Sunday, January 19, 2014

Obedience Comes With Promises

Every parent dreams of children who will be pleasant and a joy to be around. And what is the foundation of a pleasant child? Obedience. Obedience makes it easy for a parent to be loving, kind and generous to their children. Obedience creates a wonderful atmosphere in the home. Obedience allows everything to flow wonderfully. But obedience is a hard thing to maintain.

Children are governed by instinct, by their sin nature. It is only natural for them to test the waters. It doesn't matter their age, if they see the "forbidden fruit" they are going to want it. They need correction, guidance, patience but all we are doing is controlling them. The sin nature cannot be destroyed by control. Real obedience only happens when each of us die to ourselves and allow the Holy Spirit to take control. This only happens when Jesus becomes Saviour and Lord.

Jesus Christ did not come to teach us morality but to set us free from our slavery to our sin nature. Whether you are a child or an adult, without Jesus Christ you have no choice but to sin because it is your master. That is why it is useless to correct a child in anger. They are doing what comes natural. Correct them yes, but in a way that will not take away from your witness of Jesus Christ.

Yet, even when we are freed from our sin nature we still have choices to make. Just because we are no longer slaves to it does not mean that we cannot choose to disobey. But just as an obedient child makes a home pleasant, so our obedience allows the blessings and plans of the LORD to flow. Disobedience is like a dam, holding back the blessings of our LORD, blessings he intends for us to enjoy and pass on to the nations. Our entire relationship is built on trust and obedience and obedience comes with promises. To the Israelites' Yahweh promised:

Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the River Euphrates, even to the Western Sea,[c] shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand against you; the Lord your God will put the dread of you and the fear of you upon all the land where you tread, just as He has said to you. (Deuteronomy 11:24-25)

Jesus gave believers promises as well which flow in a relationship of trust and obedience. They are promises of provision, of joy, peace, direction, instruction, strength, hope, purpose, power and presence. But when we are in rebellion, selecting a course of disobedience, we cannot expect to hold on to those promises. Sometimes we contend with the enemy believing he is trying to rob us of these things whereas, the truth of the matter is, we are robbing ourselves.

Everything matters. Nothing is insignificant. You can't take part of Jesus' commands and ignore others. You can't love some people really well and hate someone else. You can't go part of the way and say "good enough". You can't follow Jesus' calling and then decide you know better and take a different course. You can't hear clearly from the Lord and then decide that you misinterpreted it and it meant something else. Obedience should be our great desire. Knowing and doing the Father's will should consume our day. Standing in the flowing stream of the Lord's great blessings should be our constant experience as we live lives surrendered and dedicated to our Lord Jesus Christ.

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