Friday, November 17, 2017
I was reading today the Christmas story as recorded in the gospel of Matthew. You might recall that several times Joseph started to do one thing with his family, but was warned by an angel to do something else. Each time Joseph obeyed, and the baby Jesus and Mary were protected because of it.
Joseph, Mary’s husband, obeyed—-and disaster was averted. Noah obeyed—-and an ark was built. Abraham obeyed—and the nation of Israel began. Paul obeyed—and the gospel was spread to the gentiles. These men obeyed and because of their obedience to God, His work was furthered. God could have chosen other men, but He chose these and they obeyed. But I wonder how many “would be heroes” simply did not obey and are therefore forgotten men and women. Surely there are many—perhaps most—that merely ignore God’s voice and disregard His direction. Count me as one of those! I know that I have not obeyed Him at times, that I have chosen my own “way”, and that I have refused to do what I know was the right thing to do! But where am I ahead is that I admit it and God has been merciful.
No, I am not proud of my stubbornness and my pride in “doing it my way”, but realizing that it is MY fault, and not the fault of my parents, or my “village” or my generation makes it easier to not go down the same path day after day! God can work through a person like me if I am able to admit my error, repent of my stupidity, and ask Him to use me anyway He wants for His Kingdom.
It is obedience to Him, when I am clear about what I should do, that draws me not only into a closer, more intimate relationship with Him, but it seems to establish me as being one He can count on more. I notice that the more obedient I am to Him, life does not become easier——in fact it is often the opposite—-but rather that the manner in which I can see His hand upon me (to rescue me and direct me) and His Spirit to reveal to me more about who He is, is all the more obvious and profound!
No one is ever brought into a higher spiritual existence by choosing to be obstinate and disobedient—-they’re crippled and developmentally stunted. It’s only when I resolutely determine to trust and obey Him that I can live that abundant life Jesus promised. Why do I then fall back into the bad habits of disobedience that I know is bad for me and that hurts all those that are close to me? Because I have an incredibly short spiritual memory! It’s not that I go to church, or a bible study, or a men’s prayer group to learn new things—-I go to be reminded of the very things I should never forget.
We all need fellowship with other believers to be reminded of God’s commands, expectations and direction for our lives —- particularly those of us who think we are mature in Christ.