Submission and Obedience


Every spring the marshy area across the road from our house became a wealth of exciting new life. Magical fairy shrimp abounded. Tadpoles hatched and ate their hearts out on pond life as their tails grew shorter, legs budded from their torsos and soon transformed to frogs and toads. Young crayfish found tasty tiny edibles as they crawled along the marsh bottom.

Low-growing bushes thrived at the water's edge. Red-winged black birds wove their nests among the branches and laid their speckled eggs in the grassy lining. Treasures all!

Though I was supposed to keep my feet dry from the cold snow-melt water in what we fondly called 'the swamp,' and though I wore tall boots...I always teased the water depth, daring it to pour over my boot tops as I went just one step farther to peer into a bird nest or to dip my jar into the water to trap a few more swimming creatures.

My yen to explore was always in opposition to the depth of the swamp water. Much as I remembered my mother's admonition to stay dry, I simply had to tempt the water not to flow into my boots! Just one step more--and oops! I was slogging in pond water INSIDE my boots! I had gone too far--too late!

I believe some Christians live their lives similarly. Their new life in Christ is fresh and wonderful but many intriguing, tempting things the world offers lure them to get as close to them as they dare. They hate to let go of the things they enjoyed in their 'pre-salvation' life. Much to their detriment, they try to hold the world in one hand and God in the other! For a while it may work, but once they go past the point of 'no return,' it's too late. They're ensnared in the world Jesus called them out of! Their boots are full of water!

No matter how intriguing the swamp's life was to me, its presence posed a problem of obedience. Would I obey the caution my mother gave me or would I test the limits too far and invariably get wet? I usually came home soaked, much to my mother's chagrin! She wanted me to stay healthy and not take cold!

God is not like an earthly parent. His parameters for obedience are not negotiable. The commandments He has given us are for our instruction, guidance and good, so we can please Him and feed the flame of the Holy Spirit within us. Obeying these directions is our part of the deal. God guides us, but we must exert our wills to observe them and walk in their direction.

God is patient, but He is not permissive. He gives His children time to learn His will and to change their minds in thinking and acting. His Holy Spirit guides that process. As long as we obey the Spirit in our walk, we are growing and learning the ways of God. The Bible calls it "walking in the Light..."

It is possible, too possible, to ignore or presume on the Spirit's kindness to try to walk our own path while professing to follow God's leading. It just doesn't work. If we continue to live according to our former life patterns, we become entrapped in them and must seek His forgiveness and repent or die spiritually.

Determine that you will not tempt the Holy Spirit by pushing the envelope to see how much you can get away with. Instead, follow hard after God in obedience. Get as close to Him as you can. Read and meditate on His Word. Talk with Him in prayer. Tell others of your new life in Christ. If you do, you will become more like Christ---and that is God's desire for you.

Stay away from the swamp. If you do, you won't even need boots!

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Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE ®
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