Why is Simply Following God’s Directions So Hard to Do?

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It is difficult to come up with an answer to that question. It is amazing how consistent we are. Left to our own devices, we invariably think we have a better idea of how to live than the detailed instructions our Father left for us in the Bible. He told us, in great detail, how families function, how the church meets and is organized, and the task and limits of our civil government. Why is it so hard to just do what Daddy says!

But we don’t think that way. We simply follow, very naturally, in the footsteps of our ancestors, Adam and Eve. God gave them the whole world over which they were to rule, with one specific exception: “Don’t eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.” With all the other trees in the Garden to eat from, what’s so hard about that?

There was a good reason why God gave Adam and Eve that directive, but they didn’t “understand,” and they didn’t need to—just do what Daddy says! 

The reason they didn’t need to understand is that good and evil is in God’s realm, not man’s. Before the Fall, Adam and Eve didn’t know anything about “good and bad,” “right or wrong.” They just did what their Creator told them to do. They knew nothing else. Satan’s temptation was to get them to move away from that life of trusting God to lead them, into a life of deciding for themselves what to do. As Satan told them, “In the day you eat of it (the fruit from the Tree) your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5). “You won’t need God anymore! You can make your own ‘good decisions.’”

Adam and Eve fell for it and did as Satan suggested. They began a quest for their independence from needing God. However, instead, they simply transferred their dependence on God to dependence on Satan, actually becoming his slaves (Romans 6:16).  

And so, we, all of Adam’s descendants, have lived, from the Fall to the Cross, the whole time making what we thought were “our own decisions,” while Satan laughed at us as he ruled over us as the “god of this world.” The Old Testament is the record of our utter failure.

But in the “fullness of time” (Galatians 4:4), Jesus arrived on the scene to save the world from Satan’s rule (John 3:17). In middle Eastern poetic language, John tells us In Revelation 1 what he saw in a vision, “One like the Son of Man” (vs. 13), who was ready for war: “Out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength” (vs. 16). 

As a man, the Son of Man, Jesus battled Satan for 33 years and finally defeated him at the cross, taking back the kingdom of this earth that Satan had tricked Adam and Eve into giving him. Jesus now rules as King over heaven and earth from His Father’s right hand, and will do so “till His enemies are made His footstool” (Hebrews 10:13). The war is over. The outcome has been settled. Satan is no longer legally the “god of this world.” 

However, Satan’s guerrilla resistance fighters remain. They refuse to accept the outcome of the war.They are desperately fighting to delay the realization of what is already true in fact—Jesus is now, since His coronation at the Ascension, Lord Of Heaven and Earth and all that is in it.

So, wherever we go and whatever we do, we are at war. Everyday, we go to battle, armed with the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy and peace) and the sword of the Spirit (the Word of God). Everyday, through us, Jesus is making what is true in fact—Satan was finally and forever defeated at the cross—real in experience, here on the earth. We are doing nothing but standing and proclaiming what is true. We are just doing what Daddy says!

The first battleground we face is the family.

The family is the foundation of everything God is doing, because, as we saw last week in “The Ship of the Kingdom” diagram, it supplies responsible, well-trained young people for the church, civil government and the marketplace, God’s other agents for extending His rule. Without a well-functioning family, everything else in the kingdom will, eventually, over time, fall apart, and God’s plan is greatly hindered. That is why Satan’s most crucial and damaging counter-attack is on the family.

He attacks, particularly, the biblical role of the father. There is no more vilified, ridiculed and despised word in our culture today than the word “patriarchy” (a form of social organization in which the father is the supreme authority in the family” – I can almost feel the sneer in that modern definition from an online dictionary. Why not use the word “final” instead of “supreme,” a much more precise definition?). However, we will see that, in order to do its job in God’s kingdom, the family must function as a patriarchy!

Let’s find out how God tells us fathers to properly express that authority, so we can then do just what Daddy says. The following is but a brief mention of the information in two chapters on this topic in my book, The Family, God’s Weapon for Victory. 

The first foundational thing God tells us as husband to do is “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Ephesians 5:25). “Of course I love my wife, or I would not have married her” we say, until we run up against the definition of Christ’s love for the church referred to in this verse. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 describes this love, including “it (love) takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong] (vs. 5, AMPC)

Do I “love” my wife with this kind of love, agape love, as God clearly tells me to do? Get serious! Who can do that?

The other foundational thing God tells us to do as husbands and fathers is to lead our wives and children with strong, firm decision-making, for ultimately that’s what leadership is—decision-making. We are the heads of our families (1 Corinthians 11:3). After listening to our wives and children, we must make the final decision about the family’s direction.That responsibility is ours alone. God holds us completely accountable for how we rule over it. We are each to be a husband who “rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence”  (1 Timothy 3:4). 

So, “love” and “lead” are the two components of biblical, family leadership that the husband must provide. Leadership without love is tyrannical and oppressive; love without leadership is weak and contemptible. Jesus’ rule was consistently characterized by both, and frankly, when I am honest with myself, I have neither! What do I do?

I can only cry out with the tax collector in the Temple in Jesus’ parable, “Oh God, be merciful to me, a sinner,” and remember that He already was merciful—at the cross—and that mercy never wavers! Believing that God has answered that simple prayer is the faith that releases the Holy Spirit in my life to rule just as He did—with overwhelming, agape love and uncompromising, confident leadership!

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