Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men! The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead–whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.” – Acts 5:29-32 (NIV)
“Obey.” Talk about a word that has lost its popularity. Think about how many times you have heard the word used in the last week, or try to remember the last time you heard someone use the term without it being negative. Somehow our culture came to believe the word was oppressive and limiting. You don’t hear it very often in wedding vows, even though it is in the Scriptures. Obedience is for soldiers and pets, but not for us, right?
The truth is that we obey all the time; we just don’t always choose to obey. Before Adam and Eve fell they had to choose to disobey. Once sin entered into the mix, humanity has to choose to be obedient to God because our default setting is obedience to sin. If we are not conscious of this reality, we may find ourselves satisfying the desires of our sinful natures instead of obeying God, and we must obey God.
If we are to be useful tools in His hands, we must obey God. If we are to be godly husbands and wives and sons and daughters and mothers and fathers, we must obey God. If we want to change the world, we must obey God so that we can be changed first.
Peter knew the price of disobedience. He knew the pain and agony of denying the truth. His testimony here is a warning sign to all of us to be careful that obedience to God doesn’t get derailed by anything else. If God says, “Love your neighbor,” then we must love our neighbors, no matter how difficult that may be. Peter knew that any obedience he could offer to God was nothing compared to the obedience of Christ who saved him and called him to be His disciple. We must obey because God is worthy of our obedience.
Lord, help me to understand and live out a life in obedience to You. Keep my eyes and ears from being distracted by anything that would draw me away from obeying You and Your word. Teach me the discipline of obedience. Amen.