Because of my Scottish heritage, I think I’m biased towards Scottish thinkers and writers. One of my favorites is Andrew Murray, a minister in the 1800s. Murray was a devoted disciple who left many soul-searching and convicting books as his legacy. As I was reading some of his writing this week, I saw this: “The Father in heaven asks, requires, and expects all of His children to give Him whole-hearted and entire obedience all day long, every single day.”
It seems like a daunting task, but then I suppose if it was easy, we would find many more joining us. If it was easy, the path would be wide instead of narrow (Matthew 7:13-14). No, following Jesus is not the easy path in life, but it is the only one worth following. And if we will brave this path, we must understand it requires our obedience to Jesus every step along the way.
How can we be obedient to Jesus in a world that screams at us to live in every way but the way of Jesus? Again, it’s not easy. A disciple must suffer through many troubles. When our love for Jesus consumes us, we can tolerate the pain because we know we are living for a greater purpose. So, the first key to living a life of total obedience is to be very clear on why you want to follow Jesus. If it’s just to escape Hell or to be a better person, those reasons will not sustain you when the pressure increases. But when you follow Jesus because of your absolute love for Him, that is something that will carry you through the most trying circumstances. If your love for Jesus is not the most important thing in your life, the chances of living in obedience to Him are slim.
The second key to living in obedience to Christ is recognizing your life is no longer yours. All the dreams, plans, and habits you had before surrendering to Jesus no longer matter. All you are must now be about Jesus. That’s what declaring Him as your Lord means. Your life is His and you no longer want anything but Him. When love for Jesus consumes you and your deepest desires match those of Christ, obedience comes more naturally. You cannot be living in obedience to Christ and maintain any sense of self. You belong to Jesus. Everything has changed, and so have you.
Living in obedience will seem impossible unless we love Jesus with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:29-30). It will be elusive until we live in total surrender to Him. But it is possible when we devote our hearts and yield our will. Jesus demands obedience from those who call Him Lord (John 14:15; John 14:21-24). The fact He would not command us to do something impossible should encourage us. Living in obedience is not only possible, but Jesus requires it of all who would be His disciples. It’s a small price to pay compared to what Christ has done for us.