What Does Obedience Look Like?

Offering this humbly at Ann’s site this afternoon, where so many share their Walk with Him Wednesdays:

What if…
instead of something that seems to us 
so often to be burdensome,
almost impossible to do,
actually looked more like
what these beauties do…
…like waiting patiently for the food we need;
…like sipping nectar from exactly the right trumpet flower;
…or watchfully surveying the landscape;
…or keeping our feathers clean and ready for action;
…or singing the lovely song we were designed to sing;
…or wading right in when the water is right;
…or wisely hunkering down when it isn’t;
…or waiting for just the right moment 
to use the beak we’ve been given;
…or finding a companion-on-the-way, 
someone to help us be as strong and sure as we can be;
…someone to help us flex our wings, to practice, 
to keep ourselves ready and in shape;
…so that, when the time is right, we can FLY,
just as God intended us to do.

I’ve been pondering this verse for a long time:

“So even though Jesus was God’s son, 
from the things he suffered.”
Hebrews 5:8

Jesus learned obedience?
Have you ever really thought about 
that subject with that verb?
If Jesus came not only to save us from our sins
(and he surely did that),
if Jesus came not only to heal us of our brokenness,
(and he surely did that),
if Jesus came to model for us what an 
authentic human life looks like
(and he completely did that),
then there is something vitally important for us 
in this short verse.
Jesus is the only fully human being
to ever walk the dusty byways of our planet.
The only one 
who fulfilled God’s original design and desire 
for us, we who are in-God’s-image-creatures.
He was the only one 
who really, truly and always did
what comes naturally,
just like the birds of the air do.
In living out a perfectly human life,
in living and in learning what it means to be ‘obedient’
to God’s dream for humankind,
Jesus shows us the way through.
Jesus shows us how to live a full and rich life,
not just in spite of our sufferings,
but in the midst of them.
And even though he was a learner,
as we are all learners,
he never faltered, wavered,
or succumbed to the ‘bentness’ of our nature,
that off-centeredness,
that unnaturalness that causes us 
to do harm to ourselves and others.
he listened to the humming core of his own humanity,
he stayed in tune with himself and with the Father,
he resisted the lure of anything that 
fell outside the bounds of 
what comes naturally.
And obedience,
perfect obedience,
just flowed out of him.
Oh, may I learn to do 
what I was designed and redeemed to do:
to live a fully natural human life.
To listen to the song of salvation that 
the Spirit sings ever so sweetly in me.

Linking with Michelle, Suzannah and Jen tonight, with thanks for their consistently kind invitation to do so:

 so much shouting, so much   laughter

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  1. wow, this is not something i’d considered before, but i love the connections you weave. i’m gonna chew on this a while…

    thanks for this bit of grace.

  2. I am sure that I have read that verse before, but I haven’t really “read” it in this light — I missed the point that you so eloquently pointed out. I’ve known that Jesus is a model for us, but I didn’t think about how He had to learn things along the way.

  3. You *know* I loved this!

  4. Very interesting, Diane. I understand (sort of) the fact that Jesus was fully human and fully divine…but have never truly thought of him as having to “learn” just like you and I. He learned obedience. I like this point very much. Thank you for bringing it to light for me!

  5. Ah dear friends, thanks so much for stopping by here and offering kind words. Wrestling with this verse has been such a powerful grace for me – really thinking through the wholeness of the incarnation. It truly is amazing to think of the graciousness of our Triune God, that Jesus became a fully human (yet mysteriously and wonderfully divine) inhabitant of our time-bound, sin-bound world. I will continue to wonder and wrestle – but then that’s what I love about this faith journey…all that ‘w’ stuff! (And Sandy – yes – I knew you would love this one.)