Growing up I loved songs like “Fight the Power,” “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right to Party,” “I Fought the Law,” “Anarchy in the U.K.,” “Fortunate Son” and “Guns of Brixton” (Fellow columnist Marshall McCart will probably be the only person to know that last song). All of these songs have a common thread, they are about rebellion or sticking it to the man.
Don’t get me wrong, these are all great songs. But, we all love the idea of rebelling. We celebrate individuals that “fight the power.” We love people like James Dean, Steve McQueen, George Bernard Shaw, Eminem, Ozzy Osbourne and Robert Downey, Jr.
We want to be the rebel without a cause. We want to go against the grain and this is the HARDEST part of being a Christ follower. We don’t want anyone telling us what to do. We want to be in control of our own lives. We want to be “makers of our own destiny.” Let’s just say what we mean, we want to be the boss.
Jesus made is very plain that we need to be obedient. In Luke 11:28 Jesus says, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” This doesn’t mean that we have to follow a list of man-made rules. It means we follow God’s commands. Such as when Jesus told us, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Jesus breaks down obedience to loving people. We are told to just love God, people and ourselves. What does this look like? We see someone hurting, we need to be there for them. We see someone hungry, we feed them. We see people naked, we clothe them. We do this no matter the person’s race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. We fill the gap.
We see needs all the time. The cashier at the grocery store, she may be a struggling single mom. The guy asking for money outside of convenience store, he may not have eaten in a while. There are people everywhere that need to be loved. To quote the band DC Talk, “Love is a Verb”.
We all see these needs but we are disobedient when God tells us to do something. We don’t have the time, money, or knowledge to help. You don’t need money to give someone that society has labeled undesirable a hug. You don’t need hours of extra time to buy someone a hotdog. You don’t need knowledge to prayer with someone. The only thing you need is to be obedient.
Four years ago, I was sitting in Ethiopia with a group of friends and heard the song “White Flag” by Chris Tomlin. There was one verse that really opened my eyes to my disobedience; “The battle rages on, As storm and tempest roar, We cannot win this fight, Inside our rebel hearts, We're laying down our weapons now”. When I heard this I realized that I was constantly fighting with God for control of my heart.
Talk about a wakeup call. I am working on my obedience. Jesus told us in John 15:9, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” I try to keep this at the front of my mind whenever I make an excuse, which I still do sometimes.
We have to remember, that our obedience is a testament to God’s love. When we selflessly and humbly love others they get a glimpse of Jesus. How awesome is that? God allows us to show his love to others! Awesome and humbling.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said, “One act of obedience is better than 100 sermons.” Let’s try to live our lives like that!