Previously, I told a story about stressing out trying to add to a caulk job my father had already finished. I put a lot of effort into the job, but I didn’t realize I was only adding gobs of mess to an already perfect work. That’s how many of us approach the idea of righteousness (right standing before God). We’re busying ourselves trying to do good works, but the Bible is clear that Jesus has already finished the work for us. We can’t make ourselves any more righteous by our own good works. We can’t get any more saved than we already are as believers in Jesus. In fact, our fleshly efforts only mess up the perfect work of Jesus.
What is a believer supposed to do, then? Are we just supposed to sit around and do no good works? Should we go around sinning, knowing that grace will abound even more? Of course not! Our role becomes one of simple obedience. It’s not stressing out trying to follow a legalistic set of rules. It’s being led by God’s Spirit, day by day.
What is Simple Obedience?
One time Jesus asked a group of pharisees if it was right to good or evil on the Sabbath. The Sabbath is a picture of the age we live in today as believers, an age where we can rest from the works of our flesh and trust in the finished work of Jesus on the cross. The only remaining question is what to do in that place of rest, the same question Jesus asked the pharisees: Should we use our place of rest to do good or evil? To me, that question is a picture of simple obedience. “God, what would be GOOD for me to do today?” “How can I best show Your love to the people around me today?” The answer to these questions is the opportunity to simply obey God’s Spirit.
Paul tells us not to use our new freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love to serve one another (Galatians 5:13). Simple obedience is all about prayerfully approaching each day looking for the opportunities God is placing in our path to love others. We’re free from adherence to the Law…free to follow God’s voice in loving others! [TWEET THIS]
How does this Help with Stress?
Here’s the awesome thing. Simple obedience is not stressful! Sure, we’ll be stretched. Sure, we’ll be uncomfortable. The Apostles commitment to simple obedience led them to many uncomfortable situations. But, we never carry the burden alone. We’re empowered by God’s Spirit and He shares the burden with us. You can imagine two bulls yoked together, but one is much stronger than the other. As long as the weaker bull stays in step with the stronger bull, he is never carrying much weight, no matter how much weight is piled on. That’s what walking in simple obedience to Jesus is like. Jesus says:
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
What does walking in simple obedience look like for you?
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