Can one successfully live a life of obedience simply by following the rules of faith, religion or society? The answer is no. Many have tried and failed again and again without success. It is believed that Albert Einstein once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.” Why is it that when we fail, we still continue to do the same thing over and over again?
It has been said that religion is spelled “do.” Needless to say, religion is comprised of a set of rules: do this and don’t do that. In some cases, many religions have instilled fear as a means to get people to obey, but fear has never stopped anyone from sinning.
To take this a step further, even the laws of our society cannot inspire obedience. We have laws against stealing, but that doesn’t stop anyone from stealing. We have laws against speeding, but that doesn’t stop anyone from speeding. We can create and make all the laws we want, but it doesn’t produce a changed heart or even a life of obedience. Christians are tasked with following the rules established by the government which God has instituted (see Romans 13:1-7). The only excuse for a believer to disobey government is if he or she is being asked to do something that is unethical or immoral.
What then is the solution to the problem? How can we live a life of obedience? Jesus Christ gives us the answer in (John 14:21), “Whoever has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and show Myself to him.” The only way we can live a life of obedience is out of love for God through His Son Jesus Christ.
But what kind of love is Jesus talking about here? The Greek word “love” means “to love, value, esteem, to be faithful towards.” We are incapable of obeying God in our own strength, and it is the Holy Spirit who lives in us that empowers us to obey God’s commandments out of love, not a sense of duty.
So, what’s wrong if obedience is achieved out of a sense of duty? Let’s face it, we may be able to accomplish some things by willpower, but after a while it becomes dull and boring and we eventually lose interest and give up. However, if we do this out of love, we are more likely to succeed.
What or who inspires you to follow the rules?