Can you be obedient

Can you be obedient
  To the Lord of all,
Though the earth should totter,
  Though the heav’ns should fall?
Face e’en a disaster
  With a faith-filled heart,
Knowing naught can harm him
  Who with Christ will start?
Can you be obedient
  To the Lord you serve,
Never even flinch, friend,
  Never even swerve;
Though your next step onward
  Seem to lead to death?
Can you then obey Him
  Without bated breath?
Can you trust your Leader
  When He bids you go
Right into a battle
  With a mighty foe?
Can you step up briskly
  And with joy obey?
Can you fight the battle,
  Till the end of day?
Can you? Then beloved,
  Christ just waits for you;
Listen for His orders,
  Glad His will to do;
Then when soldiers muster
  At the set of sun,
And your name is mentioned,
  Christ will say, “Well done.”

Cambridge, MA, United States


Consider the pattern of the Lord Jesus. Philippians 2:8 says that the Lord was obedient even unto death, and that the death of a cross. The Lord's humbling of Himself was something beyond human imagination. It is hard to fathom such obedience. In verse 5 Paul says that we should let "this mind" be in us, which was also in Christ Jesus. The whole passage concerns taking the mind of Christ. "This mind" is a mind that becomes "obedient even unto death, and that the death of a cross" (v. 8). Having the mind of Christ is to have a mind that will obey even unto death. This mind seeks every opportunity to obey. The Son of God was in heaven; He was God, equal with God in rank, power, possession, and existence. Obedience is not a necessity within the Godhead, because there is no distinction of rank, privilege, or greatness between the Father, Son, and Spirit. As such, there is no need of obedience. Yet when Christ came to the earth, He gave up all honor, power, position, and form, and became a common man, being obedient even as a slave.

One of the wonders of the universe is that Christ refused to return to the Father through the pathway of His divinity. He returned instead through the pathway of obedience. This is like saying that even though man is able to walk on water across the sea, he insists on swimming across it. The Lord "climbed" back to God through learning obedience. The Lord had only one mind in Him. He was simple in His motive. From the beginning to the end His mind was set on obedience. He did not have any thought of gaining authority. During the thirty-three and a half years that He lived the human life, His mind was set on obedience. He did not become obedient by accident or as a result of favorable environment; He was obedient in His very mind. He was obedient everywhere and in everything. To have a mind of obedience means to actively seek for authority to come under. The Lord was always looking for God's will and to obey it. He said, "The Son can do nothing from Himself except what He sees the Father doing" (John 5:19). The Son cannot initiate anything; He cannot act according to His own will. This is to have a mind to obey. There may be obedient men on earth, but it is difficult to find a person who has a mind to obey. A person who has a mind to obey is one who seeks for opportunity to obey all the time. He is fearful of losing any opportunity to obey. He is a person bound by obedience. The thought of taking up any form of authority is nonexistent in him. With some people obedience is conditional; they have ulterior motives in their obedience or they obey simply because it happens to fit their preference to obey. A man who has a mind to obey is different. If a man has a mind to gain a place in public office, he will set his mind on using every opportunity to reach his goal. This was how the Son was in His obedience; He was fearful that He would lose His chance for submission. He sought for every opportunity to obey. His mind was not set on being an authority. In order to establish authority, the Lord first established obedience. Without establishing obedience, He could never have established authority. Therefore, Christ came and established God's authority through His obedience. The mind of Jesus of Nazareth was one that sought and reached out for obedience.

(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 3) Vol. 59: Miscellaneous Records of the Kuling Training (1), Chapter 21, Section 3)