Obedience – a natural response to sacrificial love

One of my favorite passages in the Bible is the one that talks about wives obeying their husbands in Ephesians 5. In my single days such an ordinance was offensive to my very independent ears. “Me, obey a man! Yeah, right!” It made me LOL before “LOL” was even a thing. However, in the beautiful context this passage is written, I understand the depth of meaning behind it. I am to submit to my husband the way the Church submits to Jesus. In the same breath, my husband is to sacrifice himself for me the way Jesus sacrificed himself for the Church. It’s a circle of loving submission:  Jesus for the Church, the Church to Jesus // Andrew for me, me to Andrew.

Obedience is quite simple when we are asked to obey someone who loves us beyond measure, and when that person has sacrificed everything for us. For example, submitting to Andrew is simple for me, because he almost always has my best life in mind when he makes decisions. His decisions are rarely selfish; they are intended to lift me up and keep me from harm. In turn, if he ever asks anything of me, his love for me assures me that obedience is safe and for my best life. Andrew’s love is great, but it’s not comparable to Christ’s love for me.

When Christ asks us for obedience, his expectation always comes from a depth of love that is incomprehensible. Sometimes it is hard to trust that obedience to God’s commands is the best choice, especially when our selfishness and brokenness want so desperately to make the decisions for us. But what we are quick to dismiss is how it is always disobedience to God that gets us into trouble, and that we cry to him when we suffer the natural consequences for the poor choices we made that were in clear defiance of his commands. When we disobey, we are effectively telling God, “I know what you say, but I don’t care, I know what is best for me.”

All of God’s commands are in place for our good, for our protection, for our ability to live our best lives—they are given out of sacrificial love. Maybe if remember that our obedience is to the One who loves us more than we love ourselves, it will help us keep obedience in perspective!