A question I am almost certain we have all asked at one point in our life—Why is obedience so hard? The concept of obedience is just about as simple as can be if you break it down: 1. You are asked to do something (typically by someone older, wiser, and with more authority) 2. If it doesn’t bring harm to you or someone else…do it! However, I know that I personally struggled with obedience growing up in the same way most children do. Some examples: when playing outside we were always told to be back in by a certain time to get ready for bed but I always stay out so late that my mom had to come find me and practically drag me back home; every time I rode my bike my mom would ask me to wear a helmet and I never did; there was a tree in our neighborhood that we were ask not to climb in because it would be dangerous and we all (the kids) decided that the only place we could meet and discuss what we wanted to do was in that tree (it became a secret base of sorts). I understand these are rather childish examples of disobedience, but it helps set the ground work.
The reason I used these examples is because they show the nature of disobedience. Disobedience is a craft of the devil and its nature causes us to think “why should we” when we are asked or told to do something. If we are not in control enough of our body and thoughts, as most children are, the devil will sneak in and nudge us toward disobedience. This understanding of the nature of disobedience should open your eyes as to why being obedient is so difficult—it comes down to how much control we have over our own body. Before we receive salvation, we have 0% control over our own body because we are slaves to our sinful nature. Romans 8:5-6 says, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” ESV. There is a way to open the door for obedience to become easier though.
As previously mentioned, obedience comes when our body and mind are under control. Because of our sinful nature, we cannot try to be the one who does the controlling. We must take the step of surrendering our control over to Christ. He was the epitome of obedience in what He did for us on the cross. It is naive to think that He was helpless and was forced to die on a cross for us. It was a choice, His choice. Luke 22:39-46 tells us about Christ praying on the Mount of Olives. In that prayer Jesus says, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” ESV. When living your life for God and His kingdom, there will be times that we want to be disobedient. Even Christ was so burdened by taking the weight of all our sins, that He ask for God to provide another way. His statement at the end of His request is what shows us the power behind real obedience—“Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”. Obedience for a believer is the knowledge of knowing that God’s will, regardless of what it looks like on the surface, is truly the thing that is going to be the best for us!
Matthew 16:24-25 says, “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me sake will find it.” ESV. To be obedient to what God is calling you to do you must take up your cross, and surrender the journey over to Him!
The last three bible studies we had were all about the same thing—Teaming. I know what you’re thinking: Why would you spend three weeks on one topic? Is there really that much to talk about when it comes to the concept of teaming? or maybe even Who taught you how to lead a bible study? All of which would be valid questions that I would have rather short answers to. We spent three weeks on it because it is important to the collective growth of our ministry. The concept of teaming could be months worth of bible study material so, yes there is plenty to talk about. As for the last question…no one did! In the eyes of many I am probably unqualified to be leading, but that is one of the great things about our God. He did not bring me here because I was the perfect candidate, He chose to use me because my skills are very limited and He can cover the gap from where my skills end and the truth about His glory begin!
One of my most feared things about school was when the teacher decided to let the students pick their own groups. Those days always led to me slowly walking up to the teacher’s desk and sadly telling the teacher that no one wanted me to be in their group, then the teacher would awkwardly force a group to accept me. It was unbearably obvious growing up that I was not the kind of guy people wanted on their team. Imagine my surprise when I was told that the God who had created me was patiently waiting for me to join His team. A team that would stand the test of time, and never think less of me for not being able to pull my own weight. A team that welcomed me with all my ignorance and was ready to show and teach me truth. A team that linked me with people that loved me because it was the right thing to do, and not simply to gain something from me. It is an incredible experience being a part of a team like that!
Some scripture we looked at over the past few weeks for our bible study is 1 Corinthians 12:4-11. This passage shows us how God’s team works: “varieties of gifts…varieties of service…varieties of activities”. God’s team is about being active, being a servant, but most importantly being together. These gifts, services, and activities come from a specific part of the Trinity—Father, Son, Holy Spirit. “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord(Son); and there are varieties of activities, but the same God(Father) who empowers them all in everyone” verse 4-6. The God who created everyone and everything has set an example for us to know the importance of a well put together team and how that is what empowers the ministry! Think about the teams you have been on for a moment, and reflect on if they had these cornerstones. Now think about the kind of teams you would like to be a part of. Would it not be awesome to be on a team that has the driving force of the Trinity behind it?!
I would like to leave you with a quote from a gentleman whose name is Mike Elder (a friend of the author of Leadership Essentials: Shaping Vision, Multiplying Influence, Defining Character , the book we use in our bible study). “We don’t have it all together, but together we have it all.” Our hope is that you never feel like we have it all together or have all the answers here at Camp Ba-Yo-Ca, but that you know together, with your support in prayer, financial giving, and all the other ways you help, we have it all!!