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we have power FOR obedience and energy FROM obedience

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Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

 

Obedience gets a bad rap. When I think of the word obedience, I’m immediately catapulted back to childhood. Back then, obedience typically meant not getting something I truly wanted. Obedience meant coming home when it started getting dark. Obedience meant not getting that second helping of ice cream. Obedience meant doing my homework. Perhaps for many of us, obedience feels more like a straight-jacket than freedom.

But, what if we have it all wrong? What if God’s invitation to obey is really an invitation to life? If that’s the case – and Scripture affirms that it is – obedience becomes one of the things that frees us to walk in the joy of our Father. However, if you’ve ever tried to obey the teachings of Jesus, you know that it’s not as easy as it sounds. Some of the things Jesus calls us to do fly in the face of our human nature. “Love your enemies.” “Pray for those who persecute you.” “Take up your cross and follow.” The question for those who want to obey Jesus is, “Where does the power come from to follow the way of our Lord?”

Paul addresses this question in Philippians 2:12-13. He writes, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” The great news for those who want to obey – or work out salvation with fear and trembling – is that God is already at work within to help us desire to obey AND grant us strength to walk in obedience. As followers of Jesus, we have power FOR obedience and energy FROM obedience. The more we walk with the Lord, the more we sense his joy and experience the Spirit’s power to freely obey.

Today, read 2 Peter 1:3 and reflect on the truth Peter is exposing. Ask yourself, “Do I believe the promise that passage makes?” Then, identify one step of obedience you want to follow Jesus into today.

 

His divine power has granted to us
all things that pertain to life and godliness,
through the knowledge of him
who called us to his own glory and excellence.

-2 Peter 1:3

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By Ryan Paulson

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