Thursday 12 September 2013
JOY OF OBEDIENCE
With obedience comes joy and fulfillment—but not before dying to self, activation of the gifts God has given us, knowing God’s will for our lives and living it out.
Dying to self is necessary for fruit-bearing. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24). (1)
We need to stir up the gifts God has given us. Paul exhorted young Timothy: “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands” (2 Timothy 1:6). (2)
And, finally, we need to discover God’s will for our lives. For how can we live it out if we don’t know His will for our lives? (3)
Doing the will of God the Father was foremost in Jesus’ thoughts as He moved about ministering to people. After chatting with the Samaritan women at the well, Jesus made a profound statement: “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work” (John 4:34).
His disciples had earlier come to him, urging him to eat. I can imagine them saying: “Well, Master, you’d better eat. It’s time for meals already.”
But Jesus deflected their thoughts away from physical food by telling them there is something else that truly satisfies and fills their deepest longings.
Now there is nothing wrong with delighting in delicious food (Ecclesiastes 5:18). But are our minds only thinking about food to tickle our palates and fill our stomachs—like the disciples?
It seems Jesus is asking us: Is our “food” to do His will? How much do we care about accomplishing God’s purpose in our lives? Do we think about doing God’s will as much as we think about food? Do we buy the idea that we can derive great pleasure from doing God’s will as much as delighting in a sumptuous meal?
Following God requires self-denial. But it is not without great reward, joy and fulfillment.
I remember the lyrics of this familiar song which is so meaningful: “There is no peace, no joy, no thrill like walking in His will, for me to live is Christ, to die is gain.” Though there is a yoke involved when we follow God, it is one we would gladly carry.
Obedience and fulfillment come in one package: http://bit.ly/15oGWzn
(1) For more on Dying to Self: http://bit.ly/19Ne5UY
(2) For more on Stirring up the Gifts: http://bit.ly/13JwXQX