Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Joyful Obedience


Ah, yes...joyful obedience. That is the title of this post, but it is this very attitude that I've been struggling to give the Lord recently.

Can anyone out there relate?

Oh, it's a struggle, such a struggle! So many times, I know the Lord is calling me to do something. But, what do I do? I sit there, grumbling and arguing with my conscience, trying to think of some excuse that would be reasonable enough to disobey my Lord. (Is disobedience ever reasonable or excusable?)

Now, it's not that I never want to obey the Lord. The cry and passion of my heart is to obey Him. And yet, I still see so many little areas in my life where I exemplify grumbling or foot-dragging obedience. I remind myself of a toddler so often; arguing and fighting when my Father asks something of me, instead of immediately obeying with a joyful attitude.

But then, I am reminded of verses like Philippians 2:5-11...

"Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."

Christ, our Ultimate Example. The Lord Himself was obedient to His Father and joyfully submitted Himself to His will. Did Christ complain when the soldiers mercilessly flogged Him to a pulp? Was He seeking a way of escape when they threw His open body upon a cross, nailed His wrists to the planks of wood, and He bore the wrath of Almighty God? How many times did Jesus argue with His Heavenly Father before He gave into submission? Not once.

What was our Lord's prayer in the garden? "Not my will, but Yours be done."

Open hands. A willing heart. Surrender to the will of God.

I need these attitudes, long for them, am praying for them. But oh, it is so hard. That struggle with the flesh is so continual, so tiring at times. It is during these times of struggling that I need to remember to rest, in Him and in His Word.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." (Hebrews 12:1-3)

Praise the Lord that He has gone ahead of us and has paid our way, won the ultimate victory, and given us an example to follow. "Consider Him....so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."

Let us consider Him, my friends, as we run this race together. We do not run it alone, for the Lord is the One who gives us the strength to press on. May we rest in Him, knowing that He is faithful and is continually sanctifying us ever more into His precious image. Oh, I pray that we would have open hands and a joyful heart, ready to serve and obey our great God in whatever He might be calling us to.

And may He give us the grace to say, "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word." (Luke 1:38)

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