I want to be like Jesus. I want to respond to hardship like He did. The Father was so pleased with the obedience of His Son that He commented on it from His throne—and they heard it on earth. Had to be loud. What is going on in His head? The same thing going on in mine when Karis would obey quickly and accurately.

I decided I would go after the hard words, not just the easy ones. Then I realized they were all hard. None can be obeyed by will power. Try this one: “Be anxious about nothing.” Are you kidding?

As a young girl, Karis often played on the floor in my study. When Karen would call her from the kitchen, she would immediately get up and run toward her saying, “Coming.” I cannot forget it. It was instant obedience. We used to tell our children, “Slow obedience is no obedience.” She was not slow.
Neither was Jesus. He desired only to do the will of His Father. Nothing successfully pushed against Him to resist. The kings of the earth resisted (Psalm 2), but not this King.

“I do exactly as the Father has commanded me” (John 14:31). He obeyed instantly and accurately. Saul did not obey accurately. Partial obedience is total disobedience. God doesn’t give half credit.

Daniel got the attention of heaven. He “resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s rich food” (1:8). (Hey, what’s wrong with Creampuffs?) Daniel chose to listen to the quiet promptings of the Spirit and didn’t dismiss them when Ashpenaz said it wouldn’t work. “Okay then, pass the cheesecake.” He came up with a plan to obey God, not a way to manipulate an easy alternative. Careful obedience rather than pushing the limits brings wisdom. Get over it—you’re not the exception! Daniel’s obedience was cumulative, and it made for incredible influence in the world.

Mary signed up. Obedience trusts. “Let it be to me according to your word.” Statements like that become wall plaques. Such remarkable obedience. Can we sign you up?

Her husband Joseph resisted his natural inclination and obeyed the dream, then lived with Mary in purity for nine months. Call it self-control or extraordinary obedience. My heart aches for that. I don’t want more freedom; I want more obedience. If you are looking for permission, quit thinking about being used by God. You will slump into mediocrity and your generation will not take notice. But if you are searching for more ways to awaken responsive love, get ready to change your environment. There is no legalism in this at all. Love trumps it.

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