Saturday, March 7, 2009

You want me to do what?

Most mornings lately I have spent time reading in the Old Testament. And throughout its pages we read the simplicity of it all; we as God's children will be blessed when we obey. Period. Cut and dry. It's like I tell my kids, "You have one job on this earth right now, to obey me and daddy. That's it." So why do my kids still hit? Why do they go in the pantry and sneak candy? And why do I still sometimes battle pleasing God vs. people, or submitting to my husband, or getting angry with my kids? Paul explains it best.

The book of Romans is dense with theology. This short blog entry could never do Paul's extensive words justice. But one thing he mentions in chapter 8 sheds light on our present dilemma.
"For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, (set their minds on) the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace...(and) those who are in the flesh cannot please God." Romans 8:5-6, 8

Paul goes on to explain that if you are a child of God, having accepted the sacrifice of Christ for your own sins, then you are in the Spirit. You have been made a new creation, with His Spirit indwelling you, giving you life. It means that you and I possess the power to walk this life in victory, if we so choose. We are no longer bound to sin; we have a choice. God did not make robots; without freedom of choice there cannot be love. So even as His child we have a choice in our obedience. We have a choice of where to set our minds.

Last year, during a very deep valley, I was faced with a choice. I could obey God, which honestly appeared crazy to the world at large; or I could demand my rights and go the way that felt right. The Spirit of God compelled me. Though my feelings pointed me in one direction, God's Spirit drew me in another, and I chose to obey Him. I can tell you that God has blessed that decision more than I could have dreamed. He has brought life from death. He has brought dancing from mourning. Praise You, Lord!

Obedience is not always easy. It just isn't. In God's economy things are pretty much opposite from the world's view: love your enemy, bless those who curse you, give to receive, forgive without bounds. Most of the time it just doesn't feel right. But God does bless obedience. Life and peace are His. He is faithful to His Word. Dig in.

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