by Steve Countryman
5/12/2011 / Christian Living
That has to be the most often asked question of believers, I know I have asked it! The answer may not be what we Christians want to hear. I received a definite wake up call recently with the answer that God gave me. God's answer tied directly to a book that I was given to read by my friend Mike Kludt "Fear of the Lord" by John Bevere. One phrase leaped off of the pages and grabbed my attention, "unconditional obedience". I thought that was a "given" but quickly I realized that it was something that I had been taking for granted. God asked me to do a little thing and before I knew it a multitude of excuses started flowing out of my mouth as to why I couldn't. Then it dawned on me how can God do the big things through me when I struggle with the little things? How can He trust me with bigger responsibility, miracles, signs and wonders if I make obeying God conditional with the little things? I was embarrassed, ashamed and I felt so small. I asked God to forgive my conditional obedience. I had acted just like the Israelites in the desert that placed conditions on obeying God. I thought that I was beyond that and whatever God wanted I would do. What a wake up call!
How can we call ourselves Christians, Disciples of Christ or Christ-like, if we make our obedience conditional? To obey God when it is convenient, when you feel like it or when you are in the mood, when it doesn't embarrass you, when your friends aren't around, only when no one will recognize you, only when you are "feeling spiritual", only in church, as long as you don't have to do it in front of others, in a store, to strangers, in public, out-loud or any other excuse you can think of is making your obedience to God all conditional. If you make your obedience conditional then making God's commandments conditional becomes easy too. To pick and choose only those commandments that you feel pertains to you. Changing God's commandments to God's suggestions. Conditional obedience and delayed obedience is disobedience and rebellious and that is not Christ-like and is not what it means to be a Christian.
I asked God to give me the wisdom, courage and boldness to obey Him unconditionally. So I asked for confirmation, which He gave, and I did do what He asked of me. I had leaned on my own understanding thinking that I was walking in obedience as I should when in reality I had deceived myself into conditional obedience. When we receive the Lord Jesus into our hearts we do so unlimited, unrestricted and unconditional. We are to serve the Lord who is our master and savior His way and on His terms not ours! That means unconditional and timely obedience. We do so without complaining, murmuring or whining. Instead we do it with a smile on our face, joy in our hearts and His praise on our lips!
I want a closer intimate walk with my God and I want God to have unrestricted access to all areas of my life. I want to see God's manifested presence in my daily life. I won't see that if I restrict His Holy Spirit and place conditions on my obedience and my love for Him. Then we ask the question "why isn't God doing miracles through me?" when we won't let Him. That is like a person who lives in a house that is in desperate need of repairs that they can't do themselves. So a qualified friend has agreed to come over to take of the repairs but the homeowner won't let him in to do it. Meanwhile the homeowner keeps asking when will the repairs be done. There is no intimacy with God the Father when we restrict or deny access to all areas of our lives. How can we Christians expect the manifested presence of God moving mightily in our lives when we place conditions on our obedience? Forgive us O Lord of our arrogance and selfishness.
My name is Steve and I was born and raised in a good Christian home in Phoenix Arizona. In 2004 God spoke to me to let me know that He would start sharing things with me that I would share with others. Little did I know how powerful and meaningful those things would be! Thank you Lord!!
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