Finding God’s Kindness in His Commands

Have you ever felt it hard to obey God’s commands? Maybe found it hard to obey out of a love for God and a heart that really wants to glorify Him? I’m just imagining all the hands going up and staying there. Me too. I firmly believe on this side of heaven we are never going to be able to do that perfectly, which is why the gospel of Christ and His righteousness that has been given to us is so sweet. 

Knowing that Jesus came to fulfill the law by His death on the cross allows us the freedom to live without condemnation under the law. However, we are still called to obey it out of the overwhelming grace we have experienced by this radical act of love. Unfortunately, my heart sometimes forgets this grace and my flesh moves towards pride. As a result of my pride, I have a hard time obeying laws that don't make logical sense to me or feel like they are of no benefit to me. This pride ultimately separates my heart from God's and I no longer want to obey. God could have said, “Obey my commands because I’m in authority and this is about my glory, not yours”. He would be good and right in doing so, but instead, He has also chosen them to be a gift of kindness to us. God has shown me how apart from the cross, the kindest thing He can do is ask us to obey His commands. 

When I see 2 Corinthians 6:14, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.” I can logically see where that is not wise and God is onto something. When trying to explain this concept to a young believer who is in a relationship with a nonbeliever, they need to hear more than my logic. They need to hear the kindness of God in that command. An unbeliever, apart from Christ, does not know a love that is sacrificial, unconditional, and out for the betterment of the other. They aren’t being convicted by the Holy Spirit and helped by Him to love in a way that we literally can’t do on our own. God sees the future pain and heartache that would be endured from never being truly loved by an unbelieving spouse that doesn’t know what love really is or be able to reflect the gospel to the world. That’s a loving, gracious, and protective Father. 

The command referenced above may be easy to see for the mature believer, but let me talk about one I’ve personally struggled with. Romans 13:1-2 says “There is no government anywhere that God has not placed in power. So those who refuse to obey the law of the land are refusing to obey God.” I quickly whipped this verse out to explain to a student why they should obey the drinking age law and sure enough, I quickly got hit in the face with the fact that I’m over here choosing which laws I want to obey. Speeding, stopping fully at a stop sign when no one is there, and other traffic laws have always been viewed as something I’m not really required to obey, but more of a suggestion. As if I get to choose which ones would make the most sense to me and obey those. God started to show me my pride by my relationship with these laws. I don’t know everything and there could be a million reasons why God allowed these, but He started to use these laws that I didn’t fully understand to help me see in a deeper way that I’m not in control, I’m not in authority of my own life, and ultimately that I am not God. These laws help me practice submission when I don’t understand, push me to trust that God knows what He’s doing, and give me a constant reminder that I am in the best place when I am not leaning on my own understanding, but trusting and relying on Him. The kindness of God in this law produces a childlike faith and humility. 

God asks us to not be jealous, greedy, or envious. Why? If you’ve ever fallen into disobeying these laws, you know how consumed your heart and mind is with discontentment. You know how your attitude, speech, and decisions are all negatively affected. It’s kind of God to call us to obey these things.

These are just a few examples, but whether it be keeping the Sabbath day holy, not being gluttonous, or not letting any corrupt talk come from your mouth, I pray that instead of becoming legalistic in keeping the law, we look at all God’s commands through the lens of His character. It’s not about us or our benefit, but about seeing how good He is in calling us to bring glory to Him through obedience. I know seeing His overwhelming kindness to us isn’t going to produce perfect obedience because our hearts will forget, but I pray for you to lean in with me and allow your hearts to dig into why God asks us to obey commands that are hard for us. Seeking to remember His kindness will truly bring us to repentance. Romans 2:4

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