What is the relationship between obedience and morality? Which is best to have?
…and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled (2 Corinthians 10:6 NKJV).
Many people wonder how they stop disobeying God? Let me share a secret with you–do not try to stop disobeying–rather, work on obeying!
Yet they would not listen to their judges, but they played the harlot with other gods, and bowed down to them. They turned quickly from the way in which their fathers walked, in obeying the commandments of the Lord; they did not do so (Judges 2:17, NKJV).
Disobedience to God’s law brings corruption into our lives. Who is right and who is wrong about the issue of abortion? Why is that question up for discussion anyway? Because morality is up for discussion in our country. It is a question of who is right and who is wrong? Only as we obey the Lord do we perceive things correctly, both morally and spiritually. Right feelings are produced by obedience.
Obedience to the Lord is not for the purpose of trying to feel good about certain things. As you obey the Lord in what is right, the feelings of your emotions will confirm it as a Christian.
Morality is a Taskmaster
Morality produces tension in our lives. Yet, human beings can choose to live a good moral life. Have you ever met people who did not profess Jesus Christ to be their Savior and yet you could say about them that they live a good clean moral life? That is the work of human willpower, not an act of the Spirit of God. But, God doesn’t want you to try to choose the best way to live–He wants you to get into His Word and discover how to obey Him. When you obey the Word of God, this obedience will produce morality.
Many people are trying to make the Christian life difficult by setting their own standards. They believe that if they keep their standards every day, they will feel good about their Christianity. Attempting to overcome wrong actions, consists of constantly dealing with negative situations. Putting pressure on yourself is not what will make you feel good as a Christian. Obedience makes you feel right because you are right! Obedience brings simplicity to life. How do you accomplish this? Simply read God’s Word and follow the directions. Relief from the tension of morality being your task master comes from simple obedience.
Our free will to choose wrong is what makes obedience have value. If it weren’t for sin, obedience would have no value. The very fact that sin is present in this world and affects our lives is what makes obedience have value. When we choose to obey God, it shows our love for Him. Want to know what’s right for your life? Start obeying the basics of God’s Word and everything else will fall into place.
Life in Christ is full, abundant, and meaningful. Trying to live a good clean, moral life is a task master. Learning to live an obedient life through a relationship with Jesus Christ is a pleasure. Moral insight is gained only by obedience. One writer said this, one step in obedience is worth ten years of study. That is so true. Disobedience keeps you from knowing the next thing about God.
Obedience opens up God’s truth in you and shows you every facet in which to obey. If you want a cure for a moral problem, then obedience is the answer.
Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36, NKJV)
God made Jesus, Lord and Christ. There is no question about whether He is Lord. There is only a question about whether you obey Him as Lord. Your obedience does not make Him Lord. Your obedience shows that He is the Lord of your life. Luke 9:23 states that we must deny self. Therefore, as a Christian, our only right is the right to give up our rights. It is difficult to obey and remain selfish. Some Christians are careful to take everything God has to offer without ever giving anything back. That is not obedience. That is not giving up your rights. One thing that helps me to know my heart, is to state back to myself what I am thinking. State it out loud. This allows us to realize whether we practically are what we idealistically think we ought to be.
Obedience Produces Right Thinking
People wonder, why can’t I think right things and do right things all the time? It’s because your relationship with Christ is not yet what it needs to be. If you say that you will spend time in Bible study, and prayer, and by doing this produce a life that is pleasing to God, you have begun with a wrong premise–it’s all I centered. I’m going to start reading my Bible. I’m going to start praying so that I can produce a good relationship between me and Jesus Christ. The test of all morality and obedience is this–does this produce a likeness to Christ? It is not how well your morals work in the best situation, it is how well your morals work in the worst situation. The miracle of Jesus Christ is that he can take the meanest, vilest, nastiest person in the whole world and make them clean, sweet, and pure. Someone once said, “It is not what a person does that is of final importance but it is what he is in what he does that is important.”
The work of righteousness will be peace, And the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever. (Isaiah 32:17 NKJV)
God is not looking for people who make commitments that can be achieved in their own strength. Instead of saying, “I commit…” God would rather hear you say, “I surrender.” God can then do anything He wants through a surrendered life. The test of all morality and obedience is “Does this produce a likeness to Christ?”
I heard someone say once that, “The test of moral living is not how well your morals work in the best situation, but how they work in the worst situation.” Are you trying to live a good life so you can be a Christian or are you living a good moral life because you are a Christian?