The School of Obedience

  • Dec. 4, 2014
  • #8504

Life is a learning process and if you're a Christian, you're enrolled in a school of obedience to God.

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with a lesson from the school of obedience.

And if you’re the follower of Jesus Christ, you, my friend, are enrolled in that school. Just listen to Hebrews chapter 5, verses 7-9. It says:

"During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him." (Hebrews 5:7-9)

Oh, my goodness, there are lots of lessons packed into those couple of verses, but let me just focus on one. Although there were tough things, hard things in Jesus life which made him weep and cry loudly; although there were disappointments and difficult challenges through which he wrestled and struggled, still, with all this Jesus obeyed; and He did so (it says) in reverent submission. In fact, the passage in Hebrews goes so far as to say that He learned obedience from what He suffered. Now whether or not obedience came naturally (or supernaturally) to Jesus is for theologians to argue; but what is important to note is that His obedience in the midst of suffering showed to Jesus something in the flesh; something to be experienced; something to be drawn from. And the key? Jesus submitted Himself to that school of obedience.

When we become Christians, God enrolls us in the same school. The trouble is we want to have our cake and eat it, too. We want to follow Christ and learn His lessons; but we squirm at the idea of picking up a cross every day in order to grasp those lessons. We are like the person who really, really loves living in Florida because of the weather, but has a terrific scholarship to a university in New England. We want both! We want Christ and we want the deep insights of following Him — but we don’t want the suffering that invariably comes with it. We all face that crisis every day — a crisis of deciding between two worlds when we would dearly love to live in both. We want Jesus and we want His intimacy and insights but we don’t want to make the tough, painful choice to obey Him reverently in our hardships.

That's why obedience must be learned. If Jesus was schooled in obedience from what He suffered, shall the servant be greater than his Master? At times we may be like the young boy who, when disciplined by his father, complains, "He's making me suffer because he doesn't want me having any fun!" Actually, what God is doing is getting our minds off the toys and the fun games of this world and teaching us tough obedience in preparation for the next.

So what does this school of obedience look like? In what are we to obey?! Well, avoid all appearances of evil. Don’t complain when affliction comes. Let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth. Don’t grumble at disappointments in life, or the people that cause them. Count others better than yourself. Rejoice in suffering. Forgive seventy times seven. Don't let the sun set on your anger. In everything give thanks and welcome that trial as a friend — and on and on and on and on. Friend, our Savior has set a marvelous example of obedience and the great news about the Good News is that you’re not following a list of do’s and don’ts, you’re following the Man of Sorrows acquainted with grief and the Lord of Joy who gives you all the grace you need for every single challenge. So, friend, let school begin and start obey!

© Joni and Friends


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