Theologians tell us the world’s major religions emphasize obedience, submission, and service. Powerful, even intimidating words, of which obedience is a cornerstone. Obedience may be understood as comprehending and applying the worldview put forth in the theology of one’s chosen tradition. Usually through disciplined actions of practice, and ethical interpersonal relations.
Obedience is challenging for most because until teachings or experience inform one sufficiently, what we are to obey seems contrary to our understanding of the world. They appear against the worldly norms of our society or culture, and beyond our ability to accomplish. And, obedience is all too often equated with reward in the future, e.g. heaven, enlightenment. This makes one misconceive the true result of obedience. Also, one is left feeling that Spirit is not omnipresent, not immediately available, and must be sought after. Something to be eventually achieved. And, obedience can convey a restrictive moralistic aspect to spiritual practice that one might assume hinders the very liberation promised.
Actually, the result of obedience is a state of conscious awareness in which grace is experienced as the Now. It is a subjective experience of liberation, with a natural impulse to engage in lovingly virtuous and altruistic behavior. This is realized through following the spiritual principles previously codified and given the world. They show that if one obeys God, then God will act through the practitioner, and will do so in a more creative and far ranging manner than humanity alone can imagine. Obedience facilitates and supports submission to God so God may use the faithful to benefit others. And as one obeys one feels extraordinarily fulfilled, blessed, and alive. Obedience is not restrictive, but freeing, actually resulting in what one might call a liberated conscience. Rather than a suppressive dogma dictating righteous action, there is guidance from God’s loving presence. Naturally determining human behavior so it is caring and righteous.