The Lord’s Obedient Servant

slide-0Obedience seems to invade my thoughts a lot lately, maybe because I have 12 and 14-year-old boys who sometimes struggle with obedience. Sometimes there’s outright resistance. Sometimes there’s physical obedience with mental disobedience. And, sometimes, there’s true obedience out of love and respect.

My boys know that we have zero tolerance for two things: Disobedience and disrespect. Separating outright disobedience and disrespect from general teenage boy stupidity presents a challenge at times, but we do our best as parents to not just discipline when our kids are disrespectful and/or disobedient but to explain the serous impact of those behaviors both temporally and eternally.

Almost every time I discipline my boys for disobedience or disrespect, the Holy Spirit gently reminds me of the presence of both issues in my own life, especially disobedience. To help with this understanding, Isaiah 40:5-11 gives a picture of the Lord’s obedient servant.

Just as God did with Isaiah, He gives new understanding of His will on a consistent and daily basis. He only asks that we diligently listen to Him, refuse to turn away from Him and avoid hiding from Him (v. 4-6).

In obediently paying attention to God, the benefits of obedience become increasingly evident.

  1. Courage. Dismay becomes dispelled, replaced by a stone-like, immovable quality (v. 7).
  2. Determination. His will becomes all that matters (v. 7).
  3. Confidence. Assurance of victory (v. 7).
  4. Presence. Always near His righteousness (v. 8).
  5. Certainty. Enemies destroyed and guilt erased (v. 8, 9).

Isaiah then goes on to describe two alternate realities that exist in opposition to obedience. The first reality involves being so steeped in darkness we are incapable of turning to the light, and we can’t bear to see the lit path of obedience.

The second reality involves existing in a false light, one where we create our own reality and our own truth to the point of no longer having an awareness of God’s light, which shows us the path of obedience. This reality is actually worse because seeing a light within a light is almost impossible.

The result of these alternate realities involves “great torment” (v. 11), referring to an eternal separation from God. When I realize the devastation accompanying disobedience as compared to the joy of obedience, I find motivation to seek His light in darkness and to rid my life of any false light leading me down the wrong path.

As a parent, I want my kids to focus on the paths God lights before them and not on darkness or any self-created light. That perspective as a parent gives greater understanding of the fact that my Heavenly Father wants the same for me as His child.

So I seek to teach my boys the benefits of obedience that exist now and that extend into adulthood and eternity. At the same time, I also seek obedience and its benefits for my own life on both sides of Heaven.

DISCUSSION: How do we seek obedience and its benefits?

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12 thoughts on “The Lord’s Obedient Servant

  1. When I read this I thought about America and how so many seem to either be so lost they do not see or desire to see the Light, or who have created their own light and don't want to walk in the real Light. I think we all struggle with being totally obedience.

    • Sure we do. We're imperfect humans living this side of heaven. So thankful God sees us as perfect through Jesus and that we are walking the path of perfection (progressive sanctification). So glad He gave us that plan!

  2. I like what you said here, Kari: When I realize the devastation accompanying disobedience as compared to the joy of obedience, I find motivation to seek His light in darkness and to rid my life of any false light leading me down the wrong path.

    I also think that seeking the light is what helps us to have the strength to say yes to obedience. the more I see life from God's perspective and arm myself with the weapon of His Word, the more I'm able to have the strength to obey.

    • Very true, Barb. Seeing life from God's perspective through His Word arms us with what we need to obey Him. And, we find such joy in the light of His way too!

  3. Our obedience is a reflection of our love. If we choose to obey even against our feelings we are acting out love towards God or towards our parents or whoever. Obedience places the relationship above our desires. I think God wants our obedience to flow out of our love for him but if we only obey because we respect and trust God then I believe over time that is good too. The trust and respect over time will turn to love I think.

    • When we view love as an action rather than a feeling, we know that obedience is an act of love. I think our culture has messed love up and turned it into this emotional mess. When we look at how God shows love, through His righteous actions, we see that love truly is an action. Obedience is love for God in action, and it is definitely a choice we need to make over our desires.

  4. I think I learned more about my own obedience through teaching my kids how to obey and the ramifications from disobedience. It is certainly a maturing process with the end result being us obeying because He loves us so much. Kids obey when they are little because they don't want a spanking, early teens obey because they don't want their privileges take away. By the time they reach early adulthood you hope they obey due to love and respect. What power we have when we obey even when we don't want to, just because we know it right. Love is not a feeling but an act of the will. Obedience comes easier when we know the one who ask us to obey loves us so much and has our best interest at His heart. Good post Kari

    • Relationship in obedience is certainly the key. Kids learn obedience through parents who love them, and hopefully that transfers at some point to obedience to God who loves them even more. Rules without relationship just doesn't cut it. The relationship has to exist and be constantly growing and strengthening.

  5. I think daily seeking God and repenting from our sins (The ones we know we have committed and those we don't) allows us to stay closely connected with God. Humans have a sinful nature so we will always need grace and mercy from our disobedience. Great thoughts!

    • We definitely need to keep short accounts and to reconcile them regularly. Letting the Holy Spirit direct us in this and connecting with God daily is essential. Thanks Dan!

  6. It was pretty convicting what you said about being obedient to a false light. Reminds me of the old warning against climbing the ladder only to find it's leaning against the wrong wall. It also reminds me of the people who stood before the Lord and claimed to be followers of his who had performed miracles in his name, yet he knew them not.

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