"My life is a canvas; obedience the paintbrush. I am yours, I am yours"
The lyrics ran through my head and they took me back to a summer evening in Montana, gathered with friends around a campfire singing out the songs in our hearts. My friend Noah sang these words out and they hit me then. But they hit me again a couple days ago even harder.
What if obedience is just being His?
When did obedience become an ugly thing? We hear the word and almost cringe. It sounds like fulfilling obligatory duties. Doing just because we have to, not because we have an all-consuming desire to do so.
Jesus said the most important commandment is to, "LOVE the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength" (Mark 12:28-30).
What if we redefined obeying God to simply loving Him?
"Come to me."
"Abide in me."
"Dwell with me."
God is beckoning us in. He is constantly and earnestly asking us to just love on Him, to just be with Him. It is His deepest desire. Not because He needs us, but because he wants us. Because He is madly and deeply in love with us.
When we search for Him, we find Him. And when we find Him, we find Love.
I found Love when I obeyed. And this obedience is not merely observing God's commands. It is actively loving Him... It is coming to Him. It is abiding in Him. It is dwelling with Him. There is no need to over-complicate things with fancy formulas and strategies.
Mere discipline might keep our eyes on God for a while, but discipline alone cannot be what propels us. A revelation of my Father's love for me keeps me in a hot pursuit of Him, always wanting more. This love keeps me going and going and going, even when my strength is nonexistent. Discovering this love is what fuels every detail of life. And I discover more every moment I spend with Him! Every time I simply obey Him, every time I just BE with Him. He drenches me with love unlike anything I've ever experienced.
And pretty soon this love infects every fiber of my being, and it starts to move outside of myself. Loving God and loving people become a simultaneous dance; they are inseparable. We can truly love people when we soak up the overflow of love God has for us. And the only way to pour out this love is to first love Him and be loved by Him. Everything is centered around this obedience. Just loving Him.
What if obedience is the tool that paints an extravagantly beautiful story on our canvases of life?
Obedience doesn't bind us up in a boring life, like I once thought. It brings freedom. It allows us to surrender ourselves, our canvases, to the Great Artist who does not make mistakes. It grants Him permission to join us in painting an incomparable story. Obedience allows God to gently place His hand on ours, guiding every brushstroke. What would your life look like if you were co-creating with the Creator of the universe?
What if your life became a story of you falling more in love every day instead of just doing the right thing?
James 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you