A well known pastor shared a story of how God impressed upon him to give away a suit. Not just any suit in his closet, but a suit that he was very fond of. To avoid departing with the suit, he gave the man two other suits. Having not obeyed God, he finally gave the man the suit that God had originally asked him to give away. The pastor is now three suits “lighter” when God had only asked him to give away one. lol I love this kind of transparency because it parallels the wisdom of the parables of Jesus.
I won’t pretend that I am always eager to do what God asks me to do but my response time has definitely increased lol. With each experience of God’s faithfulness my resolve to obey is strengthened. I have learned that God never asks us for that which we do not possess. And I have learned that if God asks me to give something away, like a suit or a relationship, a negative habit, or anything else it is because God knows all and God knows best. I can’t substitute forgiveness for a temporary display of kindness. I can’t substitute repentance for service and there is no substitute for obedience.
Like the rich young ruler that we never hear of again in Matthew 19 , in disobedience, we risk God’s best for that which we have gathered to ourselves.
And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.__Matthew 19:16-26 KJV
Jesus knows the things that we own can own and preoccupy us. Jesus knows that the pride and self-centeredness we hold up as our identity are not who we really are.
Last week I shared that Surrender is the door. . today, I want to say that obedience is the key to living in the will of God.