Monday, July 22, 2019

A Passion for Obedience: The Pathway to Pleasing God

As the Sovereign Creator of the universe, God is the Chief Commander of all things. He commands the stars to shine, the planets to move, the winds to blow, the rain to fall, and the trees to bear fruit. He commands all of life and every human being in history. He commands because He is God, because He is great and because He is good! As His creation, our only response is to OBEY Him.
But humans tend to have other passions and desires. They want to do their own thing. This is reflected significantly in the choices and decisions that we make in our families, friendships and finances. This is why Jesus dealt with our time and relationships as well as money and possessions as much as He did. He knew that the way we handle these things will reveal the passions and d
esires of our hearts. It will reveal what really matters to us!

Money, time, energy, affection and desire all follow after our passion! The question is, ‘where is our passion directed?’

Today, in this culture, passion is emphasized as the determining factor for what we should do in life and where we should invest. Many in the church will even define the will of God for their lives by what they have a passion for. They believe that the focus of their passion is automatically the will of God simply because there is a passion for that particular thing. THIS BELIEF AND APPROACH MISSES THE MARK! And it is certainly a sure way to miss the heart of God. For we can certainly have passion for the wrong things.

The key to a life that is pleasing to God is to have a PASSION not for what we desire to do, but to have a PASSION for OBEYING GOD! For doing what HE has commanded us to do whether we are passionate about it or not. God is looking for a people who prize obedience, faithfulness and a willingness to persevere through hardship, crisis and pain even when it is not pleasant and convenient.

The reason why we would much rather follow our own passions and desires is because they are exciting, pleasant and usually the path of least resistance. After all, our concept of what God wants for us is defined (most of the time) by what is easy or comes about naturally. This is why I am opposed to putting out fleeces. Fleeces are a negotiating tool used to provoke God to provide a physical sign to prove what He wants you to do. And while there was a time or two when God responded to fleeces in Scripture (for example - Gideon), they are not normative practices as they do not require a walk of faith in His Word and a keen ear to the Spirit of God.

Most of the things that we are required and even commanded to do in life are clearly spelled out in Scripture, but we would rather have a sign or an external act to validate and verify what we should do. With this perceived need in our lives, we see God in whatever we want to see Him in. In other words, it becomes a very subjective way of making decisions in our lives as opposed to depending upon God's objective Word which speaks clearly (if we take time to hear and heed). But I want you to have a Biblical foundation from which to understand what I am saying. It is found in Psalms 3:1-10 which says,

“My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce; 10  then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.”

When we understand that OBEDIENCE is more important than PASSION, our love for God and our faithfulness to Him will bring us good success in life according to verse 4.

However, many operate contrary to the Word of God and rely on circumstances and situation to direct their decisions. They look for signs or put forth fleeces challenging God to perform above and beyond what He has already told us in His Word. Instead of simply seeing in His Word what He says and being obedient to it, we always seem to need more. And when more doesn’t come, we take matters in to our own hands  and justify it as God's will.

I think if Jesus were physically here conducting His teaching ministry, this is an area He would deal with quite a bit. He would rebuke the church for its indifference to His word and a reliance on external sources.

Let us seek diligently to know His word, saturate our selves in it and OBEY. Obedience is better than sacrifice! Yet, what many are willing to sacrifice on the altar of convenience most often brings about devastation and destruction. May we heed II Timothy 3:14-17 which says,


“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

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