“He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” -2 Thessalonians 1:8
A few days ago I mentioned the connection between obedience, the covenant, and the presence of God as illustrated in the Most Holy Place of the Israelite tabernacle.
I think there’s a connection between obedience and love. And it’s more than the causal connection we usually make, that, when a person loves God, she will naturally obey Him. I’m sure that’s part of it, but we can’t stop there. If love is a prerequisite for obedience, then how is she supposed to fall in love in the first place?
Obedience is a discipline that helps us relate to God. Participating in activities that God Himself participates in, and refraining from the things that God does not do (and experiencing all of the joy, sadness, and struggle inherent in that), is perhaps the most effective way to build a personal connection with God. It helps us to see things the way God sees them.
Imagine you’re in a long-distance relationship. How do you build a connection with your partner even when you can’t be around them? You communicate, of course: letters, emails, Skype and iMessage. But beyond that, how can you relate? How can you find material to talk about, and how can you see things the way your partner does?
You can relate by doing the things that your partner does.
He points out a great new dish he’s tried, so she tries making it. She keeps talking about a book she’s reading, so he reads it, too. One is learning a new language, so the other tries to pick up a few words.
When you don’t live together, you have to be more intentional about sharing experiences in order to form a connection. That’s the case with us and God.
And obedience does that.
“You do not fail in obedience through lack of love, but have lost love because you never attempted obedience.” -C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength, p. 145.