Thursday, March 13, 2014

From Gone Astray to Trust and Obey

“All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have all turned to our own way,
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.”
― Isaiah 53:6 (NRSV)
DISOBEDIENCE is the right of humankind in the context of creation where God has given us free will abundantly and freely. (That’s one way of looking at a life of ‘free will’.) We have every right to disobey, it is said.
Notwithstanding the eternal design of life, where the ways of God are the only wise ways, we are so beloved by God he would never force us to love him. And by loving God is meant trusting and obeying God.
Like sheep we have gone astray, and it is our nature – whether we are saved in Jesus Christ or not – to continue to stray.
Every day we stray. Every day we escape the loving clutches of God.
Every moment we are but one second away from moving away from the Spirit who protects us and seeks to lovingly guide us.
The principal connection with trust and obedience is the protection and provision of God, which we forego in favour of having things our own way. Obeying the will of God is about going to the cross with Christ in favour of crucifying him afresh.
Obeying the will of God requires moral strength. Many times that moral strength will elude us. So let us exhort grace all the more! Oh, what a fortunate people we are. We have free will, yet still we are saved by amazing grace in accord with choosing Christ. This should beckon us to reconciling the truth of our sin all the more. It’s the least we could do; honour God by repenting of our sin.
Graced with the Will to Obey
Forgive me, O Covenant Father,
Eternal Shepherd of humanity,
Make me to rather,
Stillness and sweet sanity.
Cover my sin and by your Spirit lead,
Because it’s my nature to stray,
Help me, O God, to meet my need,
Grace me with the will to obey.
When we have become sick and tired of straying from the fold of God, then, and only then, are we ready for salvation.
We should not wantonly sin. That would be the proof-ground of a person who is saved under cheap grace. Grace ought never to be cheapened. If we cannot continue to seek the will of God, what point is there in being saved?
Surely as we read the Gospels we see enough evidence of Jesus rebuking those who thought they had their relationship with God all squared away. It isn’t the person going about their business proudly that pleases God. It is that filthy sinner – that lone sheep returning to the fold – that has God ecstatic.
Finally as we come around to the desire to please God, moment by moment, only then are we graced with the will to obey. Obedience is never easy until we truly want to obey.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

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