Thursday, August 28, 2008

It's JUST Obedience

The Experiencing God lesson today talked about how God reveals to us what He's going to do, not what He wants us to do for Him. Interestingly enough, Jada (my sister in Memphis in pharmacy school) called last night and we talked about a sermon she had just heard about how God doesn't need us. He will accomplish His purposes regardless of whether we say yes to Him or not. It is our greatest joy to take part. I don't want to diminish in any way the fact that He loves us and passionately pursues us, but we need to make clear that He does that FOR OUR GOOD. Not because He's a weak, needy lover like what we see portrayed in movies and literature. His Name WILL be made way or another.

Now back to my original direction with seems like our ticket to involvement in what God's doing in this world is faith. The more tickets we have, the more we get to take part in. Faith seems scary to us because it is, in fact, trusting in things unseen. But hear me now, faith is NOT trusting in our ability to be obedient. Did you get that? We are NOT trusting in our ability to get it right. We are trusting in the sovereign Creator of the universe that started this thing and is intricately involved in holding it all together (Col. 1:17). Another point that Henry Blackaby makes earlier on is that how we respond when God invites us to join in His work says more about what we believe about God than it does anything else. Read that sentence a couple of times until it sinks in. Sure, there's a reflex reaction to doubt self. But He wasn't depending on us. So we shouldn't be. He knows what He's going to do. Get that? Going to do. He is so gracious to ask us to join Him in the work. And THAT'S where our joy is found.

Father, forgive our self-dependence. Forgive our American dream of working hard enough to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps. Forgive our Oprah-mentality of self-help and inner strength. Forgive our incredible blindness and failure to hope in an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent God who loves us more than we can know. Forgive us for denying Who You are. Remind us of Your power. Show us the difference between what we dream of doing for You and what YOU want to do in and through us.

Remind us that faith is safe in an all=powerful God. It WILL come to fruition in our lives. Do not let our focus and our goal be in the production of fruit, but in growing deeper and falling more headlong in love with our Father who has loved us from the beginning. So grow our faith to pray for, expect, and see God-sized activity in our lives. I'm tired of mediocre.

Remind us that when we say yes, and You begin to do God-sized things, it won't be due at all to any good in us or any gifts we have to offer. It's just obedience.

Not to diverge too much, but Dietrich Bonhoeffer explains in Cost of Discipleship about how to reconcile Jesus's commands in the Sermon on the Mount about not letting the right hand know what the left is doing (Matt. 6) and then letting your light shine before men (Matt. 5:16). Seems contradictory, right? The gist is Christ is the plumbline. We don't measure up. Anything we do in obedience to Him (which will produce things that only God can do in a life) is just that: obedience. But to a lost world depending only on the ability of man, they WILL seem extraordinary. So it's fine to "Go big, or go home." Just make sure everyone knows Who was and will always be responsible for it. We're just doing what we've been told (and it's awesome to be a part), and that's JUST obedience.

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