Obey is a killer word--obedience a killer concept. Killer because the word mostly lays dormant around our lives after the obedience to parents and teachers passes; killer because the concept hides from us even when the cuts and callouses on our backs show, instead, lives and minds and hearts twisted about and pulled in every direction by whips and straps and chains overgrown with barnacles during their long, unchecked usage; killer because obedience is a dismal and heavy word meant for the yoke of oxen until, all of a sudden, Christ picks it up and uses it; and with child-like sincerity, the Man Jesus kills with it; breaking it free of its grayness and ungratefulness; turning it into the very word He himself uses to convey the purist freedom; holding it up to express the very idea of being truly alive. He spoke as if, instead of finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, He found, like Noah, a rainbow at the end of a golden arc of obedience.
Obedience is the skeleton key Jesus holds in his hand that opens hidden doors--doors out of death and hell opening into his words and Life; doors entering upon chambers very near the deepest in God’s reality of Love.
There are two simple and obvious reasons you may be sure this is true:
One: Jesus talks about it ALL THE TIME.
And two: nobody else does (at least in the exultant and shining way Jesus does).
In John’s gospel it is masters and servants, shepherds and sheep, doing the works, following, obeying, and doing my Father’s will from cover to cover.
And if God likes talking about something continuously, then the guy who doesn’t is Satan.
Let me try to make myself clear: A man will gleefully talk about obedience (when he must talk about it all) in terms of what it means after he has touched the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil: pain, grind, morality, good, bad, right, wrong, law, blind, breaking. But he never even imagines it, much less talks about it, in terms of what it means should he return and touch the tree of Life, thereby ingrafting himself into it: joy, peace, love, contentment, salvation, healing, seeing, wisdom, keeping. Man understands what it means to obey in his reality—which is only a shadow of it and therefore false—but not in God's—which is all at once lit and light and casting the shadow.
Right after love, comes obey. Right after obey, comes love.
I once almost heard a secret about the meaning deep within “hating your father and mother,” but now I will share my own. I think Jesus was talking about obedience.
Jesus seems to be saying, “There is a great law, and one that is close to your hearts: Obey your father and mother. But here is the greatest, and one infinitely closer: You must disobey your father to obey mine. You must disobey your anything to obey my everything."
All there is, is obeying.
Obeying the one is disobeying the other.
All there is, is Love.
Loving the one is hating the other.
“A man can not serve two masters.”
You—the you that you call yourself, which is your will!—are a slave in the middle of God and Satan. The greater you and your will become: the greater becomes your slavishness in the many-roomed mansion of God. The greater God and God’s will becomes: the closer becomes your sonship and therefore freedom in it. You are Adam. It doesn’t matter who Adam thought he was obeying as he touched the fruit. Whether it was himself, Eve, or the serpent—Adam was obeying his master. "Ye are of your father, the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do."
Adam was obeying his father. And therefore hating God.