The Great ‘Nevertheless’

And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.

I John 3:22

It is quite an amazing, though foolish, statement the Pharaoh, of Egypt declares in Exodus 5:2– “Who is the LORD, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, nor will I let Israel go.” Now contrast what Paul reveals about says about Jesus, the King of Kings– “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Quite a contrast between one famed for making slaves of men and building monuments to self, and the other freeing men from the bondage of sin and going to the cross! I am so thankful for the attitude of Jesus, in agony praying from a small Olive orchard, who said “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours be done.” It was from there He went to the cross to bear my sins and those of the whole world.

In reflection on this contrast of the arrogance of Pharaoh and the humility of Jesus, consider the above First John verse. John Stott suggests– “John does not mean to imply that God hears and answers our prayers merely for the subjective reason that we have a clear conscience and an uncondemning heart. There is an objective, moral reason, namely because we keep His commandments, and, more generally, do those things that are pleasing in His sight. Obedience is the indispensable condition, not the meritorious cause, of answered prayer.”

I was greatly encouraged to be reminded of the refreshment and goodness of obedience. From those who’ve written on the great theme of godly obedience:

The best measure of a spiritual life is not its ecstasies but its obedience. Oswald Chambers

Chambers also writes– “The most remarkable thing about the mastership of Jesus Christ is that He never insists on being Master. We often feel that if only He would insist, we would obey Him. Obedience to Jesus Christ is essential, but never compulsory; He will never take means to make me obey Him. Jesus Christ will always make up for my deficiencies; He always forgives my disobedience; but if I am going to be a disciple, it is essential for me to obey him.”

The surest evidence of our love to Christ is obedience to the laws of Christ. Love is the root, obedience is the fruit. Matthew Henry

It is a vain thought to flee from the work that God appoints us, for the sake of finding a greater blessing, instead of seeking it where alone it is found– in loving obedience. George Eliot

Obedience means marching right on whether we feel like it or not. Many times we go against our feelings. Faith is one thing, feeling is another. D. L. Moody