"If you’ve raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in thickets by the Jordan?" (Jeremiah 12:5). Our journey is intended to be more than simply "stumbling" through the days while the world "wears us out.” We are made to experience the thrill of "running with horses” and to navigate life amongst the "thickets." The RWH blog focuses on both the spiritual race of which Jeremiah speaks, and the physical act of running that I absolutely love. In short, it's where "the miles meet the Message" to provide insight, perspective & encouragement that might enable you & I to successfully run either of the races set before us. May our course be purposeful and may we be passionate in our pursuit of the abundant life He desires for us.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Life of Obedience (John 14:5)

This past Sunday at River Oaks, John Williams continued the summer teaching series on the Holy Spirit. His message was entitled, A Spirit-Guided Life. John covered several scripture-based characteristics to a life that is evidence of the Holy Spirit at work.  These included:

A life full of love - John 14:21
A life of peace - John 14:15
A life dependent on God - John 15:5
A life of freedom - Galatians 5:1
A life met with spiritual warfare - Galatians 5:7-10
A life that serves in love - Galatians 5:13-15

Each of these characteristics is equally challenging and important to our discipleship, testimony and relationship with God. However, one particularly struck me as I reflected back over the message; a life full of obedience.  In John 14:15, Christ says, "If you love me, obey my commands." He then goes on to speak of sending another, an advocate to help us; the Holy Spirit. The connection between our love for Christ and a disciplined, obedient life is crystal clear. It is not a suggestion, nor does He say that if we love Him we might want to consider obeying his commands.  Love = Obedience.

The analogy that John provided, which he credited to Pastor Francis Chan, demonstrated how pitifully disappointing our disobedience was to the Father.  It's as if we were to command our children, who we love more than anything in the world, to clean their rooms.  We know that it is a responsibility that is good for them and is necessary to their maturity.  They look at us and say, "Sure Dad, I love you, I will clean my room."  As hours and days go by, the room is not clean. Rather, they tell us that they really thought long and hard about what we had said. They studied carefully what the steps for cleaning the room would involve. They got together with a small group of friends and discussed what cleaning the room might look like. The even learned how to say 'clean my room' in Greek.  They just never got around to actually cleaning the room. 

The real message, especially for Christians, is that obedience is more than lip service. Our obedience must be acted out, not by ritual and religion, but by ensuring that the Spirit is alive and well in our daily walk. That our life is filled with love, peace, dependency, freedom and service. I found that thinking through what each of these might look like in my own life was quite convicting. Now, to turn that conviction into a 'clean room!' 

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