Posted by: Derek Guyer | February 2, 2011

Obedient Love


I often imagine how it would look if God’s people focused on obeying Him when He spoke. It seems most people who claim to be Christians are people who know about God and His revealed word, but aren’t necessarily people who obey Him. I consistently find that many are convinced their understanding of a passage of scripture is more important than their obedience to it. This is a shame. The commands of Christ do not point to some random ideas and thoughts that some mysterious being up in the sky has created to watch us dance. The commands of God point to the design of the world He made. The laws illustrate the purpose and function of creation and give us insight into our Creator and His will for mankind.

It’s because of this I find myself constantly going back to the words of Christ to see where I’m disobedient. I’ve found so many passages in the last six months where I’m in need of change and am disappointed in the ways I’ve rationalized away the obedience He calls me to. This is changing in me.

One area where I find myself humbled and ashamed of my previous actions comes in Jesus’ words to the disciples in the Sermon on the Mount. Pick up with me in Matthew 5, in the NASV, where Jesus says the following:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

For years I have let this uncomfortable teaching by Jesus pass by me. I have justified a poor attitude time and time again. I have allowed a lack of love towards my enemies to become a place where sin has leavened the whole lump. In times where forgiveness and love needed to be extended, I’ve allowed thoughts of frustration and negativity to brew inside of me. I’ve allowed it to produce all kinds of sin within me as I’ve turned to gossip about others with all manner of excuses justifying my sin. The rot caused by the death and decay of these sins has ruined me again and again. I needed change.

I immediately pulled out my prayer journal and began listing my enemies and pouring my heart out to God for them. I began asking God to bless them and to bring them His grace and mercy. I asked Jesus to forgive me for harboring resentment and hate within me towards others’ sin all while expecting him to forgive my own sin (Mt. 6:14-15). I asked Him to teach them about His perfect will and to bring them to a clear understanding of His abundant love. I asked Him to teach me how to serve them and am seeking ways to be His hands and feet consistently.

My obedience to these commands of Christ has transformed me as a man of God. In loving my enemies and praying for those who persecute me, I have learned to be thankful for my Savior on a much greater level. His love is consuming me and pushing me to greater depths with Him. As I draw closer to Him; He draws closer to me. My tension, worry, and frustration melt away when I’m praying for those who stand opposed to Christ in me. It’s in those moments that I realize who I am, and it is the evil inside them that makes me love them more. They need to see His love as it’s been shown to me while they’re still sinners, too. This is the very heart of the gospel. It’s the “good news” of love.

What about you? Are you harboring hurt, anger, resentment, pain, and hate within your heart? Have you learned to hate your spouse? Have you held resentment for unmet needs and allowed your heart to be calloused and cold towards your spouse? If so, what are you going to do about it? Are you going to continue holding on to your unforgiving heart or are you going to offer the forgiveness you’ve accepted?

“In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world.”

I John 5:3 NIV


Responses

  1. In the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “only he who believes is obedient, and only he who is obedient believes.” I’ve been struggling through the “Cost of Discipleship” and it is bringing me to my knees along with the Gospels. I can see the word is doing the same for you brother! Obey on…

    • We’ll have to get on the phone soon. That book has been incredible for me as well. Praise God for bringing us in line with His perfect will!

  2. Thanks Derek. How incredibly true and sad. Christianity has been more about trying to “understand” the Gospel which really means rationalizing it to fit what is palatable. Simple obedience to simple teaching is missed, but is the fundamental of faith. Thank you for the inspiration to renew my efforts to try to put obedience first.

  3. […] offended and whose trust has been broken, that they once received the same mercy and grace they desperately need to now extend. It’s clear the love of Father has no end and I can’t say how thankful I am for that […]


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