Dancing Around Obedience

I, like many if not most believers, have a great collection of excuses I use to dance around obedience to God. Have you ever sensed the Lord’s displeasure about a certain behavior and prayed, “Lord, give me the grace to stop”? And yet He’s already provided the grace: “[God’s] commands are not a burden” (1 Jn. 5:3). And yet we try to convince ourselves that God doesn’t really expect us to obey until we feel like it. We want to be obedient, and surely that’s good enough, right?

Silhouette illustration of a woman hand grabbing an appleWe’re so silly! We don’t get brownie points with God for recognizing sin while failing to follow through—or for simply knowing we should obey—or for hoping that one day we will obey. We convince ourselves it’s ok to postpone obedience until it no longer requires sacrifice… until it no longer hurts… until it’s as easy as sinning.

If we’re completely honest, we’ll admit that we often try to bargain with God in regard to sin. We try to help Him see it our way, or to persuade Him that He’s being unreasonable in His expectations. We’re too cowardly to say what we really mean: “Lord, I hear what You’re asking of me, but I’d rather not, so… no.” God’s instructions are simple and straightforward: “If you love Me, you will keep My commands” (John 14:15). Our obedience should be just as simple and straightforward: “Yes, Sir.”

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Pilate’s Mistake

Pilate didn’t have a problem with Jesus. In fact, he realized that Jesus was not at fault and that there was something unique about Him. The Bible makes it clear he even felt uncomfortable when he turned Jesus over to the horde. Pilate’s downfall wasn’t hostility toward Jesus. It was his decision to go along with the majority. To be politically correct. To let the demands of the people, no matter how wrong or evil, take precedence over truth. In Matthew 27, Pilate acknowledged that Jesus was “just”—and then he declared that he was innocent of the blood of Jesus.

Pilate believed that if he acquiesced to the majority, refused to stand for truth, and then symbolically washed his hands of the issue, he’d be free and clear of any responsibility. He was wrong.

Has the American church gone the way of Pilate? What do you think?