience is in danger of disobedience. Careful attention to detail, retention of instruction, and mindful action are important in making our obedience work. Active listening precedes active doing.
My two sons at home, ages 9 and 6, are hooked with online games. We usually schedule them when to take hold of their cellphones so that they would not be dependent on too much screen time and would have time to play outside and do other things. One thing I noticed, whenever they are so focused in the game, they would always miss the instruction or command I give them. It is either they forgot to do what I asked them to do or they did it wrongly. They have trouble listening to instruction, trouble focusing, and trouble in carrying out the task.
It is the same thing with our own obedience to parents, to our superiors at work, and to God. We need to put in hard work to it so we could carry it out exactly as we were told. Otherwise, we would easily forget and we become “hearers” only and not “doers”. When we obey God, we are to be “doers” of His Word and we could only do that if we are mindful and we give careful attention to God and His Word.
“But be doers of the word, and not only hearers, deluding your own selves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his natural face in a mirror; for he sees himself, and goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of freedom and continues, not being a hearer who forgets, but a doer of the work, this man will be blessed in what he does.”– James 1:22-25 (WEB)
Offer diligent obedience to God. When Joshua sent the tribes of Reubenites, Gadites, and half-tribe of Manasseh to Gilead, the land allotted to them for their possession, he gave them instruction to “take diligent heed of the commandments that Moses had given to them” (Joshua 22). Joshua gave clear and point by point instruction on how to do this. It was like saying, “Never forget to do this. This is of great importance.” Joshua had to specify the things they need to do to be able for these tribes to know how to obey God diligently. In Joshua 22:5, it says
- Love Yahweh your God.
- Walk in all the ways of Yahweh.
- Keep the commandments of Yahweh.
- Hold fast to Yahweh.
- To serve Yahweh with all your heart and with all your soul.
“Only take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of Yahweh commanded you, to love Yahweh your God, to walk in all his ways, to keep his commandments, to hold fast to him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.”– Joshua 22:5 (WEB)
Our obedience to God should be that of diligence and care. A diligent student is patient and careful to do all that is commanded of him. As a diligent “doer of God’s Word” we are expected not to take His Word lightly or to listen to God’s Word every Sunday and forget about it the rest of the days of the week. Instead, we are to love God, walk in all His ways, keep His commandents, hold fast to Him, and serve Him with our all. This diligent obedience leads us to intentional obedience to God. We could not be intentional with our submission and surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ unless we are diligent in our obedience.
Yes, obedience to God is hard work but I pray that as we diligently obey the Lord, we also find the joy of walking in His ways in every moment of every day.