True faith in Jesus Christ should result in joyful obedience to the whole Word of God (not just the parts we like, or the parts taken out of context that embolden us to live and say and do anything we want).
Joyful obedience looks like growing in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Joyful obedience looks like following the Word of God when it talks about how to love your neighbor as yourself (which means with dignity, care, compassion, love, sacrifice, humility, gentleness, value, and more!)
Joyful obedience looks like what James describes here:
Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained from the world. (James 1:27, CSB)
Joyful obedience looks like obeying the Word of God no matter what it costs socially, personally, professionally, or politically.
Joyful obedience is difficult, for sure. It’s hard! Especially to live contrary to the status quo and what is seen as socially acceptable. But isn’t that a part of life? Did you ever hear from your parents something along the lines of, “I don’t care what so-and-so’s parent let him do, you’re not going there/doing that.” It’s not the wisest life decision to just go along with what everyone else is doing. That’s why our parents pushed and challenged that sentiment. We need to be critical thinkers – to engage all of our head, heart, and hands in obedience to the Word of God and all that means.
It matters what we do. Almost more important, it matters why we do it. Don’t just blindly follow; critically think. And then act. Again, James nails this joyful obedience to the Word of God when he writes:
But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (James 1:22, CSB)
Let’s not live like everyone else. Let’s live differently, letting our actions reveal our faith in God. And none of this “cultural Christian” stuff that gives Jesus a really horrific name (like quoting Scripture out of context to promote a political agenda), but live like an actual true believer who knows the Bible and lives it out.
This is a journey, certainly. But let’s move forward toward joyful obedience.
This article was originally published here.