It’s a question we all ask.
One that I want to ask every.single.day.
The question is, do I really need to? Do I believe that God is so much in control of my life, that I need to “check in” with Him to see what He requires, like a boss or a slave owner? I know that’s how much of the world sees Him, and so they avoid that question with a vengeance.
They don’t want to know.
Maybe even afraid of what it is that He might ask of them.
And what that tells me is that they don’t know much about Him.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
When you read the pages of the Bible you will see that God, in His holiness, wants so much more for His creation.
Of course He has rules: Just like a parent would give rules to their child, He gives us boundaries to protect us. [See Hebrews 12:9-11]
Of course He wants obedience–following the rules shows Him that we trust Him enough to believe He knows what is best. (After all, He created us!) [see Romans 6:15-17]
Of course He wants us to do something–He didn’t make us clones or computers or mindless robots that are just programmed to do what He wants. Or to just exist. He created us each with love and care (“God’s handiwork”), for a divine purpose. Something as unique as you are. [See Romans 12:1-8]
Does that mean that we sacrifice everything to follow Him? Is that what He wants?
Absolutely and absolutely not.
Let me explain:
He absolutely requires that we are willing to follow Him, no matter the cost.
Then He said to them all, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Luke 9:23
Taking up our cross daily, isn’t literal, of course. It is a beautiful picture of a believer who identifies with what Christ did when He sacrificed Himself on a cross for your sin and mine. When we choose to keep our eyes focused on Him (not on our circumstances), our perspective changes. The more you choose to trust Him and follow His plan, the more you want to trust Him because you see His plan is always best.
The old phrase, “What Would Jesus Do?” is more than a cute saying or a Christian platitude. It is a reminder for us that every moment of every day, we are to look to Him as an example.
So what does He not require?
Sacrifice that lacks true obedience.
Following the rules and giving Him first place in your actions, but not in your heart.
Kind of like a child that is told to sit down. He might obey physically, while “standing up on the inside” –in his head and in his heart.
“All a man’s ways seem right in his own eyes, but the Lord weights the motives.” Proverbs 16:2
Look, our heavenly Father knows we are not perfect. He knows when we try–and fail, but He also knows when we give Him half-hearted allegiance. What do you think breaks a Father’s heart more? HE. KNOWS. what you’re doing and HE.KNOWS. why you are doing it. I think the question here is, are we aware of what we’re doing?
Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at His coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” I Peter 1:13-16
Does the God who created the heavens and the earth, and every.single.thing that inhabits it…does He really care what I choose to do with this life that I have been given?
He absolutely does!
“He has told you men what is good and what it is the Lord requires of you:”
Some would say of their faith, “It’s between me and God.” True. The problem is, I’m just not sure how you can read what it is He has to say or see how much He talks about His church and deny that fellowship is important. Relationship. Ministry. You can’t get to know someone very well if you don’t spend time with them. My relationship with God began when I was willing to admit that I needed Him. That I was a sinner. That I needed His forgiveness for living in a way that offended His holiness. Learning that He sent Jesus to take the punishment for my sin and providing a means by which I could be saved from a life of selfish sin to a life of abundant grace and mercy. And a vital part of that relationship is spending time with Him–and with other believers–in worship and fellowship, discipleship and ministry.
Why is it that we humans think that any sacrifice we make is deserving of such a love as this? He created us. He loves us. He wants us to return that sentiment, but He won’t force it. We choose. Will we live like it isn’t true or will we whole-heartedly embrace what it is that God wants–
“A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.” John 10:10
I’m not naive~~i know that I could never do enough. Obedience isn’t about doing things to earn His favor. It’s about what He has already done–and making the choice to let that truth settle so deep in my heart that it doesn’t just move me emotionally, but it moves me–literally.
Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:7-8
**Micah 6:8 is the verse I am memorizing for my Scripture Challenge! I unintentionally posted Nahum not realizing that I hadn’t posted this verse, so I apologize for jumping ahead of myself… Another one of those human weaknesses that God can take and turn it into something good. Who knows–maybe He intended this for someone else’s good. His timing is always perfect!