Saturday, March 08, 2014

Obedience or Lack Thereof

Yup. Obedience.

You know something? I am not always the best at plain ol' obedience. But I totally believe there is fundamental significance to obedience and the lack thereof.

Consequence? Absolutely.

Does this issue or the ignorance regarding it alter His love for me? No. Remember? He died for us while we were yet sinners. Surely He loves us now that we are washed and redeemed. And about that dying He did for us. That is supreme love, according to the scripture.

That is love.

Wishy-washy, willy-nilly, "do-as-you-please-and-I-will-still-smile-and-be-happy-with-you" is not.

Love disciplines. Love corrects. Love doesn't find delight in evil.

I myself am not able to boast of great success in absolute obedience. I reckon I never will. I am happily, gladly, and boastfully forever indebted to Him for mercy, forgiveness, and His faithfulness to me in spite of my foolishness.

But I am a champion for the cause of obedience. Because He is.

And by the way, this is not an exclusively Old Testament concept. It is not legalism. It is not living under the law.

It is freedom. It is health. It is pleasing to Him. It is loving Him. And honoring Him. It is just plain good.

So yeah. I recommend obedience. And regular repentance, too. The true "turn-around 180 degrees" kind of repentance. Then that same kind of repentance when you fail again just ten minutes later. The kind of repentance that cries out to God saying, "I'm unable. Please help me. I want to do this for You. I love You more than life itself. And I just.can' -- yet. I need You."

But don't drink the "I can live however I want to and He will still be smiling" Kool-Aid. Paul wrote a letter to the Corinthians that filled them with sorrow. Was he sad about that? No, because their sorrow led them to repentance. "For you became sorrowful, as God intended..." 2 Cor. 7.9 (NIV, emphasis mine)

We should be sorrowful when we fail to obey perfectly because what is needed is repentance born from sorrow, sorrow in disappointing the One we love.

Ask Him. Seek Him. He will meet you, help you, and empower you. It may take time. It may take a life time. In fact it may become your opportunity to boast in His mercy and unending forgiveness for years to come.

Obedience is beautiful. It is meet and right that we encourage and exhort one another in it. After all, we love Him, the only Holy God.

Our merciful, faithful, grace-giving and awesomely Holy God.

Monday, March 03, 2014


Imagine you have a yard where children play. Or a yard with expansive flower beds. You love your acreage, but it is limited. You try to make the most of it.

After years of contemplation, you determine to find a space in that yard for a fruit tree or two. You investigate the various species, knowing you need to find one suitable to your climate and soil. At long last it is located. The perfect tree. The one that will bear the fruit meeting your standards.

You allocate moneys, you make the purchase. You study the proper way to plant, fertilize, prune. And then you wait, the whole time maintaining this precious investment.

But the fruit never comes. You harvest disappointment instead.

The analogy breaks down here. God is not subject to emotions as is the frailty of humanity.

But He is interested in fruit. Genuinely interested.

And the bearing of fruit is a bit mysterious to me. It is born as a result of His life flowing through us. It grows, as fruit does, over time.

And yet, somehow, we cooperate. We yield. We give ourselves to His will so that this fruit will be born. We must even suffer death because through death there is life. Death bears fruit - good fruit.

God, speaking to the people of Israel, said, “And so I tell you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce the proper fruits.”

Just before that He cursed the fig tree - the tree covered with green, healthy leaves but bearing no fruit. It looked lively, but was not tapping into real purpose.

I don't understand the mystery of bearing life-giving fruit (because fruit harbors the seed for more life within). It is a marvelous mystery, a God-sized wondrous thing. But I do know His purpose for my life is to bring forth fruit to be harvested, to provide nurture, and best of all, to carry life-giving seed to others. 

Lord, may I cooperate; may I yield. May I die to my purposes and live for Yours.