And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

According to one online dictionary, to be obedient is “to comply with or to be submissive to authority.”  Admittedly that does not sound terribly exciting; nor does it seem to speak to an attitude of the heart. On the contrary, I can see how—according to that definition—obedience can be described as simple duty. In other words, it can appear to be something that is engaged in solely because the one being obedient feels under compulsion to do so.

The 17th century French essayist Francois de la Rochefoucald once wrote that it was a great virtue to be able to submit in obedience to good leadership. I think he was certainly on to something with that statement. For as much as we naturally want to do things our own way and “be our own person,” there is great value in learning how to yield to greater power and authority. It behooves us to learn to be followers—obedient followers—in order that we develop into the people that we want to be.

In the text above, Paul illustrates for us—using the perfect example of Jesus—the necessity of submission to that which is greater than us. Specifically, Paul tells us of the obedience of Jesus, and obedience that held firm even through the most difficult of times. Jesus was obedient even when—especially when!—everything and (seemingly) everyone was against him. He entrusted himself to the Father. Ultimately, Paul goes on to describe, everyone will bow down before Jesus and will confess him.

Obedience is far more than simple duty—it is an expression of the love we have for the Father. It is a demonstration of our trust in God.


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