I am a rule follower, yes, but I do like to push the limits. That dark, unredeemed part of my nature likes to see how much I can get away with. Like going five over the speed limit. Like going barefoot in an office. Like wearing blue jeans and mismatched socks to semi-formal events if dress code hasn’t been specifically stated.
And it’s not because I want to be a rebel or get attention. There’s just a part of me that hates doing what everyone else is doing. I’m one of those tiresome people who consciously goes against the trends because fitting in just bugs me.
However, obedience is one of the qualities the Bible talks about over and over again when it comes to living a life that honors Christ. Jesus was obedient when He surrendered to the cross. So we should be obedient when God calls us to do something, regardless of what it is.
Like with so many other aspects of following Jesus, though, it isn’t the act of obedience that God cares about. It’s the heart behind it.
It isn’t the act of obedience that God cares about. It’s the heart behind it.
If you have an obedient heart, it doesn’t matter what God has called you to do. You’ll do it. If you don’t have an obedient heart, you’ll always be looking for loopholes.
Obedience is learned behavior
Think about the relationship between an owner and a pet dog (not that we’re pets to God, but work with me here). Owners train dogs to obey. Sit. Stay. Lay down. And while such training may be for show in some instances, a lot of the commands are for the dog’s own good. Some of those commands are to keep the dog safe.
What happens if the dog doesn’t listen? Sure, in some cases, nothing bad will happen. But in other cases, it could be a matter of life and death for the animal. The same is true for us.
God tells us specifically how to live, and it’s up to us to choose to obey or not. We can flaunt His rules, or we can choose to obey even if we don’t understand, trusting that God will work things out.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out which option is the one God prefers for us.
Learning to obey doesn’t happen overnight. In my life, I’ve had to epically faceplant several times before I learned to do what God says without questioning. So believe me when I tell you that obeying God makes life so much easier. Maybe it’s not what you want to do right then. Maybe you feel like God’s plan will make more work for you. But trust me, doing what God says saves you a world of hurt, because He really does know best.
So, as a woman who wants to become more like Jesus, where does obedience fit into my life? I know I’m supposed to obey God’s commands, but what happens when I run across a passage like 1 Peter 3:1-2?
“In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives.”
This isn’t the only time this concept shows up. There are many other examples where God tells wives to submit to their husbands. And, just being honest, I don’t blame women for getting testy about this.
God says wives should obey their husbands even if their husbands aren’t obeying Him. Really? Wow. So that means if I’m a wife and I want to be like Jesus, I have to submit to my husband because that’s what it takes to obey God.
But this series of posts isn’t written for women who are married. I’m writing for women like me—single women who are waiting to see what God is going to do with our lives. Does this verse even pertain to me? I don’t have a husband, so should this even be something I’m thinking about?
The heard behind obedience doesn’t change
Ladies, let’s just get gut-level honest here. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about obeying a husband or obeying God, either way we still need to learn what it means to be obedient. The concept is the same. We still need to grasp the heart attitude behind it.
Obedience is being willing to accept that God’s way is right, whether you actually think it is or not. What’s nice about God is that you can trust that His way is always right. But even if you’ve accepted that in your heart, it’s not easy to do in your life.
I like my own way. I like doing things myself. But if I want to be like Jesus, I have to follow Him. And that means I have to obey God, even when I think I know better.
So many times I think women end up in relationships when they’ve never learned what it means to submit to authority. And make no mistake about it. God says that the husband is the authority in the home. But if you have never learned how to submit to God’s authority as a single person, how can you ever hope to submit to your husband’s authority as a wife?
Generally speaking, being single is a season of your life. Most people will get married at some point or another. So use this season to learn what it means to be obedient. Figure out how to submit to God’s authority while you’re single. Find out what He wants you to do and do it.
Becoming a woman after God’s own heart has nothing to do with your relationship status.
Becoming a woman after God’s own heart has nothing to do with your relationship status. If you’re single right now, focus on becoming the woman God made you to be. That means embracing an obedient heart, because if you can learn to obey God and trust God while you’re single, you’ll have those lessons to draw on when (or if) you get married.
And not only will that help you as a married woman, it’ll help you in everyday life while you’re waiting.