This was my second week to teach on obedience.  The curriculum called for the lesson to be on thankfulness but I didn’t see that in the scripture text so I continued to teach on obedience for another week. 

Additionally, I’ve been reading in I and II Kings and I and II Chronicles.  The thing that has always fascinated me is how one king after another turned from following the Lord after years of being blessed and seeing miraculous victories in battle.  Then one day, it was as if a light switch was turned off and they weren’t obedient any longer.  They turned away from God, His love and his blessings.

I have alway thought that obedience is something that you learn.  In fact, I trained my children that way.  I remember saying again and again, “You must learn to obey.”  As I meditated on the lesson for Sunday, I saw obedience in a different light. 

Obedience is a decision that we make with each choice that faces us.  It isn’t a learned skill or an art form that can be perfected.  It is a crude, blunt, no-frills, down and dirty decision.  The greatest Biblical scholar who has spent years learning the scriptures, theology and Christology makes headlines because he choses to disobey God.  While the back-woods grandmother who received merely a second grade education and has read only one book–her Bible–her entire life, daily decides to walk paths that please her heavenly Father. 

If obedience isn’t learned then is there no place for discipleship and learning?  Yes.  We must learn the rules, law and commandments God the Father and Jesus expect us to obey.  We cannot know the correct decisions to make, if we don’t know the rules of the highway.  I can easily break the speed limit, if it isn’t posted along the side of the road. 

Thankfully, God has given us an inner conscience that helps to direct our paths.  When that fails, and it often does, He has given us the scriptures that instruct, inform and teach his ways.  In addition, He has given us teachers, pastors and elders who amplify God’s word and help us to understand how a text written 5000 years ago easily applies to my modern-day life.   Above all that, He gives us His own Spirit who is commissioned to direct, lead and guide us into all truth. 

Before worship, Thomas, a member decided to be impolite to a group and speak to them in a disrespectful and crude way.  After the sermon, he came up to me.  “I need to say I’m sorry. I did wrong.  Will you forgive me?”  I called the people he had offended up to the front.  After they had sat down, I told Thomas that he had to speak to the people that he had offended.  “I’m so sorry,” Thomas said, ashamedly. 

Thomas is learning that obedience is hard but it is a decision.  A good friend of mine used to say to her daughter, “You can get glad in the same skin you got mad in.”  Life is chocked full of decisions.  We much learn what God wants from us.  However, each decision is a choice–bad or good.