Wednesday’s Word | 1.27.21

Wednesday's Word - January 27th

The word that has been running across my mind this week is, obedience. I know, I know, that’s a harsh sounding word. It isn’t a word many of us are comfortable with. I would venture to say, none of us like the idea of being told what to do, how to do it, when to do it, and where to do it. The idea of someone standing over us treating us as subservient beings grates against the nerve.

Obedience, however, is a word steeped in a tradition of taking direction from someone wiser with vastly more experience. The one being obeyed is trusted to have one’s best interest at heart. Children learn to obey their parents as they discover their parents love and concern for them. They learn their parents only want what’s best for them, and seek to keep them from any hurt or harm. Of course, parents can’t protect their children from every eventuality, but they seek to give them a good foundation upon which to make their own decisions. So in this sense, being obedient to one’s parents helps one grow and mature into fully functioning and wise adults.

Now, looking at obedience from that angle, how do we as adults feel about our being obedient? Of course, we’ve grown into mature adults, we’ve passed the test, we are now in the driver’s seat. We can direct our own destiny, follow our own path, make our own way. Here, as I see it, is where we get it so wrong. Yes, we’ve made it to the adult stage where we have built up experience and wisdom for our day to day decisions. What I believe we have to acknowledge though, there is still someone profoundly wiser who we need to continue to look to for direction and guidance. Obedience should still play a part in our lives.

When I have had decisions to make, and have launched into those decisions based only on my own thoughts, my own feelings, my own wants and desires, I find I am taking a giant risk. At 61 years old, I have to acknowledge, I still don’t know everything, and I am still exceedingly capable of making some truly stupid and ignorant decisions. I know what I feel. I know what I want. I know I have the power to decide for myself. What I also know is, I’m driven by emotions and human failings. I can make a real mess of things when I do it on my own.

I have found I need, strike that, I desire a higher authority to be obedient to in my life. I need someone to help me, to check my ego against, to qualify my actions to.

We have, as followers of Jesus, someone to confide in and submit our obedience to. That person is the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. You’ll remember Jesus told the disciples in John 14: 26-27…”But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” You see, Jesus knew even as adults the value for us of submitting our obedience to the Holy Spirit. Otherwise, we would be rudderless, we would have great fear and anxiety over our decisions and whatever we come up against in life. Jesus provided for us by sending us the Holy Spirit.

I find my life is so much more at peace when I obey the Holy Spirit. I cannot tell you the countless times I have sought the guidance of the Holy Spirit in my life. The times I’ve been so ready to answer someone out of anger, or pettiness, or sheer malice. I take a step back, breathe in the Holy Spirit and seek guidance. Every time I do that, every time I submit my will to the will of the Holy Spirit, I’m never led down the wrong path. When I don’t, I more often than not, regret my headstrong ways, and my disobedience.

The African-American spiritual gets it so right…
“1 I’m goin’a sing when the Spirit says sing,
I’m goin’a sing when the Spirit says sing,
I’m goin’a sing when the Spirit says sing,
and obey the Spirit of the Lord.
2 I’m goin’a pray when the Spirit says pray,
I’m goin’a pray when the Spirit says pray,
I’m goin’a pray when the Spirit says pray,
and obey the Spirit of the Lord.
3 I’m goin’a moan when the Spirit says moan,
I’m goin’a moan when the Spirit says moan,
I’m goin’a moan when the Spirit says moan,
and obey the Spirit of the Lord.
4 I’m goin’a shout when the Spirit says shout,
I’m goin’a shout when the Spirit says shout,
I’m goin’a shout when the Spirit says shout,
and obey the Spirit of the Lord.”

Let’s you and me commit ourselves to being obedient to where the Holy Spirit is leading us. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit into our lives so that we could experience peace in the midst of chaos, tranquility even though tragedy strikes, and overwhelming assurance in the face of uncertainty. 

Let’s obey the Spirit of the Lord in all we say and do.

Blessings and Peace,
Pastor Tom

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