Monday, December 06, 2010

Good reminder and encouragement

I was encouraged by this today. Maybe it will encourage you as well.

"If you love me, you will obey what I command." John 14:15 (NIV)

"God wants us to see obedience to him as a relationship of love. And out of love comes trust."

In the middle of all the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, let's pause and think back to the first Christmas. Have you ever stopped to put yourself in Joseph's shoes? Here was a guy who found out his fiancé was pregnant, claiming she was visited by an angel and it's God's baby. And she wanted him to believe her!

In an instant Joseph's whole world was turned upside down. This was not the way his life was supposed to turn out. It just didn't make any sense.

Do you know the feeling? Maybe you finances suddenly take a turn for the worse, or layoffs are looming at work, or you've just received news of a health crisis in your family. How are you going to handle it? What do you do when things in your life don't make sense?

Joseph made the choice to do what God said to do and it changed everything. Joseph chose to obey God even though he didn't understand what was happening.

Today, the word obey has a negative connotation. We view obedience as a forced, unwilling decision to do something we don't want to do because we're afraid of punishment.

But that's not the kind of obedience that's in God's Word. Obedience in the Bible means this: love + trust + action.

It starts with love, as Jesus said in John 14:15, "If you love me, you will obey what I command" (NIV). Obedience comes from knowing that God loves you and you love him in return.

A lot of people think obedience is about fearing God, but God wants us to see obedience to him as a relationship of love. And out of love comes trust. If you trust what God is saying to you, and you believe that he loves you, then that will lead to action.

You need to have all three because action without love is just rote religion. And love without action is just mere talk.

Joseph was able to accept what Mary and the angel told him because of his relationship with God. He knew God loved him and he loved God. He trusted God and made the choice to do what God asked him to do. And because of that, Joseph's life is still impacting lives today.


At 6:19 PM, December 06, 2010 , Anonymous Jaimee said...

Sorry for the lengthy response. I enjoyed this article.

I want to ask questions... Especially ones like: Well, what if I don't know what God is telling me to do? What if he just wants me to wait? Can I really be sure? If only He would come down in my living room and have a chat...

I think these are popular excuses and thought patterns of mine that pretty much paralyze me from doing anything, especially obeying or even first hearing.

Reading this, I'm thinking just how many things I CAN be sure he is telling me. Things like: the importance of reading my Bible, loving my kids, encouraging my friends, supporting my husband, sticking with my church. So what if I can't do this or that, or I don't know such and such or am not sure about whatever.

If I say I trust God, then I can obey Him in even the "little" things while I wait for answers to the bigger things. Actually, I wonder if the bigger things are even as big as my obedience in the little things!

At 9:34 PM, December 06, 2010 , Blogger Jonathan Everette said...

Great comment. Reminds me of something I used to say to college kids and teenagers: Stop asking what God's will is for the big things in your life (marriage, job, college) and start being obedient to the stuff he's already told you to do (1 Thess. 5:16-18, etc.).


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