Monday, July 25, 2011

Trust & Obey

There's an old song from my childhood days in church that says, "Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey."  It was a great song of encouragement when I was a child.  But let's face it, what did most working class kids in the mid-west like me have to worry about in the sixties and early seventies.  

Growing up in a stable, loving, although strict, two-parent home - most of my trusting had to do with believing in Jesus as my Savior and Lord.  And trusting Him for my salvation - that what He did in dying on the cross and raising from the dead was good enough to cover all my sins.  The biggest trust issues other than salvation were whether or not I could trust what my older brother was telling me.

But trust and obey today looks much different for me as an adult.  Can I trust God with my marriage, with my teenage son, with my business/job, my finances, my health, etc. and etc.  And will I obey only when I can see the benefits, or even when obedience leads to some really uncomfortable places.  

When my company requires me to agree to a new policy that I know violates God's code for living, do I make waves, quietly decline to acquiesce to their request, or just go with the flow.  When I read the Bible's teaching on tithing, do I trust and obey even if I can't figure how it will all work out?   Do I vote for a candidate who lives and legislates from a strong moral and Godly direction or for the one who might give me the most financial benefits at least in the short run.  

OK, now that I'm sure I've stepped on some toes.  Where I'm driving to is that what we say we believe should really be evident in how we live - shouldn't it?  If we don't obey the teachings in the Bible, then we really shouldn't call ourselves Christians.  After all the word Christian means follower of Christ  or "little Christ" - a biblical mini-me.  The apostle Paul said, "Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ." (1 Corinthians 11:1)  If we don't imitate Christ then we don't really believe.  

If we chose to follow Christ, really follow him, we will face times of decision.  He uses these to build and strengthen our faith.  If we chose not to believe/trust him, then we miss out on the faith we could have had, and life is just "normal".  My prayer is that we - those who call ourselves Christian - would really live what we say we believe.  

Our neighbors, coworkers, friends, family and even our country need to see Christians who are willing to trust God enough to obey Him no matter the outcome.  When we walk with God in faith sometimes it will go well for us.  Other times it will get worse instead of better.  Jesus said, "In this world you will have trouble..." John 16:33  Hebrews 11 gives us a look at some who had great faith and saw great rewards and victory.  Others had great faith and were tortured to death.   

It all comes down to this, will we trust Him and obey Him regardless of the outcome or perceived outcome  - which is a faith walk, or will we only follow when we think it will "go well for us?"  

The choice is for each of us individually, not once, but daily, for the rest of our lives.  

What say you?  


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What's your motive?

As you pray for someone else, you know, for God to do some work in their heart, have you checked your motives?  Better yet have you ever got your motives checked for you by your creator God. 

I found myself praying for a person unnamed. For God to remove the resistance to His will from their heart through His grace.  Then two days ago as I once again prayed for this person, I asked God if I should be praying some other way.  Immediately the word "conviction" came to mind.  Now conviction from God is a good thing.  It is much different from condemnation.  Conviction has as it's motive restored fellowship with God. It has as it's target a very specific sin of commission or omission.  

As I prayed this way I was suddenly faced with the reality that my motive for their change of heart was not pure. You see their change of heart will have a direct affect on me and I want that affect very much.  God showed me I needed my motive purified - to pray for them to be obedient to God, not for what I gain from their obedience, but for their good and their good alone.  

The change may seem subtle or even insignificant to some, but it is most important.  And I found that as I started to pray in this new way my heart began to break for this person.  I wept and prayed more fervently than before.  The realization of what they are missing by not being obedient to His instruction became clear.  And the urgency for change - that they would not become calloused to the prompting of His Spirit kept me on my knees pleading for the conviction to become stronger and from whatever source that would effect change.  

I fully expect God to answer my prayer.  Not because of me, but because it is in line with His will for this person.  It will be great to sit with them and compare stories when the opportunity arises.  

So, are your motives pure?  Have you asked God to check them?  What do you think of my story?