The Anger of Obedience
By. Jeanice Sherai
Therefore, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, so now, not only in my presence but even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
Philippians 2: 12 CSB
It’s not fair!
Have you ever spoken those words? I have.
Have you ever been called to be kind and gentle with those who are constantly and steadily persecuting you with their words or actions? I have.
Have you ever been reminded that Love is indeed patient right when you are letting God know what you are not going to do and how you will no longer deal with “that” issue, person or place again? I have.
Doesn't it always “seem” as though the one’s exhibiting this behavior, that God is just "allowing" them to continue forward in what we perceive as their complete ignorance and disobedience?
When we are faced with such trials, it seems as though, “they” can get away with it, but He is constantly reminding the one who is enduring, how exactly they should behave (*deep sigh).
Yet, what I’ve learned is that we rarely know the personal battles that those we encounter in our day are truly battling.
We don’t know their story, but we do know ours.
If I think back and I don’t have to think back to very long ago, if I were to be completely honest. I’m truly thankful for a God whose grace covered me in the places where I was not always kind and I most definitely wasn’t gentle with the people I encountered nor the people who genuinely loved me.
It’s not fair!
No, I guess in times of mistreatment and unfairness, in human terms, it really isn’t. No one wants to endure mistreatment. No one wants to endure unfairness. No one wants to truly endure, no matter the situation.
No one wants to stay in a race where they can’t see the finish line or truly know if they will even make it to that place. No one wants to remain obedient, when being obedient comes with such a cost.
I agree some situations especially with our understanding and vision, definitely do not seem fair.
It’s not fair!
It may not ”seem” fair, but one thing we know for sure is… when the command is most definitely God’s.
We know when God is commanding us to stretch ourselves further than we ever imagined and love a person who we believe does not deserve our love. We know when God is commanding us to be kind to a person who is constantly being petty and snarky in their behavior and responses.
We know when God is commanding us to help a person who constantly seems to be against us in every form and fashion.
The enemy won’t encourage you to kindness when you would rather punch someone in their face (*side-eye). The enemy won’t encourage gentleness when the people we encounter keep causing us anger.
The truth of the matter is that a lot of times what does not “seem” fair to us, is completely reliant upon our limited vision and our lack of understanding.
We try our best to get our earthly minds to wrap around a MIND that is so much BIGGER.
God commands us in His word to “Lean not on our own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5) for a reason.
I believe that in the Book of Isaiah there is a perfect example as to why we shouldn’t lean on our own understanding.
In Isaiah, God’s word tells us that “His thoughts are not like our thoughts, nor are His ways like our ways" (Isaiah 55:8). We are trying to comprehend the ways of a God who does not think nor act as we do.
Our vision is limited and it’s limited even more in these moments of frustration.
All we can see is how this or that situation is negatively impacting us TODAY, but God is looking at a much bigger picture.
He is able to see the entire span of time that human beings have on Earth and every single thing He’s set out to accomplish in that time.
What does that mean?
It means that the heart of the person on your job that keeps lying on you and persecuting you for no good reason, could be changed by your obedience to show gentleness in a place where you are incredibly angry.
They may never change in your presence, but one day they could think back to the person they met that was always kind and patient with them despite what they did in return. That memory alone could humble them and change their life completely.
That moment of reflection could be the moment that saves their soul and suddenly they become as fervent as Paul, turning from persecuting those who followed Christ to preaching to those who were once like them and encouraging them to follow Jesus.
Your obedience to God’s instructions could be the seed they need to spark this change.
What if you are a part of the plan of their salvation?
What if God wrote you into their story?
What if He sent YOU to plant seeds that will one day save and change the trajectory of their entire life?
Would that change your perspective of the places that God is asking you to be obedient even in your lack of understanding?
What’s your example?
Where are you battling with obedience and angry because of what God is instructing you to do in this season?
Is it in a CALL He’s placed on your life?
Why would He choose you for that call? He knows who you are and what you’ve endured! Why would He lead you to the very place that hurt you the most to serve Him in?
Why would God choose that path for you when He knows this does not fit who He created? Why would He call you to speak boldly when He knows He created an introvert who is indeed fully and completely shy and hates public speaking?
Why would He call you to serve in an industry or job with people who refuse to bend or be changed. Why would He lead you to be nice to a friend, relative, or husband/wife who continues to constantly ridicule the very person God created you to be?
Again, I agree, in our eyes these situations most definitely don't "seem" fair.
Yet, I wonder if Jesus had the very same thoughts as He was charged to carry His own cross to a place where He would be persecuted and killed in order to pay the debts for our sins?
It certainly was not fair.
He was called to die.
To die in the most brutal way.
To die for a people that were then and would continue now to constantly reject His very being and His instructions throughout their life.
I agree it’s not fair. It definitely doesn’t seem fair at least.
It is not fair, trust me, I agree.
The things we must do in order to fully walk into our destiny a lot of times does just not seem fair.
Yet do you believe that even if the circumstances are not fair, God is?
Do you believe that eventually you will look back and understand why you had to endure what you did? What if that full understanding won’t come until you enter the gates of Heaven? Will you serve Him steadfastly and with commitment to His commands and Way, anyway?
I agree, sometimes life is simply not fair.
There is sometimes no explanation as to why we must battle with the things God places in our life. There is sometimes no explanation as to why we are chosen to be the bigger person in certain situations. There is sometimes no explanation for the tragedies we face in life.
I won’t try to offer you an explanation, I am in agreement, sometimes life is simply just not fair……. But God is.
Where are you yelling in life, “God it’s not fair?”
Where is your constant grumbles standing as delayed obedience?
Today, I dare you to decide it may not be fair, but God is, and go forward with what He’s commanded you to do with no delay.
In Philippians 2:12 Paul is encouraging the Philippians to continue to be obedient concerning what they have learned whether he is there with them or not. He tells them to work out their salvation with fear and trembling. He is basically saying be obedient to God’s commands because after all it is God who is working in you to do His will.
Paul encourages them to be obedient without grumbling so that they can be considered blameless and pure. As Paul goes on teaching on obedience and salvation there was something in Philippians 2:15 that immediately caught my eye.
Paul encourages the Philippians to be obedient without complaining so that they can be an example for those who are in darkness. So that they can shine like a light in a world that is filled with evil, crooked ways, and destruction.
He encourages them to be obedient without complaint, so that the people that surround them will have an example of obedience to look to on Earth.
How are you appearing to the people around you?
When God asks us to do things, whether we understand it or not, there is always a REASON.