Today I was reading from a book called "The Pleasures of God", by John Piper. It's an excellent book, and one that I would highly recommend. I was struck by the concept of obediance... why do we as Christians find it important to obey? Many times, i think, we believe it's simply "the thing to do," or we do it because our parents taught us to. Some might even say that it's done out of thankfullness to God... I know that's how I used to describe it.

The more I think about it, though, the more I realize that can't be it. How is that enough? Is obediance seperate from salvation? Can you be saved without trying to live in obediance? This especially hit home for me when I thought about friends of mine who claimed to be Christians, but whose later actions showed that they didn't think a lifelong commitment to obediance was part of the deal.

Mr. Piper structured it well, I think. He suggested that obediance is an extension of faith. How can this be so? Well, consider the Pharisees. Their "obediance" to the law was unparralleled. Christ, however, didn't give them any credit whatsoever for those efforts. He pointed out that they didn't truly believe in God or have faith in his power. So, then, obediance without faith is clearly not good enough.

At the same time, faith without obediance is dead, and shouldn't even qualify as "faith". A life that does not reflect God's glory clearly does no good. If our Goal in life is to glorify God (and the bible is clear that it is), then the weakness and irrelevance of a disobediant life quickly becomes evident.

If someone TRULY has faith in God, they will be seeking to obey him because they trust him. Their faith is not an intellectual acknowledgement of the reality of God and the Gospel... the Bible says that even demons "believe" in God. Instead, the person who has faith recognizes their need for God, and learns to become dependent on him for their well being. Obediance is an extension of that faith... it is a TRUST. Following God's statues is a recognition of our need for his direction in our lives, and an acknowledgement that he knows what's best.

Samantha is going to be a nurse and Christy and Rachelle are going to be doctors, so I'll even put this in medical terms for their sakes. Imagine your relationship with your physician. He or she tells you to take a certain pill three times a day, get plenty of rest, and not eat any sweets.

Now imagine the reactions.

Isn't it sad to realize that most Christians SAY they believe in the doctor's skills, and sometimes even tell their friends what a great doctor he is... but they take the pills maybe once a day, maybe once a week. They argue for hours about how much rest is "plenty", and barely end up sleeping at all. They say, "I'll give up most sweets, but giving up my Hershey kisses is just TOO MUCH TO ASK. The doctor doesn't know what he's asking for." To top it all off, they tell other Christians that they are doing well, because they "intend" to follow the doctor's orders, "when they get around to it." Or they might take 4 pills in one day to make up for the 10 days they missed. Or they might go for an entire day without any sweets, and then be so proud of themselves that they gorge on chocolate the next day.

Doesn't that show a lack of trust/faith in the doctor? Don't you want to laugh and cry at the same time as you see this person question why they aren't healthy and active? Isn't it ridiculous how true this is of us?

The point is, GOD GIVES US RULES FOR A REASON. Those rules are designed to help us glorify God with our lives, and will also make us "happy and healthy" in the end. OBEDIANCE IS AN EXPRESSION OF OUR TRUST IN GOD. Do you believe that God knows what's best for you? Prove it. Obey him.

The nuttiest part about all this is that we don't have to do it alone. If we do, we can easily become like the Pharisees, puffed up with our own strong wills and having the wrong mindset. God tells us that to stive for and accomplish obediance, we can and must depend on him. He is willing to take our burdens if we only ask.

Sometimes people question why I care so little about school and so much about theology. I'll tell you why. I have a deep trust in my King. He knows what is best for my life, and so I'm going to do everything in my power to obey him, know him, and serve him better. At the end of the day, my life will have great meaning, not because of my own skill, but because of God's power working through me.

Question your own life. I know that I still have miles and miles to go. Do we REALLY trust that God knows what's best for us? Are we following his commands and asking him to help us do so, knowing that it will be better for us in the long run? Is Obediance an obligation, or a joyful trust?

Keep fighting, but don't forget to take time to gain perspective. Following God's laws can be a painful thing that you do because "you're supposed to", or it can be a joyful way of glorifying God by showing him that you trust his direction for your life.

And by the way... three more weeks and I'll be home!

Till next time.