"Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. " Philippians 2:12-13
When the Apostle Paul wrote his encouraging letter to the Philippians, he commended them for their steadfast obedience to God in his presence AND in his absence. They were consistent. They weren't perfect and still needed to grow in their faith which is why he told them to work out their salvation with fear and trembling. But their obedience was commendable because it was consistent. It wasn't for show, but was a genuine obedience from the heart.
It is amazing, isn't it? How prone people (and apparently animals!) are to forgetting who they are in the absence of accountability? Like the cat in the video above proves, we like to put on a show as being one thing until we are caught and then we resume regularly scheduled programming. The cat in the video is clearly barking like a dog until it is caught and then resumes his place as a cat. The video really is amazing because it shows how prone to deception we really are and brings into light how remarkable the faith of the Philippians was when they could obey the God even in the absence of their leader.
Proverbs 10:9 puts it plainly:
"Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out."
God is watching. Even when nobody else is watching, God is watching.
I don't say this to frighten somebody or to think God is just waiting for someone to mess up so He can punish Him. That isn't how God works. When I say God is watching, I am saying that your life, your faith, and your thoughts are completely open to God. Nothing is hidden. So even if we think we are fooling others by our actions, we are not fooling God. In fact, when we disobey God, we look as ridiculous as that cat barking like a dog. We were not created to live in rebellion to God. When we do rebel, we assume an existence that is completely foreign to our design and intended purpose.
So we come to our intended design and purpose which is obedience to our creator. 1 John 2:3-5 says it this way:
And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. (ESV)
There are two things that need to be noted in this passage.
1. Obedience is the result of knowing Jesus. When we are born again through faith in Jesus Christ, God changes us from the inside out and obedience is the proof that the change has happened. It does not say perfection, but it does say a practice of obedience will become a part of your life.
2. When you are obeying God's will for your life, His love will become complete in your life. You will know love. You will experience it, you will give it and you will live by it. LOVE. Not legalistic, mean spirited fundamentalist rule keeping.
It isn't about keeping the rules, it is about living in harmony with God through his son Jesus. It is about fulfilling your purpose for living and operating within your created design. You were created to experience and express God's love in this world. You were created for life and God's commandments are life. Rebellion against God is death.
Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25 both say this:
There is a way that seems right to a man,
but its end is the way to death.
There is a way that seems right, until we are caught. There is a way that seems natural until we find out that our master is looking at us and then we remember who we are. There is a freedom that looks like slavery and a slavery that looks like freedom. The sinful heart will look at God and see bondage when in reality God is offering freedom. You purpose is to live in obedience to the God that created you. His will for you is life and love, but it has to be found in him through Jesus Christ. Obey God and you will most certainly rise Above Reality.