Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Following Your Convictions, i.e. Obedience

So here we go on the topic of obedience... I hesitated to write this one because I do not like legalism in any fashion, and that can sometimes be the fruit of such discussions. But this is something God has been working on in me, and I knew it was time to share; I trust that His Grace covers my writing and will not let it be received in a way I did not intend :).

For me, as I'm sure for many of you, obedience comes easily in many areas. There were a few stubborn spots, but almost all of them are gone now...career, money, entertainment, etc. But can I be really transparent here and tell you what remains? Food! That's right, I said it, food. It is the Christian drug of choice after all. I say that facetiously, but it does seem to be an accepted habit done in excess but yet isn't considered "sin" to most Christians. And I would agree, that in and of itself, food is not sin. However, if God has been speaking to you and nudging you away from certain foods or habits of eating, and you're still not listening - that is a completely different story. See Exhibit A below...

Romans 14:23 (NLT) - But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.

This Scripture called my bluff, to say the least, on whether or not I was sinning by continuing to drink my Dr. Pepper (which God had been asking me to give up). Now for you, food (or drink) may not be the issue. But what is it in your life, seemingly insignificant and innocent, that you continue to do regardless of the Spirit saying otherwise? Is it your entertainment choices, the way you prioritize your life, your spending habits, your attitude, etc. May I encourage you to take your blinders off, and admit that even these things (if you believe they are not right) are sin? At this point, you may be asking yourself why I am pointing this out.

I believe we all go through different stages in our relationship with God. When you have reached the point of being fully committed but still have these small remnants of disobedience remaining, you are truly right on the verge of breakthrough but limiting your potential. As it says in Song of Solomon 2:15, it is "the little foxes that spoil the vines."

Commit today to follow your convictions, and to obey in everything He is asking you to do. I will do the same! Now on the upside, and there ALWAYS is an upside with God:

Genesis 22:18 (NLT) - And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed—all because you have obeyed me.

Kingdom Resources

What I'm about to write may shock you, but I hope that it doesn't. Have you ever considered that everything that is under your authority is or should be a Kingdom Resource? And by that I mean: 1) resource - a source of supply, support, or aid, especially one that can be readily drawn upon when needed and 2) kingdom - a territory, state, people, or community ruled or reigned over by a king or queen. As part of the people of God under the rulership of King Jesus, are you a source of supply and support that can be readily drawn upon? I dare to assert that all of us who claim the name of Christ should be able to answer this question with a resounding YES!

So often we consider most things in this world "ours", when in fact, we are
merely stewards of them. One has to look no farther than the parable of the talents to see this illustrated (Matthew 25:14-30). When you first come face to face with this truth, it may seem a little unfair, and to be honest, kind of a rip! But when you finish this parable and realize that the King of ALL rewards those who are faithful with even more resources to steward - you realize there is nothing to fear and no reason to hold so tightly to these piddly resources that you think are "yours." How much would you rather be tied into LIMITLESS supply for the small price of laying down your will? :)

Obviously when you start to talk about resources, people naturally move toward the topic of money. And that is a big one, of course, especially in the financial times we are enduring. But what else is under your authority that can be of use to your King? Your home, your time, your family, your vehicle, your particular set of skills, the list goes on...

As I was reminded at a marriage conference recently, according to Matthew 6:21 - "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." When we begin to invest, all that we are and have, in the Kingdom and in people...our hearts will be drawn there as well. We won't have to fabricate or muster up a desire for the things of God or a love for people - it is our human tendency as this Scripture so succinctly states to hold dear those things where we put our treasure or resources.

What an awesome opportunity we have, and let's think of it as such! To begin to make choices to invest all of our resources into Spirit-guided Kingdom endeavors and stand back to watch what our awesome God does!