Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Where Angels Fear to Tread (not about the book) (09/08/11)
TITLE: To Obey or Not to Obey
By Edmond Ng
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- Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to heap abuse on celestial beings; yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not heap abuse on such beings when bringing judgment on them from the Lord. (2 Peter 2:10b-11 NIV)
Initially, my parents tried to bring me back to their fold by punishing me. Eventually, however, they gave me up as lost after I repeatedly refused to participate in their religious practices, which include ancestral worship and bowing down to idols. I became then to my parents as one who has gone astray and not known my own roots, and to the people of the community a renegade and an outcast.
Many a time, following Jesus requires us to do things most people would not do. We know he Bible says children are to obey their parents (Ephesians 6:1; Colossians 3:20). We, likewise, are to obey authorities because there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God (Romans 13:1). Yet, when the apostles were given strict orders not to continue to teach in the name of our Lord, Peter answered and said, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:27-29). This is what makes the difference between blind obedience and obedience to God.
In following Christ, it is good to know where we stand in our obedience to God. Are we ready to count everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing our Lord, and be willing to suffer the loss of all things to gain Christ (Philippians 3:8)? Will we stand to defend for what is right even if we know we may be disadvantaged or persecuted as a result (Psalm 82:3; Isaiah 11:4)? Do we side and follow the crowd or speak the truth to bring about justice when asked to testify (Exodus 23:2)?
The ‘wise’ of this world will deem us as fools for choosing to obey God despite knowing the consequences we may put ourselves into, like the way my parents deemed me a fool to follow Christ. Yet, it is for this reason God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27). The word of the cross to those who are perishing may be foolishness, but to us, we know it is the power of God for salvation (1 Corinthians 1:18).
Nevertheless, we should not confront or seek to go against the authority that is set over us, for it is commanded in the word of God that we should obey (Romans 13:1-4). Unless, therefore, we are commanded to do what is wrong or against the will of God, we should take heed to do what is right. For even angels, although stronger and more powerful, do not heap abuse on celestial beings or angelic majesties in the presence of the Lord (2 Peter 2:10-11). If therefore Michael the archangel did not argue or pronounce against the devil a railing judgment when disputing over the body of Moses, who are we to revile the things which we do not understand (Jude 9-10)?
If we should feel obeying God is a sacrifice, then let us set our hearts right, for to obey is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22). Our God does not need us to sacrifice our will to obey Him, nor does He desire our blind obedience. Let us therefore willingly offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, which is our true and proper worship (Romans 12:1).
Forgive us Lord for our occasional lapses in standing up for what is right, and for following the crowd at times even though we know they may be wrong. Help us not be defiant towards authorities set over us Lord, but to be willing to submit to them unless when against Your command or will. Grant us boldness Lord, not of arrogance but of strength, to obey and do Your will in counting everything a loss to gain You.
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