Posts Tagged ‘obedience’

images84YL6NK0I have been feeling the heaviness of responsibility for two weeks and it is pretty much all tied to the new Bible study I’m leading. I struggled with the decision to do Beth Moore’s Children of the Day (a study of 1st and 2nd Thessalonians). Don’t get me wrong, I love her studies, but they are intense and demand a lot of time if you are going to get the most out of them. I have such a mix in my group, from brand new Christians to seasoned believers, it’s hard to always know that the material I’ve selected will meet everyone’s needs.

All that said, I felt impressed to move forward with Children of the Day. We are only in the first session, but I’ve already had some amazing testimonies from my ladies. One of my favorites was this – “I’ve never ever committed to actually following through on all the lessons of a Bible study until now. So far I’ve done every one and I’m hooked.”

I’ve had three ladies tell me in separate, one on one conversations “This is exactly what I needed right now.” And one who said, “I’ve been looking for something to motivate and get me moving and this is it, I can tell.” And today I heard from one who just made a decision to join us that ‘she doesn’t know anything about the Bible.’

I’m excited but I’m nervous at the same time. With so many women expecting great things I worry that I’m not smart enough, strong enough, educated enough to be their leader. I’ve been having mini panic attacks and major anxiety over this. So today I pick up my current personal bible study on the book of Esther (also by Beth Moore) and there God meets me with just what I need. Again!

This morning’s lesson focused on Esther 4:12-14. Mordecai has requested that Esther approach the king on behalf of the Jews and Esther has responded with the fact that she is most definitely not the person to approach the king. He hasn’t been interested in her for the past month. She has obviously lost favor with him. And death comes to those who approach the king without an invitation. There must be someone better for the job.

I’m sure you remember Mordecai’s response. “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

God puts us in a time and place for a purpose. To back off when that purpose becomes apparent is to deny that God can and does use us, inadequate as we are, in mighty ways. With Esther, Mordecai assured her that God would still accomplish His purpose because to annihilate the Jews would go against all of His Old Testament promises. But Esther and her father’s family would not be moving forward in history if she didn’t accept this task.

With me, I recognized from this study that God didn’t have to use me to see that these ladies’ spiritual growth takes place. But for some mysterious reason, He has chosen to use me. And – if I refuse – I am the one who will suffer, not them. I am the one who will not experience the miracles and the wonder and the enlightenment that takes place when His plan collides with my ministry.

Am I still nervous? You bet. But I’m taking it on because He will be with me, and it’s His show. It may look like I’m center stage, but I’m not. And that’s a good thing. Because when His shadow covers my spot at the head of the table, I’m disabled and He’s enabled to do great things.

“For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose.” Phil 2:13
Or as the Message Bible puts it:
“Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure.”

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I had one of those unexpected surprises this week.  You know the kind that comes out of nowhere and smacks you over the head.  Only this once smacked me in the rear bumper – not mine, the one on the back of my car.  I was royally rear ended while stopped at a traffic light.  The young woman who hit me was so distracted by whatever she was doing she didn’t even attempt to apply the brakes before meeting the brick wall of my Lincoln.  Her car was totaled.  Mine was significantly damaged.  Thank God I and none of the six people in her car were injured.

The big question is always “did she have insurance?”  Well, yes and no.  She was driving her father’s vehicle which did have insurance in effect.  However, she was driving with a suspended license and was restricted from driving his car.  The coverage may or may not be valid. Not only was she driving with a suspended license but she had two children in the car, a baby and a toddler, neither of whom were secured in any kind of child restraint.  To add to the picture, she had spent the morning telling a judge she couldn’t serve jury duty because she had no license and couldn’t drive , therefore her father would have to drive her to the court house and wait for her each day to drive her home.  The judge excused her.  I think that may be perjury or contempt of court or something. 

With my damaged car and my sore back from the impact I have been struggling with the fairness of the situation.  I am a law abiding person who follows the rules.  I wear my seat belt, never haul kids around without having them in car seats, carry insurance at all times and obey the speed limit (almost always).  I am hit by a person who has no regard for rules and no respect for the legal system obviously.  The repair to my car will probably have to be covered by my own insurance.  And – in the end, when all the details had been recorded and all the paperwork exchanged, the policeman investigating the accident allowed two men in a pickup truck to hook up to her car and tow it away, with two little ones still inside, no car seats, and her behind the wheel, no license. 

It’s easy to get cynical, questioning why I should follow the rules when others don’t.  Why should I pay for insurance when inevitably I will be hit by someone who doesn’t?  Why should I suffer (sore neck, sore back, head ache) for another’s poor choices? 

The answer of course can be found in Colossians 3:22 where we are told to “obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.”

Obedience is a central principal of a life lived for Christ.  Any disobedience, be it against God’s law or the laws that govern my earthly life, is sin.  Sin separates me from Christ.  I can’t find any scripture in my Bible referring to life being fair or to there being exceptions to the do-not-sin rule.  Instead I am told that to show “sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord” I’m to obey the rules even when no one is looking.  It has nothing to do with fairness or equality.  It has to do with an honest and committed relationship.

In fact, obedience that is accompanied by suffering was initiated by the Christ I serve, who never asked “why should I suffer (pierced hands, pierced feet, pierced heart) for another’s poor choices?” 

God calls me to be His light in every situation with the goal of that light shining into a heart that has none.  Instead of lamenting the unfairness of the situation I am choosing to pray that something in my demeanor reflected the grace of God.  I am hoping that my example of being responsible enough to carry insurance and a valid driver’s license will have some influence on the other driver’s thought process before she gets behind the wheel again.  And I am giving it to God who in the end is the only one who can soften a disobedient heart.  Will you join me in my prayer for a young woman named Ruby who needs Christ’s touch?

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message…”  John 17:20

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