Wednesday, November 2, 2011
I have been using Oswald Chambers’ devotional book My Utmost for His Highest in my devotional reading in the mornings. The reading for November 2 I thought was good and really blended well with some of the thoughts I have been pondering the past few days. Yet, there was one sentence I just could not accept. Chambers wrote; “Jesus Christ will not help me obey Him, I must obey Him; and when I do obey Him, I fulfill my spiritual destiny” (p. 307). I have no doubt that our spiritual destiny lies on the other side of obedience, and it is because the stakes are so high that Jesus gives us the ability to obey.
Part of the problem of the human condition is that we don’t have what it takes live a life of obedience. We are dominated by the flesh and we don’t naturally do what God has called us to do, even when we have good intentions that we will. If my spiritual destiny depends on my obedience then I am in huge trouble!
Oswald Chambers began the reading with John 14:15; “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (ESV). Our love for Jesus is demonstrated in our obedience to His will.
Yet Jesus goes on to say; “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:16, 17; ESV).
Jesus knows we need help in our obedience and so He sends the Holy Spirit to be the help that we need.
The apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:13; I can do all things through him who strengthens me (ESV). Paul credited his continued obedience in the face of hardship to the strength that Christ provided. This was not something that Paul could have done on his own, he need the help of Jesus.
When it comes to obedience it does start with our intention and commitment. In other words we need to position our lives towards obedience. For me that includes going to God and asking for the strength to forgive, to love, to serve, and to give generously. If these things depended solely on me then I would fail. The help of Jesus is essential for my obedience, and I am going to continue to rely on His strength as I follow after Him.