Perhaps obedience isn’t merely what most of us have always been taught it is–doing what someone tells you to do. Sure, that is a quite helpful and needed aspect of it, but it’s so much more.
Obedience means literally a thorough listening.
In Latin, ob audire, “to obey,” means to listen thoroughly. The Jewish tradition says, “to bare your ear.” In fact, in many, many forms, in many, many languages, the word for obedience is an intensive form of the word listening.
Think about this for a minute. How does this deepen all those Scriptures in which obedience is emphasized or commanded? Maybe, just maybe, God’s chief concern is not that His creatures keep all the rules, but that they listen to Him thoroughly.
Isnt that of much greater depth? For it is in listening thoroughly that we honor someone. And in an intensive listening we are taking in to ourselves the other. Whenever you truly listen with all your being, there is a transformation that takes place on the soul level that simply doesn’t happen by the mere outward, thoughtless doing of what someone tells you to do. Surely God, who created the universe, is deeper than that.
I believe that a thorough listening to God, if there is any desire for Him and a teachable spirit, will automatically result in doing what He says to do anyway. Of course it will not be perfect every time, but we will continue to be perfected as His grace meets our weakness.
Do you ever take time to actually listen to God? Through His creation, His Scriptures, His people, His Son, His Spirit?
If not, why not?