Love that Will Not Let us Go
Scriptures: Romans 5:19 Psalm 1 Luke 9: 23-25 Matthews 25: 34-40 Ephesians 2: 8-10
"For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous"
As our Lord knelt among the olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane, He made a choice that He knew was the only way that those who He saw as His family, could ever be saved. Being obedient to the will of His Father had always meant one thing to our Saviour, opening His Heart so that the love that could not be contained would pour out and finally flow down Calvary’s tree.
True obedience is only ever born out of true love. It is possible to make a show of obedience from a grudging heart, out of duty or fear, possibly even greed or a quest for power. What God desires is pureness of heart, the vision to see through His eyes, to delight in the joy He saw before Him, the completion of His eternal family. And pureness of heart can never be achieved by fallen humankind, unless we are washed clean by that precious flow.
Yet the conundrum is, taking that step of repenting, of laying down our lives, requires obedience. Our mind may tell us that this first step of obedience can never come from an impure heart, but our heart cries out that we cannot take one step on the road of Salvation without willingly obeying and repenting. And here before us lies our answer. It is by Grace and Grace alone that we are saved. The call of our Father, through Christ His Son that says “Follow me”, draws us to that place where we can willingly choose to repent, and by His Grace make that first faltering step.
As we are saved by His Grace, so are we sanctified, daily, until we take our last earthly breath and be embraced into the Kingdom of God. When Holy Spirit begins His work of sanctification in us, He requires our obedience in joyful, willing partnership with Him. His life within us enables us to truly obey, because the love of our Father is so strong, so powerful and longs to overflow in this obedience.
Jesus gave us so many examples of what our obedience entails. Taking up our cross daily in order to follow Him sounds daunting, but when we realise that we will never do this in our own strength, He reveals how, in His strength, we can make the choice to do it and He will walk every step of the way with us. He will yoke Himself to us, help us carry our cross, if we allow Him to.
Obedience is all about choice, the choice to let Him walk with us. Let Him come into our boat. Let Him clothe us with Himself, with His victorious armour. Obeying the Father, with Christ, is true freedom. He is the Truth that sets us free. Free to pour out in love, longing to do our Father’s will in humility and joy.
We have been redeemed from the law of sin and death, every jot and tittle of the law was fulfilled by Christ. He bought our redemption by laying down His life in total obedience to His Father. We are engraved upon His palms, our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. All because of obedience.
Our obedience to the Father’s will in our daily lives may never involve the great sacrifices, the earth shattering decisions that shape global history. Our obedience is in the everyday, seemingly mundane choices we face in whatever path God has already prepared for us to walk. It may be realising that deferring to someone else’s opinion on how a task should be performed isn’t a matter of life or death, it is, quite simply, being obedient to following Christ’s command to “take the lowest place”. That may mean swallowing our pride, setting aside our own preconceptions, in other words, laying down our life. Not physically but just as meekly, and with as much strength as Christ did.
Holding out our hands to those who need the love of God in their lives, giving a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name, loving our neighbour, blessing those who curse us, are all acts of humble obedience.
Prayer:Father God, give us Your Vision to see where our obedience lies, what Your will is, as we moment by moment lay down our lives, that we may live forever with You. Amen