The best way to express our trust in God is to obey Him. On the same note, obeying God is the best way to draw near to Him. It is practical for the sake of Godliness to obey God.
Obeying the Lord is overwhelmingly practical, even if doing so grinds against the gears of every mainstream machine, whether religious or nonreligious. Then again, it is extremely impractical to obey the flesh rather than God in light of the eternality of the repercussions. It is extremely foolish to trade eternity for disobedience, which is convenient only for a season.
The fact that Christlike obedience is inherently bold should encourage Christ-seekers, especially when God commands us to do something that is naturally terrifying to us.
Though we are willing to take chances for Christ, yet these chances are not risky in the worldly sense of taking shots in the dark. Humble obedience is in no way related to sanctified recklessness.
It is impossible for us to be careless or thoughtless in the name of Christ because He fills us with otherworldly care and thoughtfulness. It would betray our calling, which is to work wisely with whatever God gives us, if we cast aside whatever brains we might have left.
But neither carelessness nor cluelessness should be too much of a threat so long as we are drawing near to Christ. We can spring boldly into every life-scenario so long as we are maintaining a living relationship with Him. If we are His, then we can approach every situation with the confidence of Christ and with the freedom of a clear conscience. If we are His, then He is our constant Leader and Teacher.
The fruit of bold, God-fearing obedience will be a more intimate knowledge of Christ. This is more enlightening than all the right answers that all the religious textbooks in the world can offer.
The Spirit of Christ is, all by Himself, all the qualification we will ever need to obey God. He is our empowering, filling, encouraging Impetus, manifesting Himself to every generation in new, creative ways. It is His nature to be creative and therefore also to inspire creativity. Our creative flexibility, not to mention our purity, boldness and endurance will also develop as He develops us.
Therefore we can seek after Christ with clear consciences. Our confidence is that His Spirit will cleanse our hearts and motivations as we go. We will seek Him with ever-increasing confidence as we get to know Him, in much the same way that people have a clear conscience to call up their best friend at any time, for any reason.
Christ-followers ought to obey Christ for no greater reason than because He commanded them. We take action than because we are commanded by the living God.
Even if every religious expert in the world rails on an obedient Christ-follower, that person has all the consolation they will ever need in Christ. A persistently Godly man will be more useful to the very people who rail on him if he sticks to obeying Christ. And Christ will put the steadfast follower to good use, not only as a witness to those who resist God, but also to benefit anyone who is watching from a distance.
By every means we should keep seeking after more Christ in us as well as in the world around us. Whether we eat or drink, sleep or wake up, move around or sit still, whether we fellowship with others or go up to God’s mountain by ourselves, we should continually seek more of Him by whatever means He endorses. This is also according to Christ’s Spirit of boldness.
I write these things to encourage you toward courageous obedience. This means doing whatever Christ tells you to do, doing it quickly and doing it persistently.
Then again, whatever Christ commands of you, obey Him wholeheartedly or don’t even bother. Can there be any other way to carry out the orders of Almighty God, than quickly and with gusto? If we fail, we might as well honor God by failing passionately, out of sincere devotion to Him.
In Christ, there is a miraculous intersection of boldness and humility. Though we esteem ourselves as nothing, yet such is the quality of our all-consuming Savior that we can’t avoid living with fullness of energy and hope. It is our delight to be reduced to nothing because we are consumed by the brilliance of God’s glory.
We do well to remember that this business of knowing and drawing near to Christ is a process that advances one step at a time. We need not arrive at any fleshly idea of perfection, but we should be teachable.
Suppose we applied ourselves with whatever God has already given us. What’s the worst that could happen? We might fall flat on our faces. Even if we fall flat on our faces, which might be inevitable, let’s do so to the glory of God. If Christ is our only confidence then, whether we seem to succeed or fail, whether we ever attain to perfection in this life or not, our only boast is that we are all His and not at all our own.
We might experience such devastating humiliation that we are forced to draw back to our prayerful, secret places and fall down before Christ. But this is a good thing! This is infinitely better than sitting around, attending entirely safe, religious functions for the rest of our earthly lives.
Our job is to keep our eyes open to whatever grace God has persisted in giving us so we can set out therewith to obey Him in all boldness and humility. The worst thing that could arise out of our experimental trust in Christ is we’ll learn how to fellowship with Him better and surrender to Him more effectively for His kingdom purposes. As we strive and fail and maybe succeed sometimes we will continually get to know Christ better.