Monday, May 21, 2007

Obedience and Relationship

"If you do not obey, you will miss out on some of the most exciting experiences of your life." ~ Henry Blackaby; Experiencing God

Obedience is key to our relationship with God and our discovering the full life He has promised to us. It is through our obedience to God's will that we experience the life He has planned for us from the very beginning. We cannot experience that life if we do not live the way God has asked us to live.

To me obedience is more than following the moral code God set down for us in the Bible. Obedience is about our response to God's will. It is more than morality, it is reaching out to others in love. I see many Christians who are good moral people and who are very loyal to God and to His church, but who have missed out on the full life God has promised. The reason is because they seldom stepped out in faith to do the things God asked them to do. They didn't take that mission trip, they didn't help someone who needed it, they didn't talk to a friend about Jesus, or they didn't fight for Jesus in the world. When we don't obey God by doing His will, we miss out on what He has planned for us.

This is why I want people to understand they have purpose and meaning in their lives. Morality, while it is essential to godly living, is not a call which will stir the hearts of most people. The call many people want is the call of significance. That is only found in doing the will of God. When we love God and love people according to our talents (things we are naturally able to do) and abilities (things we are able to learn to do) we experience life God want us to have. The good life God has promised us is discovered when we start putting more emphasis on others than we put on ourselves. It is by giving our lives away we discover life. Jesus said; "Whoever clings to this life will lose it, and whoever loses this life will save it" (Luke 17:33; NLT). When we make our lives here on earth the most important thing we will eventually lose them. That is an undeniable truth of life, whether you believe in God or don't, eventually everything this life has to offer to us will be taken away. What Jesus says is that the life God wants us to have is found in our giving up of the things of this life and allowing Him to live through us. The Apostle Paul puts it this way; "I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me"(Galatians 2:20; NLT). It is our allowing Jesus to live through us we are able to find true life, the life God created us to live.

Yet, no matter how long we live here on earth we will never experience all that God has promised us. Hebrews 11 gives a list of great men and women of faith. It concludes with:
"All of these people we have mentioned received God's approval because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had far better things in mind for us that would also benefit them, for they can't received the prize at the end of the race until we finish the race"(vss, 39, 40; NLT).
I don't know all the implications of what this passage means, but one thing we can clearly see is that faithful people do not receive all God promises in this life. Most of what God promises, and the life God wants us to have, is only found in Heaven. When we follow Jesus our life here doesn't end so it begins there, as Christians the new life God wants us to have begins when we put our trust in Jesus and are baptized.

When we decide not to obey and not to give up our lives we miss out on the life God wants to give us. Not only will we miss out on the wonderful experiences we can have here and now, but we ultimately will miss out on the eternal experience of His presence. You can find your life in all the things of this life and in the end lose it all, or you can lose the life you are planning for yourself and find the life God has already prepared for you. Which life do you want?

1 comment:

Joy in the Journey said...

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:22

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