Sunday, July 19, 2009
Thinking About Obedience
This is so cool.
Today, at church, our pastor was talking about guidance and obedience. It was really good thinking and very relevant to this discussion, yes?
As a commenter mentioned in her writing: "I have trouble obeying if I don't have instructions." She's right. Without instructions, we are just wandering around in foreign country without a map.
So, where do you start? One easy place! Start by obeying (by the Spirit of God) all the simple instruction sentences in the New Testament. There are way too many to name. But let me give some examples:
John 15: Remain in my love. I command you to love one another. Romans 8: by the power of the Spirit, turn from your sinful nature. Give your body to God. Don't copy the behavior and customs of the world. Corinthians 5: Don't be caught by sexual immorality. A wife must not leave her husband. Happiness or sadness or wealth should not keep anyone from doing God's work. Use the things of this world without becoming attached to them. Don't be enslaved by the world. Let love be your highest goal. Be courageous. Be strong. Give the wonderful message of the Gospel to others. Make disciples. Obey the authority of the world (Do you obey the speed limit?) Don't think more highly of yourself than you ought (Romans )Don't forsake meeting together. Use your gift for the benefit of the body (are you actively ministering? Daily, weekly?) Are you living by the spirit or by human strength and rules? (Galatians) Allow the Spirit to develop the Fruit of the Spirit in your character (love joy peace patience kindness gentleness faithfulness, goodness self control). Don't follow the desires of the sinful nature. Pray for one another. Encourage one another. Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord (and do it!) Make the most of EVERY opportunity for doing good in these evil days.
Are you living the disciplines? Are there some you could use some help with? Prayer? Word study, memorization, meditation? Fellowship? Service? Discipleship? Are you mentoring or being mentored? (These disciplines aren't just something the Navigators made up. They are recommended behaviors in the new testament. To develop the disciplines is to obey the Holy Spirit!)
So many single statements in the New Testament are TODAY's instructions. When we take them to heart (as the spirit whispers) and respond, THAT is obedience.
Just like Abraham.
Our pastor said this, and I think it is great advice, "If you are a Sunday Christian, don't expect to hear from God on Monday morning."
His point: The closer to God you walk, the more you will hear his voice, recognize it's timber and respond in obedience.
Yesterday, one of my daughters drove me home from shopping. A motorcycle was RIGHT ON HER BUMPER all the way. My daughter was angry. She was afraid for his life. She was full of emotion.
Frankly, her behavior, language and response didn't reflect her faith in Jesus. It was a perfect opportunity to obey TODAY, what she knew of God's instructions in her life.
Most of the time, my daughter succeeds. That particular time, she didn't. I fail too. I frequently speed -- just enough that I don't get a ticket.
You see? Obedience is most often not about the high and mighty things. It is about the small things. The small things lead to the bigger things. And then we look like Abraham, obeying THAT SAME DAY.