“God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.” Lamentations 3:22-23 (The Message)
The last time we were together, I shared that this obedience journey God has me on has been teaching me quite a few things. First He taught me that when I choose to obey, life can seem much harder than it did when I wasn’t focused on obeying. Second, God showed me that obedience isn’t always linear. Sometimes I can be completely obedient in one area but yet struggle miserably in an entirely different area.
The next lesson God taught me was that choosing a life of obedience doesn’t mean that God expects perfection. He knows that I’m a sinful person and will never be perfect this side of Heaven. That is why the verse above brings such peace: God isn’t after my perfection; He knows that isn’t possible. He’s after my heart. That means that if I open my eyes this morning and pray sincerely for God to give me the strength to obey today… yet fail miserably despite my best attempts, God loves me. It even means if I deliberately rebel and chose disobedience, He still loves me just as fiercely. When my head hits the pillow that night, I can confess my struggles and my weakness and sometimes my pure stubbornness to hold onto my desires and I know that I can start fresh again tomorrow… clean slate.
That brings me to the last lesson God showed me. While it’s true that God looks at my heart and my attitude more than the actions I’m demonstrating, if I truly love Him and seek to obey Him, eventually my actions will line up with what He’s asking me to do.
While God doesn’t expect perfection, He does expect me to exercise self-control. He does expect me to ask for His strength and His help so that I can overcome and succeed. He does expect me to do what is necessary to get the help I need in order to make the steps toward living obedient. And He knows that when I ask, when I practice, when I learn how to recognize and then also resist the enemy, then I will find success in obeying regularly and will begin to walk in freedom.
See… God doesn’t ask me to be obedient because He doesn’t want me to have any fun. On the contrary. I believe God invited me on this particular journey because He is waiting to pour blessings down on me, but He knows they can’t come (and I won’t appreciate them) until I learn the lesson He wants me to learn and I get this particular area in my life under His authority.
When I look at obedience from that perspective, while it’s still hard, it’s worth it. It doesn’t seem as hard, it’s not impossible and there is hope. Does that mean that when I’m done writing this and my family suggests making brownies I won’t be tempted? No. I still have one more week left of my 90 day fast. I am choosing to obey with God’s help and show Him where my heart really belongs. It does mean, though, that I’m asking Him to remind me to keep the right focus… which is off the temporary glass beads and instead on whatever blessing He wants to give me.
© Cheri Swalwell 2017