I was browsing through Henry Blackaby’s book Created to be God’s Friend today and I ran across this part that I had highlighted the first time I read the book: “God’s revelation is not for observation but to enable obedience! It takes time with God, but it also takes a daily, consistent walk of faith and obedience” (p. 119).
For much of my life I have used the Bible as a book to be studied. In effect my Bible reading was about making observations about the text and not about applying the text. I am not afraid to admit that one of the things I enjoy in life is reading the Bible and pondering the text. This is not bad, in fact, I would say that it is essential to living an authentically Christian life.
The problem is when we leave the Bible at this point. When we don’t live the text then we it is evidence that we have not grasped the full meaning of it. The Bible is not only to give us the truth we need to have correct doctrine, but it is also to guide the way we live our lives. Both Jesus and James taught that to hear God’s Word but not to obey it was foolishness (Matthew 7:24-27; James 1:22-25).
If we are going to follow Jesus then we cannot be content with merely studying the Bible, but we have to make the commitment to obey the Bible. The reason we need to be committed to obey God’s Word, no matter what the consequences might be, is because there will be every reason in the world not to obey. When we are not committed we put ourselves at the mercy of the changing desires of our lives. Commitment keeps us pointed in the right direction when the wind of our desires threatens to blow us off course.
This is one of the implications from what Jesus taught about serving two masters: “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money” (Matthew 6:24; ESV). While the main point of the teaching is that you cannot be committed to both God and money, for when the interests of the two collide we will bend to the will of the one whom we are most committed. All we have to do is insert another master in the place of money and we discover that the teaching has a wide range of implication in our lives. If we do not commit to obey God no matter what, we will not obey God, we will obey whatever master has the most control over our lives.
What master has my commitment? That is a question that we need to ponder on a regular basis, especially when we find ourselves consistently refusing to obey God. Our disobedience is an indication that Jesus Christ is not truly Lord of our lives. We have given that spot of honor to someone or something else.
Let me be honest. Commitment isn’t some magic formula that makes obedience easy. Obedience is never easy, but what commitment does is that reduces your choices. Instead of having options A, B, and C your commitment to follow Jesus leaves you with just option A. It might be the most difficult of the options, but it is the right option. This is the thought I want to leave you with today: our ability to do the right thing is directly tied to our commitment to Jesus. Obedience flows out of our commitment to follow Jesus wherever He leads.
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