Our Lord never insists on obedience. He tells us emphatically what we should do, but he never forces us to do it. Our reason for obeying him must be a oneness of spirit, not fear or coercion. When our Lord talked about discipleship, he prefaced it with an option, an “if”: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24 kjv). And, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26). In these verses, our Lord isn’t talking of eternal positions but of being of value to him here, in this order of things; that is why he sounds so stern. Never interpret these words apart from the one who spoke them.

“If you love me, keep my commands.” Our Lord doesn’t give us rules; he simply makes his standards clear. If my relationship to him is one of love, I’ll do what he says without hesitation. If I hesitate, it is because I love someone else—myself—in competition with him. I have to give up my right to myself to become one with Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ won’t help me obey him; I have to obey him of my own free will. When I do obey, I fulfill my spiritual destiny. My personal life may be crowded with small, petty problems, things which seem entirely random and meaningless. But if I obey Jesus Christ in the midst of them, they become pinholes through which I see the face of God.

When I stand face-to-face with God, I discover that through my obedience, thousands were blessed. When God’s redemption comes to the point of obedience in a human soul, it always creates; his redemption pushes through me to other lives, because behind the act of obedience is the reality of the almighty God.

Wisdom from Oswald

Beware of isolation; beware of the idea that you have to develop a holy life alone. It is impossible to develop a holy life alone; you will develop into an oddity and a peculiarism, into something utterly unlike what God wants you to be. The only way to develop spiritually is to go into the society of God’s own children, and you will soon find how God alters your set. God does not contradict our social instincts; He alters them.  Biblical Psychology, 189 L