I ran across the following, it is something I wrote over 7 years ago. “Everything we know about Jesus tells us that everything he did was in obedience to the father. St. Paul said, ‘As by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous.’ (Rom 5:19). We tend to believe that obedience to God is impossible, too difficult, but Jesus came to show the way. With “perseverance” all that Jesus does we may do also.”
Interestingly I found this passage in some notes I kept during the Lent of 2004, and the notes contained no further context. Coincidently, I had been confronted with the concept of obedience a lot recently. I watched an early Audrey Hepburn film called The Nun’s Story. It was based on a true story of a nun in Europe who was constantly confronted with the concept of obedience by her Superiors and the Church, leading up to World War 2. It gave an amazingly two-sided view of the Rules of her Order competing with her desires to serve God in her own way. Then, I attended a wedding where once again I listened to a wonderful couple agree to love, honor, and “obey.” Finally, I witnessed, two 2 year old dynamos, challenge the concept of obedience in their own angelic but obstinate ways.
I don’t know if I agree with St. Paul that we inherit Adam’s original sin. I think I do a fine enough job with sinning all by myself. I do believe as I noted several years ago, Jesus did show us the path toward obedience, but I am not sure I agree with my own words when I said, “With perseverance all that Jesus did we can do also.”
My problem is two-fold. First is my internal instinct to rebel when I am told to obey. Immediately when I hear the word “obey” my back gets bowed. Do you think that is innate in all of us? It certainly arrives by year two. The second is Jesus had very little doubt as to his marching orders. Audrey Hepburn’s orders were clear as well. In my case on the other hand, I am still looking for that “burning bush.” There are times where God’s path is clear and obedience, although difficult, is possible because we know what to do. Where obedience get’s cloudy is when the path is hidden or in Audrey’s case the path didn’t seem to make sense. She wasn’t sure whether her problem with obeying was her ego getting in the way, as the other nuns told her she was doing.
Bottom line, to paraphrase Michael Douglass in The American President. “Obedience is not easy, it is going to put up a fight.” Looking back on my words several years ago, I should have added to “perseverance” the words “sweat, and tears.” But the outcome is the same – “we may do so also,” and with our perseverance, sweat and tears God is well pleased.