Like a guy who shows up at a party in 1980s MC Hammer pants, obedience is hopelessly out of fashion. The very word “obey” carries with it ridiculous notions of ancient kingdoms, stupid henchmen, or marital imbalance. Disobedience has always existed, but the idea that our actions should be dictated by someone else is passé, even among Christians. Even obedience to God.
Isaiah dwelt among a “people of unclean lips.” We dwell among a people of independence. Our heroes are those who will not bow. Our hearts rise to the closing lines of Henley’s poem,
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
Is Obedience to God Possible?
I suspect our distrust of obedience flows from our fear of the other–the one whom we are to obey. Why should a woman pledge obedience to a husband who is filled with selfishness and pride? Why should a soldier vow obedience to a government pursuing injustice and oppression? Why would anyone put themselves in the hands of another? We are afraid of the other. What agenda does the other person have? To what purpose does someone else demand we do things his way? To follow someone else’s will is to expose ourselves to exploitation and open ourselves to abuse. No one else could possibly have our good as the highest goal. And even if by some crazy chance someone else did have our best interests at heart, how could we be sure they had the wisdom or strength to bring it about?