Do You Have to Like God’s Commands?

by Sam Allberry

A friend of mine once confessed she had a verse in the Bible she would gladly remove if given the choice. Which verse this happened to be was less interesting to me than the notion itself.

If we had the opportunity, would we happily remove any parts of the Bible?

This conversation came to mind recently when I heard someone say that while they obey what the Bible said about sexual ethics, they certainly don’t like it. And this wasn’t a fledgling believer but an established leader. It raises the question: Do we have to like the things God says in the Bible? Is it enough to just grit our teeth and obey, even when we’re really not happy with what we’re obeying?

While discipleship obviously requires obedience, it also behooves us to understand what we’re obeying and why we’re obeying it.

Understanding God’s Rationale

I recently visited a friend whose daughter was fully embracing all the behavioral traits of being a 2-year-old. She’s lovely, really, but occasionally I call her Kim Il-Hannah. At a recent meal she made it clear she wouldn’t be eating the spaghetti made for her, despite just the previous week declaring it to be her absolute favorite.

Effective immediately: I will not be required to eat spaghetti, or indeed any type of foodstuff that I deem to be displeasing in some way. Previous expressions of preference may be subject to revision without notice, even during the course of a mealtime, and you are requested and required to comply with all ongoing directives.

I may have paraphrased a little, but you get the gist.

Trouble is, it can be easy to think of God as being a bit like that toddler. His commands can seem rather arbitrary, as though things are permitted or prohibited randomly. It’s important with any command, then, to look at why it’s been given. With any prohibition we must ask what good thing is being protected by it—what positive stands behind the negative…

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Do You Have to Like God’s Commands?