Friday, March 30, 2018

Faith and Obedience - A Christian's Travel Mates

Psalms 119:2 talks about those who seek God with all their heart...but when I look around me, all I see is people who want to 'find themselves'. Our society is obsessed with the search for 'self'. If you don't agree with me, I would suggest you make a trip to the local bookstore and check out the 'self-help' category! You will find best-selling literature guaranteeing success with everything from raking in the money to firming your flabby body. We worship fame, success and celebrities. But these counterfeit values leave us self-absorbed, hollow and spiritually dry.

However, there is one all-time bestseller that can reverse your empty life and renew it with springs of fresh living water...God's Word. The Bible talks about God's love for humanity and how He showed that love by the sacrifice of His Son on the cross. This is what He did for us. What have we done in return? How do you show your love for Him?

Charles Colson, an acclaimed Christian writer, conducted a survey among experienced Christians on how they loved God. Some of the answers were, " simply loving him!", " going to church regularly", " tithing dutifully", " having a daily bible reading and prayer schedule", etc. This shows that, as professing Christians, we haven't grasped the idea of loving God.

The greatest commandment of all, Jesus said, is "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind". But, how do we love God? Jesus answered this question when he was addressing His disciples. "If you love me, you will obey what I command" (John 14:15). We can obey his commandments only when we know and understand the Scriptures. This is the key to loving God.

Faith and Obedience in the Christian Walk

The real test of our Christianity isn't seen in our work or activity, or even in our theological purity. It's found in this: when we have an opportunity to wander away, to disobey, to leave His presence, do we choose instead to stay close to him, to abide in Christ, to obey? Do we make an outward show of piety and devotion, while choosing not to come out of our own comfort zones? Obeying God means a radical change in our lives...some of our most comfortable notions and values will be thoroughly uprooted and we have to be willing to let go and let God!

Boris Kornfeld was a doctor and a so-called 'enlightened Jew' who found Christ in a prison in Russia. After abandoning his socialistic ideals, he decided to surrender his life to Christ and serve Him at any given opportunity. One night he was violently beaten to death for telling on a fellow prisoner who stole food meant for the sick and dying inmates of the prison hospital. But, a few hours before he was killed, Kornfeld was attending to a seemingly terminal patient and he shared his faith with the patient, bringing him to Christ. The patient survived the prison camp and went on to share the gospel with world. The patient's name was Alexander Solzhenitsyn, one of the world's most influential writers. In the eyes of the world, Boris Kornfeld was a failure - he gave up his life for a loaf of bread. Yet, God used his single-minded obedience to lead to Christ another person who became a prophetic voice to the rest of the world. This is what God wants from His people: obedience, no matter what the circumstance or how unknown the outcome may be.

The benefits of obeying God's Word are manifold. Psalm 119 mentions many benefits, some of which are listed below:
  • Avoiding sin and pursuing godliness (Ps. 119:3, 11, 36, 102, 133).
  • A motivation and basis for praising God (Ps. 119:7, 171).
  • A pure lifestyle (Ps. 119:9).
  • Readjustments in our priorities (Ps. 119:14, 92) and values (Ps. 119:16, 20, 37, 48, 72, 103, 111, 127).
So obedience is the key to real, maturing faith - a faith that deepens and grows as we live our Christian life. A powerful illustration of this kind of faith is Job's life. Even though he lost everything, he clung to God, believing that God is who He is. He confirmed his obedience with those memorable words of faith: "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him" (Job 13:15). Therefore, love the Lord your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul and with your entire mind...

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