The Christian life sounds easy enough, it ultimately comes down to two choice – obey or disobey. In everything we do, we choose whether to obey what God has directed us or to disobey. There is not a time when we disobeyed that we didn’t have the option to obey.
Yet we are trapped by the reality that we are still sinful, fleshly creatures. Even with the help of the Holy Spirit we still choose to disobey far too often. Not only do we choose to disobey, we choose to disobey repeatedly in the same areas whether they be anger, lust, gossip, selfishness, etc.
Consider the rich young ruler in Mark 10:17-23. This man wanted to follow Jesus just as we do. But when Jesus told him what he had to do, he was unwilling to do it. It wasn’t because he was openly defiant of what Jesus asked him to do. When we sin, it is not in open defiance of what God says to do. When we get angry, we don’t say to ourselves, “I know I should be loving but I believe that anger is better than God’s way.” Instead we find ways to justify our actions.
We only know that the rich young ruler went away sad, but how might he have justified keeping his wealth to himself?
When Jesus gives us a commandment, we are to obey. We aren’t to make excuses for why we didn’t follow and our excuses aren’t going to hold up no matter how good they sound. Consider a simple command from Matthew 6:25-34. We are told not to worry – specifically in this case we are not to worry about money. Yet, what is the one issue that couples argue about more than anything else? Why do we squirrel away our nest eggs and throw thousands of dollars into retirement funds? Why is it when a health problem occurs, our first inclination is to worry? Is our faith so small that we don’t believe God has control of everything from our finances to our health?
(Note: this isn’t to say that saving money is bad or that we won’t have financial hardships particularly if we are foolish with the resources God gives us.)
We need to work on the idea of single minded obedience. It’s not an easy thing or we’d be doing much better with it without a reminder. God gave us commands for a reason. Things he told us to do are for a good reason and are not just arbitrary decisions handed down from on high. Some things may not even make much sense but that doesn’t mean they aren’t given for a good reason. In the Old Testament, the people were not to eat meat with blood in it. There were spiritual reasons behind this, but as we understand bacteria today, we know there are physical reasons for it as well.
God commands don’t have to make sense to us although most of them we should see an obvious benefit from. In the case of worrying, Jesus so much as tells us that there is no benefit to worrying, so stop doing it.
Some people can claim ignorance to God’s commands and thus cannot follow His commands because of a lack of knowledge. These people must become diligent in studying so that they know God’s Word. Claiming you didn’t know the law won’t set you free in court and it won’t work as an excuse before God. Those who know God’s law have no reason not to follow it and should focus on following it with all their heart.