Selfless Obedience

Growing up, I have always been confined with sets of rules and commands. I was raised by my mom, because my dad was working abroad. She was strict when I was a boy. At a very young age, I learned how to be as obedient as possible, because if I don’t, doom will come upon me (just kidding, love you Ma!).

Whenever I obey my mom, there is always this lingering feeling of going against what she tells me. There is always that rebellious feeling inside me, wondering what would happen if I don’t do as she says (and yes, there are way too many times that we quarreled because of my disobedience). I never understood the importance of obedience. I always saw rules and regulations as something that is confining me from the fun I can experience when I disobey it. It was as if I’m inside the fence, and happiness was outside of it. I didn’t enjoy obedience because I never understood it, but I obeyed anyway.

The First Recorded Sin

God revealed to me the importance of obedience while I was reading through the book of Genesis one morning.

As I was reading the part when God described “the tree”, I suddenly asked myself, “Why did God put the tree in the middle of the garden, where Adam and Eve can be easily tempted? Or perhaps, why did God even chose that particular fruit of the tree to begin with?”. I prayed to God about it, and asked Him why. He revealed that these questions do not really matter. That I was seeing it in the wrong perspective.

Truth is, God could have placed the tree anywhere in the garden, and nothing could have changed his command about it. Adam and Eve would still sin against God. God could have told them not to touch a cat’s ear, or not to pick a flower from a particular plant, and still, it won’t change anything. It doesn’t matter what God used when He first gave humanity His first command.

What really matters is His word to us, and how we are responding to it, even when we don’t fully understand it.

The first recorded sin in the Bible is disobedience. God gave Adam and Eve the authority to rule everything He created in this world, yet when God restricted them to do one thing, they overlooked what they already have, and tried to possess what they don’t.

And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” – Genesis 1:29-30

And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” – Genesis 2:16-17

This tells a lot about humanity.

Without God, we are driven by greed, and selfishness. We desire what we can have less. We break rules, and cross the line.

Disobedience is driven by selfishness. Whenever we disobey God, it is because we let our selfish desires take over. Just like Adam and Eve, God gives us His word, and at times, we can’t figure out where He is leading us. But are we going to do the same mistake Adam and Eve made? Just because we don’t understand why, are we going to let our selfish desires deny the holiness of God’s word in our lives?

Selfless and Obedient

God knew we can’t obey Him fully because even from the start, we are disobedient.

He made a way. He sent His son, Jesus Christ.

Jesus is just about the perfect role model we can have, because He is God in human form.

Jesus lived a blameless life. He knew from the start what His role will be when He gets here in our world. He knew that He will suffer, He knew that He will die a very painful death. Yet He did not count himself equal to the Father in Heaven. He obeyed wholeheartedly, and was selfless all throughout. Jesus was so humble, that He obeyed what the Father told him, even with all that knowledge.

His obedience is driven by selflessness. His desires are not His own, but the Father in heaven.

It is possible for us to be as selfless and obedient because we have Christ in our hearts. That is the hope that He gave us when He resurrected from His grave. He gave us hope that we can obey the Father, just as He did, even when we don’t fully understand what His will is for us.

Living faithful in Christ allows us to obey the Father with joy in our hearts, knowing that what He desires is better than ours.

But do not assume that once you start obeying God, you will have a perfect life. In fact, there will be trials, and your faith will be tested. But this is how you will grow with your faith. Remember, it doesn’t matter what fruit God is telling you not to eat, but it is whether you obey Him or you let yourself be deceived by what the world tells you.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12:2

I was in awe when I realized all of these. And I couldn’t imagine myself trusting God like this if my mom did not develop the character of obedience in me when I was a child. This has helped me trust god in a deeper, more personal way.

Now I find myself asking, “What is God telling me to obey even when I don’t fully understand it?”


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