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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Joy of Obedience: Part 2

Obedience calls for commitment. It is my responsibility to make a commitment to live in a manner which reflects God's truth. In 1Thessalonians 5:4-11 Paul exhorts each Christian to live an exemplary life. 2 Peter 3:11 calls for holiness and godliness. Colossians 3 contains rules for holy living, and speaks of the Christian life in terms of what I put on and what I cast away. To understand the commands in this passage of Scripture I have to understand that the things listed are built upon attitudes which bring about these actions. Attitude is of the heart, and it is expressed outwardly in conduct toward others. An unholy heart will ultimately reveal itself in two ways—either by sin or by a hypocritical attitude that pretends holiness.

What obedient action can I render to the Lord which will help another see Christ in my life? What attitude of heart do I have which Jesus wishes to change? Jesus experiences great joy when He sees His child’s obedient change of heart, and action which follows. By this others will know I am His disciples, and can experience His love (John 13:35).

To be obedient to the call of Christ I am to witness what Christ has done for me. A witness is someone who tells someone else what he has experienced. So why is it difficult so many times for a Christian to witness his faith? There are many reasons. Pride is often an issue because we are afraid of not being accepted. Perhaps we don’t know Scripture so we are afraid to speak up. Maybe we don’t have an intimate relationship with God through prayer. We might be afraid that we will do more harm than good. Being human we are afraid of failure. There is a good chance we can’t answer their questions. Worse, we might apathetic and don't care. Often we are more concerned about a friendship than the state of our friend's soul. And maybe we have little power because we have never been completely overtaken and filled by the Holy Spirit. “ But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8).

The cure for most of these excuses is “share anyway”. As we reach out to share we are forced to stretch ourselves. The very act of witnessing drives us to the the the Word and to prayer. Scripture and prayer burns away apathy. It drives away fear. It brings a desire for spiritual knowledge, and fills us with a hunger to experience God’s power. 1 Thessalonians 5:24 explains that God is faithful to do that which He has called to be done. We don’t have the power, because we have not asked (James 4:2).

People are searching for something greater than themselves—something that gives meaning to their existence. They long to understand what they don’t understand. If they are ever to realize that Jesus Christ is the answer, it will depend on the effectiveness of my personal witness, and a willingness to ask, “Won’t you come with me?”

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