Tag Archives: obedience

Slave or free, obey

Ephesians 6:5-8  Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart,rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free.

As with so many things in the Bible, people tend to focus on the wrong area of this passage and pull it out of context. It’s been used as an example to make the case that the Bible upholds the notion of slavery, or at least doesn’t speak against it, thus showing that God is not loving. That’s not the truth, and it’s not the point either.

Paul is not pointing out that people should own other people as slaves here, but rather he’s making the point that those who are slaves to others should obey them as a way of pointing to God. One could just as easily say, “employees, obey your employers that they may see God and worship Him.”

Everyone has someone in authority over them. Those who belong to Christ are to obey whomever that may be, as a way of obeying God himself. Children obey their parents, workers obey their boss, government officials obey the voters who elected them (Just kidding, that last one doesn’t happen).

Whether you’re slave or free, you’re called to work as though working for the Lord, as though He himself instilled the power and authority held by others over you. Obey God. He says to honor those over you.

A father’s instruction

Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

What is the primary responsibility of a parent? How about of a father? What about a Christian father? If you said to raise kids who obey the law and treat others kindly, that’s just part of the equation.

Raising moral kids isn’t enough to sustain them through the circumstances of life. Only a strong foundation in the Word of God, in the gospel, can carry them through. It’s the job of a father (and a mother) to parent in light of the gospel.

If our kids comply to everything we instruct them to do, but have no understanding of God’s grace and mercy, have no idea about the sacrifice He was willing to go through for our reconciliation, then it’s wasted effort in parenting. Compliance to rules does not mean a transformed heart.

Fathers, don’t just expect your kids to do what you say. Don’t use your authority to bend their will to yours. Utilize the authority you’ve been given by the Father to raise them up to know Him. They’ll know Him because you show His nature and character to them by the way you treat them.

If you’re not a parent, this notion still applies for you.  There’s someone, somewhere who’s under your authority, however little it may be. The way in which you use that authority, the way in which you instruct and lead will either draw them closer to God or push them away from Him. Lead wisely and be a follower of the Holy Spirit as He guides you.

Honor your father and mother

Ephesians 6:1-3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise),  “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”

Marriage isn’t the only relationship the Bible speaks of, though it may seem that way in books like Ephesians where so much is said to husbands and wives. The relationship between children and their parents is an even more obvious depiction of the relationship between God and His people than marriage is.

Obedience, be it our obedience to God or the obedience of children to parents, is never just about compliance for the sake of compliance. God didn’t give us rules to follow just because He likes having His rules followed any more than our parents did that. There are reasons for the rules of the house; right? I’m always telling my kids that i don’t give them rules because I’m mean; I do it because I care about them and don’t want to see them get hurt. When they don’t obey, the result is often a negative experience. So it is in our disobedience to God.

The Law cannot be fully obeyed perfectly and we’ll never earn our way into heaven by keeping it. That’s not its purpose, though. We can thrive better, and live much more fulfilling lives if we stick to what the Lord has laid before us as right, avoiding what He says is wrong. It’s not about a dictator forcing anything on us. It’s about a loving Father who cares about His kids and wants to see them live well. His plan for us is better than our own plans.

How are you doing at obeying? Do you even see the need to do so?

What path will you choose?

Genesis 24:57-58 They said, “Let us call the young woman and ask her.” And they called Rebekah and said to her, “Will you go with this man?” She said, “I will go.”

Sometimes in life we’re given a choice.  A path is laid out before us and we have the choice either to walk down that path or to take our own path.  Which way we decide to go can change our destiny and affect many others.

We often hear “The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” because those men were called by God and given a promise.  But the very same God also called Rebekah to take part in fulfilling the covenant He made.  When Abraham’s servant left Canaan to find a wife for Isaac, he found Rebekah because he had prayed for God to show him which young woman had been chosen.  Yet the choice of whether to go with the servant was left up to Rebekah.  Though her family and the servant believed God’s hand was in all of this, they let her decide.

With three simple words, “I will go,” Rebekah made a choice that would have a profound impact.  It was through Rebekah that Jacob and Esau would be born, two men who were critical to the plans God had.  Her obedience to God was more than she could have even known.

What path has been laid before you?  What way has God called you to follow in obedience?  What might happen if you choose His way over your own?  There’s only one way to find out.

 

This devotional is derived from a sermon message by Matthew J. Cochran.  Listen to the sermon here:

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Got A Light

Matthew 5:14-16  “You are the light of the world–like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.  No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Luke 11:36  If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.

We usually separate The Beatitudes from the following verses about being salt and light and don’t put the two concepts together but I think that shining our light has some prerequisites.

Living for him with the attitudes and character that please him will make you a bright light in this dark world, if you are not doing that then there won’t be any light, you will look like everybody else that is living in the dark. But if you are living the beatitudes lifestyle you will stand out.

You are going to be strange in a world that seeks happiness in favorable circumstances and pleasant emotions, the world tells us to look out for ourselves but God’s expectations are different, he taught that happiness is found in living for him and when we live for him we will be a shining light in this dark world.

You have the potential to be the light, as a child of God you already have the light in you but you have a choice whether you will let it shine out for everyone else to see. Are you going to put a lamp shade or even worse a blanket over it so that it doesn’t help anybody else?

The light of good deeds are for God’s glory, don’t put the light on yourself so that you will get the credit, the world needs the real source of light and what it can do in their lives. If we live like his chosen people and have the beatitude attitude then we will want our light to shine on Jesus instead of ourselves so that they can see his love and kindness. That’s what this dark world needs.

RECENT POST ON DIGGING THE WORD:

This is practice for the future

Ephesians 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Have you ever heard the expression, “you play like you practice?” The idea is that you are only going to perform on game day up to the level that you’ve prepared. It’s often a saying used to relate to sports, but it can apply to business, parenting, marriage, and even walking with Christ. We’re only going to perform when we’re called to a task the way we practiced in the little everyday things.

We’re all called to something by God, but it may be some time before something big is revealed to us. We may have to be faithful in a lot of small things before we actually have something come our way that we see as big. The thing is, to God this all counts. All obedience counts.

We were sealed by the Holy Spirit for a reason. God is conforming us into the image of His Son, and He’s going it one little bit at a time (2 Corinthians 3:18), through the small things we don’t see as significant. Open your eyes to what God is doing around you and through you. Take notice of the small steps of obedience He’s calling you to and follow Him.

Obedience Isn’t Always A Logical Choice

Luke 5:1-5 As the crowd was pressing in on Jesus to hear God’s word, He was standing by Lake Gennesaret. He saw two boats at the edge of the lake; the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets.

He got into one of the boats, which belonged to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from the land. Then He sat down and was teaching the crowds from the boat. When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” “Master,” Simon replied, “we’ve worked hard all night long and caught nothing! But at Your word, I’ll let down the nets.”

Jesus had been doing a lot of work in Capernaum for several days and he was drawing a large crowd. Today they were gathering around him very early, they must have missed some sleep in order to go find Jesus and listen to him teach and to watch the miracles.

It was so early that the fisherman were still cleaning up their nets after a long unsuccessful evening, there isn’t any longer night for a fisherman than the night that he catches nothing, these guys were ready to go home and get some sleep.

Instead of going home to get some rest the future disciples get a fishing tip from Jesus, at this point they have been up all night and their nets are probably cleaned up and are ready to be put away, nevertheless Peter does what Jesus asked him to do.

This time their nets are filled more than they have ever been with fish, they had to call their friends over to help them, what a payday this is going to be! No, they didn’t get rich, instead of cashing in on the biggest load of fish that these guys have ever had, they leave it all behind and followed Jesus.

I need to be obedient to what God wants me to do. Sometimes we get frustrated when the whole world seems to be against us, we can loose our focus and decide to quit but if God wants us to do something then we need to be faithful and obey, chances are that we will see bigger results than we ever thought possible.

RECENT POST ON DIGGING THE WORD:

Romans: Fulfillment of the Law

Romans 8:4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

As Christians, it’s no longer our duty to live up to the Law.  The commands given to those under the old covenant are no longer our marching orders.  What then; do we throw away all of the commands as if they don’t matter?  No, we fulfill the Law by obeying our new command.

Jesus did not tell those under the new covenant to try and keep up the old.  Instead He gave a new command: to love.  (Romans 13:8-10)

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.  For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

It’s really as simple as that.  You want to obey God? Love.  You want to please Him? Love.  You want to do what’s right? Love.  Freedom from the Law is freedom to walk in love, and in doing so to fulfill the Law.

What’s In Your Wallet?

The Commands of Jesus Series

Matthew 6:19-21  “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.  20  Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.  21  Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

Accumulating wealth is a great idea, go for as much of it as you can get, in fact let’s be greedy about it. Well that is if you are thinking about the treasure that you are storing away in heaven.

I need to let go of  my earthly treasure and use it to help me accumulate treasure in heaven. I must not be proud of how well I can provide for my needs or place my trust in my earthly wealth, instead I need to be generous and willing to help those that are in need that I have the ability to help. That way my treasure will be stored in the right place to prevent suffering any loss, there isn’t any access for thieves and the stock market won’t crash, this treasure is made to last.

1 Peter 1:4  and we have a priceless inheritance–an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.

Help me Lord to remember that my money belongs to you, help me to know how to use it for your purpose.

You might like to read:
Greatness Redefined  //  How Is Your “I” Problem   //  Using Your Money Wisely

Choose The Narrow Way

The Commands of Jesus Series

Matthew 7:13-14  “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.  14  But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.

The path that has the least least amount of traffic on it is the narrow path that leads to heaven. Don’t think to yourself that the path needs to be improved, there isn’t any reason to make it wider, after all it is more than adequate for the amount of traffic that is using it.

The path is well known, there are a lot of signs pointing out where the path is, it is on all of the good maps, the problem isn’t that the path is hidden or hard to find. The problem is that so few make the choice to use this path, this path isn’t always safe, it isn’t very comfortable, it doesn’t have all of the best places to pull over and rest.

Even less people decide to stay on the narrow path for very long. It doesn’t take too long before the wider paths that are paved and have bright lights on them tempt the traveler to take a cross road. These well traveled ways are a temptation that is hard to resist, they are so easy, they don’t require very much effort or thought, just follow that guy right in front of you.

Luke 13:24  “Work hard to enter the narrow door to God’s Kingdom, for many will try to enter but will fail.

This pilgrim needs to be determined to stay on the narrow path, but I shouldn’t go it alone, I need to invite other people to come along with me as I travel.

Help me to remain faithful to you Lord, increase my urgency to pull somebody off of those big paths.

You might like to read:
The Fruit Doesn’t Lie  //  Obedience Doesn’t Always Seem Logical //  Loving Your Neighbor Isn’t Optional