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Call me crazy, people often do, but just the same I have come to the conclusion that what lurks at the root of what ails us as a Western civilization is actually our unrelenting obedience. Perhaps it is a leftover of authoritarian parenting deeply rooted in our sub-conscious or perhaps it is a perversion being perpetrated and reinforced under the guise of faith, but regardless we people can be ridiculously obedient……to all the wrong things.

What “wrong things?” The World. The culture. The mainstream news. Our own comfort level. Advertisers. Influencers. Social pressure. Public Health officials. Politicians. Ideologues. Teachers. Cult leaders. Celebrities. So called “experts.” Fashion trends. Bullies. Drug dealers. Bank accounts. Music videos. Pencils pushers and bureaucrats. Our own perceived virtue. Social status.

Do people even think critically for their own self anymore? Don’t answer that, some realities are best just left unsaid.

I am of the mindset that we shall all answer for our own obedience, for what we choose to obey, and we shall be held accountable for it. Now, there is an abundant amount of grace that is poured out for us, I am just saying that some excuses like, “all the experts told me to” or “I was just following orders” or “I had no choice, I was coerced” or “everyone else was doing it” are likely going to be bogus. At the end of the day, they just don’t hold water.

When we elevate obedience itself to idol status, to the epitome of all virtue, and equate it with righteousness, with morality, as if it is the end all and be all of good behavior, we have made a grave error. The fruits of that error seem self evident to me in the world around us today. Rather then standing up against evil, we lecture others about the need for tolerance and compassion. Rather then fighting injustice, we pride ourselves on our pacifism and mumble rubbish about all sides being equal.

I came to this conclusion while standing on the blue x on the grocery store floor six feet apart from everyone, wearing my mask of compliance, struggling not to smile at anyone, not even in my imagination least they suddenly all fall dead.

I am most fortunate to have a long and pervasive abuse history. I am actually laughing, but I assure you, I can immediately spot the lie behind, “just comply faster and harder so we can get things back to normal again.”

Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Obedience actually means “to listen.” Without the renewal of our minds we cannot listen, we cannot hear. Without the ability to test the spirits, we can’t know who or what we are obeying. Without Christ in our lives, we have no ability to discern who or what to obey in the first place.

A good chunk of the population does not understand this truth which is why it is often so maddening to read or listen to pastors who insist on proclaiming obedience as if it were the highest of all virtues. People not only start to think they must now earn grace, the very act of obedience becomes a labor, a chore, with little or no thought about who or what they are obeying. The next thought is, I’ve earned my wages, I now demand my paycheck. Then real life happens and they walk away from faith because what they were sold was built on a lie. It doesn’t work because it isn’t true.

The Bible says, “my yoke is easy, my burden is light.” So if one is sweating out this obedience thing, struggling to get it up a hill, it is likely not of God. Something else is affixed to that load. Are you attempting to obey the expectations of others? Are you trying to earn favor? I have no idea, I just know the Bible says “light and easy.” So if it’s heavy and hard, something has gone all awry. Set those rocks down at the foot of the cross and let the Lord repack that load for you.

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