now an angel of the Lord said to philip, “rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from jerusalem to gaza.” this is a desert place. and he rose and went. [acts 8:26-27a)


obedience is simple, yet difficult.


obedience is simple.

obedience is doing what the LORD says to do.

in that regard, obedience is simple.

in practice, when we read the word and God says, “love your neighbor,” – the simple of obedience is then loving your neighbor. [matt 22:36-40]


obedience is simple, yet difficult.

it is when we go to love our neighbor that it get’s difficult.

some neighbors are lovely – easy to love. other neighbors are prickly – not so easy to love.

some times, i am busy, i am tired, i am lonely and i want to be loved, i am hurting.

other times, i just don’t feel like loving – anyone.


all the time, there are things going on in our heart that making obedience difficult.

one of the greatest things going on in our heart – is our old nature that does not want to fully obey.

[fully obey means – in our heart and actions. you can obey in action – act like you are loving your neighbor – and in your heart dislike your neighbor. that is not obedience to God’s command. you can even love your neighbor in such a way that you think you are earning God’s love. in doing so, you are not obeying out of love for God, you are obeying to put God in your debt. [i told you obedience is difficult!])


our old nature make fully obeying difficult. why? it is against the LORD and his ways.

for the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. [romans 8:7]


obedience is simple, yet difficult. we need a SAVIOR!

obedience in one regard is simple – just do what God says. in another regard, it is difficult – our old nature, our flesh fights against our obedience every day, every hour, every minute. thank God for JESUS!

wretched man that I am! who will deliver me from this body of death? thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! so then, i myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh i serve the law of sin. there is therefore now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. [romans 7:24-8:1]


we are hopelessly stuck to serving sin without Jesus.

but in Christ, we have two amazing gifts that free us from our stuckness.

1) Jesus  has delivered (set free) us from this hopeless stuckness. we are free and under no condemnation. God is not mad at us for our inability to fully obey. he forgives, he accepts, he loves – because Jesus took all of your wrath and condemnation. fully loved and accepted – now we obey not to get God’s love but we obey from his love!

2) the Spirit is in us empowering us to obey!

for to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. … you, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. [romans 8:6, 9]


today, set your mind on the Spirit – submit to him now, seek his will in the word, and obey from the LORD’s full love. obedience is simple, yet difficult. but in Christ through the power of the Spirit – obedience is not only possible, but joyful!


LORD, we submit to your Spirit now. lead us to obey from your love that you extravagantly gave to free us from the power of sin and our old nature. we turn to you. empower us to walk with you and after your today. in Jesus name – amen!


~ john ryan