“What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Absolutely not! Do you not know that if you present yourselves as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or obedience resulting in righteousness? But thanks be to God that though you were slaves to sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching you were entrusted to, and having been freed from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness.” Romans 6:15
The trouble with obedience is that we have to “obey” someone implying that we subject ourselves, or lower ourselves in position. This is difficult to willingly offer as our pride wants us to imagine we are in control of ourselves and our life. We deceive ourselves, however, into believing we are not subordinate to something! Paul so eloquently taught us that we are inherently obedient to sin, or to righteousness. As believers we have already chosen to be obedient to Christ in salvation, but are we continuing in our obedience to Christ or have we chosen to obey sin?
We were previously ignorant of our responsibility to take care of the poor and needy. In fact, we largely ignored God’s command. We chose instead to focus on many other Christian tasks such as leading worship or church management because, who can solve the orphan problem? The Lord opened our eyes with James 1:27 “Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their misfortune and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” We can no longer claim ignorance! The question now is do we obey? If we choose not to take care of orphans and widows then we are willingly disobeying God, which in turn means we are being obedient to sin.
Practically, regarding this adoption, obedience is demanding and not as “pretty” as we might want it to be. In fact, truth be told, it is simply brutal. At first I was able to passionately pursue the adoption because I knew the names and faces of the children we were going to adopt. Well, now all but one of those initial children are most likely not going to be part of our family. What do we do now? Do we continue to pursue adoption or were we to adopt those specific children? The answer has not changed. God never told us to adopt certain children, rather He simply told us to adopt, as He had already provided the means and support to do so. The names of the children are not in James 1:27, only the command. So the locomotive used to drive me through the adoption has changed from a personal knowledge of the children (an accompanying emotion) to a less emotional and outcome based drive. Simply meaning, I could previously picture the initial kids we pursued entering our home, watching movies with us, and going on walks in our community – all of which fed me the emotions needed to continue this difficult process. Now I do not have all of those images, I do not know their names, or even how many we will come home with.
The limited emotion and lack of names and faces has brought upon me a new challenge….which is to obey, anyways. To obey when I am uncertain of the outcome. To obey when I don’t have the passionate emotions. To obey and continue this process with fervor when there is no worldly accountability to do so. By all means we can stop this whole process now and who would really blame us? I am certain there are plenty out there who thought we were crazy to begin with and that it is “probably better” that it didn’t work out? The simple truth here is that it is difficult to obey when we don’t want to. I am certain there are plenty of arguments as to why our life would be better if we did not adopt; and yet we are tired of living a life obedient to sin – which is what we would be doing, because we are now no longer ignorant of God’s truth about responsibility toward orphans and widows. What will we do with the truth but either obey it or disobey it.
We want to live radically for God and embrace however our life with be impacted, as well as how others’ lives around us will be impacted. All the years of working in our Christian lives and nothing will have had such an impact on us and others as we are witnessing now with this adoption. Here’s the kicker, if you have read this article you are no longer ignorant of God’s truth either….gotcha!!!