Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sunday Sentiments: What Is True Obedience?

Sunday Sentiments is an attempt to record what God has been teaching me and the way in which He does it.

We've all heard these stories. Person A worries and frets and tries to do something in their own strength, then finally lays it all aside. God then swoops in and blesses their socks off.  Or Person B chucks their business career, answers God's calling, and goes into ministry. Their ministry then soars into the skies as God blesses them in big, huge ways.

But what about Person C who patiently waits and continues to obey? And there's no blessing? They strive to be content with what they lack but God's answer continues to be "wait" or maybe even "no"? 

What is the difference? Why is Person C made to feel they're not truly obedient/waiting/content since they don't have the blessing to show for it?

Why is our perspective so skewed?

I've been frustrated by this response for so long and it's been coming to a boil lately. An interesting conversation occurred over in the comments at Melissa Brotherton's blog the other day. The teaching that God will give us the desires of our hearts that is often applied as a panacea.  The truth is if it's just my desires, my wishes that are on the line, they might not be realized but this does not make my desires- or God, for that matter- good or bad.  If my heart is in line with God, then I will desire what He desires and will grow in contentment as a result.  It's not about me any longer.

Laura Parker's husband articulates this so much better than I ever could.
And the assumed conclusion... and one which typically flies past unnoticed by my sometimes-naive view of practical theology –
If you follow and obey God, it will always work out for you.
And then, my other-side-of-the-coin-husband dropped the zinger that made me look through prosperity to see more gospel-truth. He said, simply–
If you follow and obey God, it will always work out for God.  There’s no promise about it working out for you.
There's no promise it will work out for us.  But if the blessing is our motivation for what we do, if obedience comes from anywhere other than a place of love for God, we have completely missed the point.  

Do you need these words today? What blessings are you waiting to receive? Will you still obey if you never receive them?

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