As those created in God’s very own image, it is our duty and pleasure to serve and obey our Master—to voluntarily enslave our minds (see Ro. 7:25) and bend our wills to His Word. To be true, no amount of the sincerest admiration, respect, veneration, passion or even self-denial is acceptable to God unless it proceeds from our unconditional conformity and unrivaled obedience. In the words of Samuel, “to obey is better than sacrifice.” Indeed, our commitment to the Creator must far exceed all adoration and devotion we have for Him. Instead, as the Master Yeshua demonstrated by laying down His life in place of ours, the only adequate expression of love and submission must be displayed through action. Whatever the price—no matter the cost—we must heed the admonition of obedience: “When God speaks, man must bow.”
And the price for such obedience is high indeed, because following Yeshua costs us everything (Luke 14:33). In exchange for the Ransom paid to redeem our lives from death, we willingly surrender all rights to ourselves; we give up our self-will to do the will of Him who owns us (see Rom. 14:8, 1Cor. 6:19-20). By accepting our salvation and all the rewards and joy that accompany it, we also accept the responsibility to advance His eternally worthy cause. It’s an easy yoke (see Mat. 11:28-30) that comes with a hefty price, because choosing to side with God is to both alienate the world and antagonize our former, yet still influential, selves. It is a choice that, in the wake of daily life, can leave us questioning whether the future’s everlasting benefits are truly worth today’s immediate burdens—whether centering our lives on God is really worth setting aside ourselves. This is what takes place when the narrow path of obedience crosses the great plains of opportunity.
Doubtless, we have all experienced such temptation. Feeling confined by the boundaries of obedience, we have gazed longingly upon the prolific lives of friends, family, and even strangers. We have envied their successes and accomplishments; we have coveted their full and multifaceted lifestyles. Then, through the resentful eyes of impatience, we have questioned the wisdom of our deepest convictions. What am I doing, sacrificing myself for words in a Book? Why am I choosing to miss out on life, just to champion an obviously fruitless idea? But what if that idea is founded upon “This is what Adonai says”? What if that seemingly lifeless text is really the life-giving Word of God? …the revelation of our Savior? …the perfect instructions for a truly fruitful life? Has any man in any place at any time ever had an “idea” more worthy of sacrifice? …more worthy to both live and die for?
No! The narrow path of obedience is not laid down on some abstract theory of piety—some idealistic philosophy of righteousness that generates no tangible results or substantial proofs of its ability. On the contrary, obedience is the only avenue that aligns our feeble actions with God’s supreme will. It defines for us what is right, good, and useful. It restricts us to godly thoughts, decisions and behavior. In Yeshua, we are no longer at liberty to choose for ourselves how to use our time, abilities and resources. Instead, we are required to relinquish absolute control to our Master—to permit His Word alone to dictate the direction and actions of our lives. “What Adonai says” is now the limit to which we are bound; what do the Scriptures say? is the sole standard we are obligated to uphold.
At the approach of every opportunity, prospect, and alternative—against the urging of every voice, opinion, and inducement—at the threshold of every sidestep, shortcut, and detour, we must be ready and willing to stand… unmovable, unshakable, and, “if it must be so,” alone. Like the Scriptures themselves, our single-mindedness to uphold the standard of God’s Word must also be fixed, immutable and unchangeable. To this path and this path alone, we must dedicate our feet, covenant our eyes, and obligate our hands—to stand upon it as a statue if we must, but to nevertheless tenaciously hold to it at all costs. It is only by way of the narrow path of obedience that we will discover the truly fruitful life that comes from bearing the standard of Scripture.
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