“And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.” – Luke 24:49
What does radical obedience demand of me? This is the first thing that ran through my mind as my Pastor quoted Luke 24:49 and Acts 1:8. He further equated ‘radical obedience’ with the empowering of the Holy Spirit. I got stuck with the word obedience. I have a problem with obedience. I’ve been a ‘radical’ most of my teen and adult years and my unconventional ways brought much sorrow to my mother. Put side by side, ‘radical obedience’ sounded ominous.
I pondered over this for the next few days and read the Book of Acts and Luke 24. For the apostle Paul, radical obedience meant he follow the Lord wherever He led, no matter the persecution and suffering. For Peter, it meant breaking barriers and going against culture and tradition. For the early group of believers, it was living a lifestyle no other has seen before. Imagine donating all your wealth and possession and sharing these with the rest of the church. Obedience is not easy; and following in part or 99% of the way is not obedience at all, as proven by Ananias and Sapphira.
Have I been obeying the Lord? I would say yes and no; definitely a lot less than 100% which means a simple ‘no’. In my mind I’ve said ‘yes’ to major life-changing decisions and ‘sometimes’ to the little everyday things. ‘Yes’ to purity, spiritual disciplines, honesty, forgiving, reading His word and other major milestones. ‘Sometimes’ to letting go of small desires, ‘sometimes’ to following His lead, ‘sometimes’ to trusting that He will provide, ‘sometimes’ to acting on His whisper to share His word to someone, ‘sometimes’ to focusing on Him rather on people and circumstance.
The book of Acts is about the Holy Spirit’s mighty and miraculous works and the radical obedience of the believers. It follows then, and I am not surprised, that as I look at my life, I have missed out on the mighty work of the Holy Spirit in my life. Oh to be sure, the Lord has done wonderful works in my life and continues to do so. But not great, mighty works that are possible in a life that is totally surrendered and radically obedient to Him.
And so, the question ‘What does radical obedience demand of me?’ It means emptying my hands and raising it to the Lord to ask that He fill it with what He would have me do. It means letting go of my desires to seek what my loving Lord desires of me. It means trusting that where I am now is where He wants me to be. Radical obedience means taking small steps to where He leads, trusting that He is in control of all circumstance. Radical obedience is sharing the Gospel at every opportunity, as He is the One speaking to their hearts. Radical obedience is learning to rejoice in the now, believing I am always in His presence.