March 14, 2009

The Pleasure and Joy of Obedience

I was 35 years old before God said to my soul, "Let light shine out of darkness," and made His light shine in my heart to give me the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. " I had heard the Gospel and intellectually understood who Christ was and what the Bible said that He accomplished on the Cross and yet had no interest or desire for Christ until that day in 1995.

My whole orientation changed after that glorious moment.

One year later, as I learned more about the Lord and His plan of redemption as reveled in His Word; and listened to the struggles of those who professed Him as their Savior, I grew more and more perplexed by a question. "Why do you love and obey the Lord?" and "Why don't you love and obey the Lord?" if you wear His glorious name?" I soon realized (by talking with many Christians) that there was much confusion about why one should obey the Lord and desire a life of holiness and obedience.

That was 13 years ago and I am still finding that to be the case with most who wear His name.

To best express this confusion, I will offer the following analogy, "Why a teenage boy obeys his natural father when told to mow the lawn and take out the garbage":

Father #1 is a demanding mean father. The boy knows that if he does not obey he will receive a severe beating and/or be denied many privileges. The boy is motivated to obey in order to avoid punishment.

Father # 2 is a reward giver. The boy has been told that if he obeys he will gain something, like the keys to his dad's car for Saturday night. The boy obeys to gain a reward.

Father #3 is a loving, honorable, trustworthy, man of integrity and simply tells the boy, "I am your father and I am telling you to mow the lawn and take out the garbage." The only motivation the boy has to obey is to please the father that he loves and respects.

Oh, but perhaps the reader missed something. There is a reward for the boy in #3 above: The greatest reward comes from knowing that he has brought pleasure and joy to his father and just hearing his dad say, "That's my boy in whom I am well pleased" is all the reward this boy would ever desire.

The boy in #3 also knows that his behavior outside of his father's house and control will either bring honor or shame to his father's name. Because he loves his father, that it of utmost importance to him and helps him dearly as he fights any temptation to engage in something that he knows would break his fathers heart and dishonor him. He longs to hear the words, "Your father must be a great dad, to have raised a boy of your honorable character"

Who is your Father? What motivates you to obey Him?

more tomorrow...

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