Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Joyful Obedience

I am a big advocate for obedience. I firmly believe that there are many situations in our life that simply require it. Instances when we don't feel like a doing a particular thing or feel any joy in the matter demand it. Joy is a by-product of obedience, a perk of sorts. It can be said without a doubt that I would not be married today if it were not for obedience in the midst of great pain. Through the obedience came great joy, love and thankfulness at what God can do in our lives.

This brings me to what the Lord has been working on in my life. I haven't written publicly for a while. Since I last wrote, I have traveled cross the country and back, stood by and prayed (more like poured out my heart) for my sister in the final days of her battle with cancer before she went on to live with Jesus. I have watched her husband mourn his great loss and the temporary separation from his best friend. I have stood beside four girls whose hearts have been ripped apart at at the loss of their mother. I watched my parents mourn the loss of their daughter and their second child who now stands in glory, cried with my brothers and sisters, my children, friends, and so many others who loved my sister. Basically a piece of my heart was torn out and I miss her.

The stages of grief are real. Lately I simply questioned everything. I questioned the importance of doing anything here on earth cause what does it matter if we are just going to die at any moment. I felt like everything I was doing didn't matter. I lost my motivation to do anything, even good things. It's that morbid sense of reality and a reality that sadly some people go through everyday of their life. To know Jesus gives me the hope that this stage will pass and HAS passed and I continue to stand on what God has done and has called us to.

This past week we visited a different church, but I felt the need to make sure I went to my regular church also that day. I knew God had something for me. And He did. To sit there and here the Pastor say in His message that "Our prayer is for clarity for why we are doing what we are doing" and then to hear him say "What you do matters" was a message from the Lord for me and I'm sure for many others that day. I would like to think it's all about me but. . . . .

Last night I was able to go to a mini seminar on "Two kinds of Righteousness." There was the vertical righteousness (between me and God) and the horizontal (earthly). The vertical Righteousness in my life is sure. I stand before God, covered by my Lord and Saviour Jesus. Because of what Christ did on the cross and through His resurrection I stand before God blameless, clean and full of right-ness. It's that horizontal righteousness that brings me back to obedience. Knowing full well that my horizontal righteousness, what makes me right in the eyes of the world, plays NO part in my eternal salvation, there are still commands that I long to follow, a walk I desire to keep, a hunger to love and serve as Jesus did.

The "good deeds" that we do on this side of heaven earn me NO points or salvation, but they testify to our Lord and Savior and bring glory to Him. The speaker last night touched a little on motivation. What is my motivation for doing these good things here on earth. Yes, we want our motivations to be pure, but as the speaker said we really need to look back on obedience. He stated that if we are constantly checking our motivations we tend to draw more on I and less on Him. There is a balance. I think the reason why this resonated so deeply in me is because I know that there is nothing good in me (without Christ). My heart is dark, my flesh is weak, I walk in constant need of Him. I daily have to check myself as to why am I doing what I do. The battle with my flesh side never ends. I am prideful, I look for glory, I complain, I am never satisfied and the list goes on.

Because my motivations tend to be on myself, I have to die daily to live for Him. So I choose not to follow my heart, my heart leads me astray. I choose to follow the heart of God through obedience. Joy will come, Joy HAS come. The joy that I receive for doing what I do out of obedience overflows. I just know that if I were to follow my heart and my motivations I would be lost. I love the law as it guides me. It does not restrict me, but frees me to walk with clarity and His grace, alone, saves me.

So I continue to answer the call of God on my life with the help of the Holy Spirit. I literally can't do it myself. "When I function the way God intended, I function as fully human doing what God intended. The law fades and I simply do what God intended. The law is simply the will of God for His creation." Dr. Joel Biermann.

The flesh is not pointless. God created the flesh to be perfect. He created us in His image. It's that stinkin' separation and the creeping in (more like slam dunked in) of sin that messed it all up. God intended was for us to live in this flesh, so what I do in this flesh matters. It matters to those in this world that don't know Him. My vertical righteousness that spills over into my horizontal righteousness testifies to people, so it matters. My flesh walk matters to God.

Oh Lord Your beautiful
Your face is all I see
and when Your eyes are on this child
Your grace abounds to me

I want to take Your word and shine it all around
First help me just live it Lord.
And when I'm doing well help me to never seek a crown
For my reward is bringing glory to You
Jesus Culture