Obedience to God is by a certain reason. If that reason is not with us, no matter what we do or aim to do, it is not obeying Him. Many times we see people take decisions to follow the Lord, to seek and glorify Him with all their heart, and yet, end up not doing them. They made decisions toward full obedience, and they obeyed in part. We know partial obedience is nothing but disobedience. It is Satan’s ploy to make one believe he has done something for the Lord when in fact, he broke his commitment midway. We ourselves at one time have been that way. Why is it that some are able to fully obey the Lord God and others unable to do the same? The answer lies in these words of the psalmist. “Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have ransomed me, O LORD, God of truth” (Ps. 31:5).
The reason many partially obey is they do not hold on to the truth that the Lord ransomed them. They laid it aside. In other words, they are not feeding from and through it. When they believed in the God of truth for salvation, it was with the knowledge that He does not and cannot change. They knew that once He ransomed them He does not set aside the truth in ransoming them. What does it say? The God of truth will always hold on to the ransom He made for the one that believed Him. He will always refer to it when dealing with that one. When they set aside this knowledge, it naturally becomes their way to obey Him in part. It is by this alone that they miss the valuables of intimate relationship with Him. The weakness in them for partial obedience conveys the kind of commitments or decisions they make; it reveals their mindset. Their commitments are of the mind that is according to the flesh. Satan imposes on them for such commitments so that they dishonor God.
On the other hand, those who obey the Lord commit their spirit to Him. This bestows on them the valuables of intimate relationship with Him. The reason they commit their spirit to Him is they do not wish to give weakness an opportunity to bring forth partial obedience in them. They allow the Lord to make decisions or commitments for them. They understood the meaning of being ransomed by Him, i.e. He bought them and they belong to Him, and they are only there to do that which He wants. You see, when we commit our spirit to Him, we no longer guide ourselves, but God who entrusts to us His ways. We will not fail; for weakness is replaced by the strength of God for obedience. Therefore, we stand even in turbulent times. We are not perplexed by the things we face. We full well know that God is in control of all things working all things for our good. Listen, the only time for fear or perplexity is when we make decisions according to the flesh. And then it is only a matter of time to go from disappointment to disappointment like those who obey in part.
We who commit our spirit to God will be victorious in all the things He appointed us, for we follow the Lord. “Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap” (Luke 21:34). Because our ways are from God, we bend toward being on guard at all times. This is the spirit of obedience in us. Consider the disciples who first heard these words. Then, look at what they were by the end of their life. It is very obvious they were never weighted down with dissipation, drunkenness and worries of life. And the reason is they committed themselves to the Lord so that they can obey Him. They never said, “what if we are not on guard, since we are saved?” You see, this question did not exist for them; for they knew full well the meaning of being ransomed. Does this mean they never transgressed? No. But when one committed himself to the Lord, though he falls, the spirit of obedience in him turns him to Him to continue by His strength. This is a privilege and is not availed for all.
Committing our spirit to God is the key to acquiring the spirit of obedience. It is an attribute we cultivate by having a desire for it. The more we desire it, the more we commit our spirit to God for it and the more we reap from Him because of it. God desires we obey Him, but does not wish to force us for it. Yet, when we flee from obeying Him, He disciplines us that His calling is not dishonored. A good example for this is Jonah. In essence, obedience is doing good to God. It is staying away from sin and rebellion which collaborates with committing our spirit to God. And the Spirit through Paul said, “But glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rom. 2:10). These are the valuables of intimate relationship with Him.
Christians are rebellious when they make decisions or commitments according to the flesh. In striving for them they make unwise decisions that lead them to improper things and thereby, sin against God. Failing to fulfill a commitment to honor God brings Him dishonor and it is sin. They will surely fail when their decisions lack God’s approval. The glory, honor and peace of God are not at all understood until one begins to obtain them. The joy and confidence obtained from them is entirely different to what one would get from them when they are not from God. They give an everlasting satisfaction. And Paul makes this statement. “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called” (Eph. 4:1). The Spirit in him offers exposition to the heartfelt words of the psalmist. In other words, he is begging us to walk in a manner worthy of the purpose we received from God; he is asking to commit our spirit to Him. When he called himself the Lord’s prisoner, he meant he too does the same. The manner in which the Lord guided him is still with us and is proof for his extraordinary spirit of obedience.
Whether it was David or Paul, each had a purpose from God. So, first of all, it is utterly important we are confident we have it. Then, as we commit our spirit to Him, we would know how to walk in a manner worthy of that calling. To this manner the Spirit in Paul urges us, because it is the truth and by it God is glorified; we receive glory, honor and peace. Yet, if one is without His purpose, he or she can never commit their spirit to Him. For the way to Him is shut. Knowing they are directionless He does not intend to guide them and be the cause for turning them into waves tossed by the sea. The surety for having His purpose is in the attitude we continue to display. It is the attitude of Christ. “They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha” (John 19:17).
Christ had the spirit of obedience, since He first committed Himself to God. He knew that to bear His own cross is God’s purpose to Him. And He received from God to walk in a manner worthy of it. He had zeal for His Father’s house. He desired the spirit of obedience and cultivated it. God seeing His unmatchable obedience rewarded Him. So, Jesus being confident was always firm to do works for the glory of God. Corresponding to this the Scripture notes, “But Jesus said to them, ‘they do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!’” (Matt. 14:16). He did not want to send the crowd away, for He knew there’s no need for it. He knew that which He would do. But, He spoke these words to make use of the opportunity presented and tested His disciples to see if they look to Him. God enabled Him to glorify Him that day.
To have been ransomed by God has deeply placed meaning. The God of truth will be the basis to commit our spirit to Him. He provides to acquire the spirit of obedience, an attitude that gives confidence in His purpose to us. He rewards us accordingly that we do works for His glory. And remember partial obedience arouses Him to refer back to the ransom He made for us and we will be found guilty. At that time, though we have been saved, He will judge us to discipline us. For if we do not commit our spirit to Him, the saying “You adulteress wife, who takes strangers instead of her husband!” (Ezek. 16:32) becomes true of us.