“You can not obligate God with your obedience.”
I think that many Christians don’t truly understand this concept. I’m not really sure that I understand it myself. I’ve spent most of my life believing that God loves me, that I am a son of God, a new creature in Christ. I believe this but I don’t think I truly understand it. I also have spent most of my life believing that God will bless me, IF I am obedient, so I wouldn’t truly get his blessings in my life, if I didn’t work my hardest to be “good”. So i’ve spent most of my life trying my hardest to be good so that God would bless me. And I have failed miserably in the process. And guess what, I’ve been blessed anyway. 🙂
The longer I live and work in this life, the more I think we make it way to difficult. I believe that one of the reasons we are given the Old Testament, with all of it’s laws and rules, is to prove to us that we can NOT, under our own power, live up to what God expects from us. It’s is painfully obvious to anyone with any amount of reason, that we are all incapable of being “good” enough for God. This is the point of the cross, Christ took all our sin with him to the grave. When God looks at me, he sees me as I am going to be, not as I am. “There is no condemnation when the Son has set you free”.
So What am I trying to say? The difference for me is that I should try and be good NOT to earn God’s blessings, but just because I don’t want to hurt my friend. If I try to be good, I’m going to fail, plain and simple, I’m going to fail and usually miserably. But that is okay, Christ took care of it. Now does that mean there will be no consequences? NO it does not. While we are here in this rather short and temporary existence, we will always have consequences for our actions. The physical consequences of our actions are not what I’m taking about. I’m talking about the eternal consequences. “The wages of sin is death” I think this verse can be looked at a couple different ways but for this example, I don’t think this is talking about a “physical death”. I believe this is referring to a spiritual death. I believe spiritual death to be permanent, eternal, separation from God.
As to those blessings here on earth for “deeds done in good faith” there is no doubt that blessings occur for those people who help others, or do good deeds, but I think that those same blessings are available to unbelievers as well as believers. God causes the rain to fall on believers fields as well a unbelievers. So again what am I trying to say? It’s all about my attitude. What is your attitude? Are you trying to be good so God will bless you? If so cut it out. If God blesses you it will be because he chooses to, because you are his son or daughter, it will have nothing to do with how good you’ve tried to be. But if your attitude is one of humbleness, knowing that you are incapable of being “good”, then you will try and be good just because Christ is your friend and you don’t want to disappoint him. This is a much easier life, you will not have the usual pressures in life. God said “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11, 28-30). Does that verse make you believe that you need to be under all kinds of pressure to do good all the time? Does it sound like we need to be constantly riddled with guilt because of our sin? Sounds to me like the burden he has for us is “light”. Embrace his burden, life will be much less stressful.
Hah. I almost completely missed the point of this article “You can not obligate God with your obedience.” That quote is what prompted the writing of this article. I heard that quote on a podcast from Steve Brown. I believe the quote was from Dr. Larry Crabb. When I heard that quote it really hit home. How many times had I (consciously or unconsciously) thought: “well God I’ve done everything right in this issue, you best be bringing on the blessings” How arrogant is that? Well now you know what prompted this whole line of thinking. 🙂
Disclaimer: Like always, I’m not a theologian, I’m not a pastor. Everything I say here might be wrong, but I’ve had fun writing it. Hope you enjoy.