Sunday, November 20, 2005

Obedience — Obligation or Opportunity?

Many Christians look at obeying God as nothing more than a matter of obligation — just something we gotta do. They treat the will of God as something to put up with, something to acquiesce to, whether we like it or not. It is just a sacrifice we make. What a drag!

But people who know only obligation, duty and sacrifice have not yet come to the place where love is reigning in their hearts.
  • Love does not speak of obligation but of opportunity.
  • Love does not dwell on the duty of obedience, but the delight of loving God.
  • Love does not think of sacrifice, but of serving the one we love.
When we love, the will of God becomes, not something we gotta do, but something we get to do. For the will of God is the unveiling of the powerful passions, delights and desires of the He who loves us more than our words can described.

The Bible says that “to obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Samuel 15:22). But if we stop there, we have missed what God is about. Obedience and sacrifice are the technical terms of bean-counters and legalists, not the language of passionate lovers.

But God is a lover, not a legalist; He is about relationship, not rules. He gave Moses the Law, that is true. But it was not for the purpose of restricting His people; it was given to enable the relationship—He was after the heart of His people. The Law simply serves the relationship. The Bible says that “God is Love” (1 John 4:8), not Law.

Rule-watchers and score-keepers, who see everything in terms of obligation, eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It is a bitter food that leads only to death. God-lovers, who see God’s will as opportunities to enter into divine passion and delight, are going after the Tree of Life — and they shall find its fruit in abundance (John 10:10).