The Categories of Obedience as Hierarchy
When God finds a soul determined to obey, then He takes his life in His hands, as one takes the rudder of a boat, or as one takes the reins of a cart. He becomes in deed, and not only in theory, Lord, Who rules, Who governs, it can be said, moment by moment the person’s gestures and words, his way of using time, and everything.
In light of this ever growing degree of obedience, God’s orders multiply. If the spiritual father gives his disciples more commands for their benefit as they grow in obedience, how much more will our Heavenly Father give us? Below are categories of obedience required of a person throughout their spiritual life, especially in a community.
1. To God.
According to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:2).
Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5).
2. To the Gospel and the Holy Scriptures:.
But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” (Rom. 10:16).
When the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thess. 1:7, 8).
3. To the faith, doctrine, and truth.
Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith. (Acts 6:7).
But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. (Rom. 6:17).
Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart. (1 Pet. 1:22).
You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? (Gal 5:7).
4. To the Church, since God speaks in Her through His Spirit, Gospel, as a living channel.
5. To Church Canons.
6. To the hierarchy of the Church: Bishop, priests, and deacons.
May nothing be done without your consent, but may you not do anything without God’s consent.29
7. To Liturgical Rubrics.
8. To Church Customs (Monastic, etc.).
9. To Father of Confession and Spiritual Guide.
10. To Law of the Brethren, which are the rules of the community.
11. To those in authority.
Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. (Rom. 13:1).
As St. Paul commanded the children to obey their parents “in the Lord” (Eph. 6:1), we must also take heed to put God and his commandments as the starting point for our obedience. Following the law of submission and obedience outlined above increases faith in God. The faith of the Centurion that marveled Christ came from his direct participation in a “hierarchy” of obedience. The soldiers and servants offer this Centurian obedience because he is backed by the authority of the Emperor whom he himself obeys. As a result, this centurion gained faith to know that Christ had the authority to heal only by commanding (Lk. 7:1-10).
Taken from the book ‘On Eagle Wings’