By: Kristen Oliver
I’ve been a Christian for 24 years now. Just recently I’ve been thinking, “Why is obeying God so Hard?” Shouldn’t it be easy once we are saved? We should WANT to obey the almighty God we believe in. But once you spend a day, an hour or even a minute as a Christian, you will realize acting in faith is hard.
Hebrews 8 says, “I will put my laws into their minds and write them on their hearts.”
With our new hearts we find that serving God is our greatest joy! However when our hearts are not changed, following God’s rules will be unpleasant and difficult. We will rebel against being told how to live. The Holy Spirit however, gives us new desires, helping us to want to obey God (vs. 10).
Obeying God is hard because we have to distinguish between our personal desires and God’s.
Acting on my feeling only help temporarily and actually end up making me feel worse in the end. Instead of following what my feelings tell me, I’m trying to intentionally recognize when these feelings occur. When I’m feeling anxious and stressed my mind goes into autopilot. “Kristen you need food to make you feel better.” Or, “Kristen you should runaway from these problems, ignore them, pretend you are perfect, nothing is really wrong.” Instead of the junk food I’m craving in the moment, I want to want, a healthy option.
Obeying God is a lot like our desire to want to eat healthy. We know its good for us, we know we should, we know in the end it would be better if we did, but sometimes, probably most times, we decide just once wont hurt. Unfortunately, over time it hurts, and it causes damage that we have to go back and fix, spiritually and physically.
These are the tater tots I made because I was stressed and planned on eating them all. Then I started praying and writing and afterwards I felt much better and the overwhelming desire to eat them passed! (VICTORY!)
2. Obeying God is hard because the world distracts us.
“Our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the authorities , against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12
I am constantly reminding myself that our battle is NOT with other people, it’s with Satan, and the evil desires he temps us with. You see if we are arguing, fighting and disagreeing with one another, we are distracted from what God wants us to do. God asks us to simply, bring our requests to him, not everyone else! The way we stay focused on God, and not the world, is by combating negative thoughts with prayer and scripture. Believe me when I say feelings of stress and anxiety are TEMPORARY but God’s word is everlasting and powerful!
3. Obeying God is hard because our hearts can become hardened.
Obeying God is not easy. It is hard, because my flesh constantly desires things that temporarily satisfy me. My soul is being suffocated by food and anger and with every impulsive worldly decision our hearts grow harder and harder. The author of Hebrews warns against hardness of heart because it makes repentance inconceivable for the sinner (6:6). Our hearts are the wellspring of life and need to be fed, just like our physical bodies. I’ve said this in previous posts, don’t believe your feelings, they lie! They lead to a hard heart!
When I was 19, I read a book that introduced me to the idea that my feelings lie. It’s called Lies Women Believe.
So when you are struggling with obeying God, try and rest in Him for a minute. Take a deep breath. Remind yourself that those immediate desires, like overeating and running from problems, (or whatever yours may be), will only mask the issue and create a worse problem later on. No matter how much you don’t “feel” like it, read the Bible , pray, and listen to worship music. Allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you. I promise you will feel lighter. Just by taking one step you are on your way to a better version of yourself. I don’t know about you, but my biggest enemy is myself. I’m determined to beat the old me! What about you?
By the way, this is a process. I am still learning and trying to do better, because I often fail, and then I try again. That’s what matters.