Kingdom Principle: Rise in Obedience or be flooded in Obligation.
Living loved removes obligation and redeems obedience.
|Acts 17:22-31||Psalm 66:8-20||1 Peter 3:13-22||John 14:15-21|
When Noah built the ark, the work was done, it would float whether he got on it or not…. There was new work to be done, but the Ark floated because the work was completed. The “Ark” was obedient to the principles that created it and surround it. It was made in such a manner that something outside of it would have to be pressed negatively upon it – for it not to float. We can be bogged down with the same negative pressure in our lives – this is called obligation to others and expectation of others. (I think these post are fabulous – even better than this one, so I’ll keep this short – but read these!) Jesus is the ark of salvation for the world, and we have been called to walk in his steps. The work has been done, now we must obey the principles. We are called to be God’s children, and our Father has reigned over us, through the life and death of Jesus. ( 1 John 4) We are designed to be vessels of love, not to be filled with this love requires us to live counter to the design for which Jesus has set us free. We have been washed in the blood, and filled with the Spirit – love shall flow forth in abundance. (John 7:38, 1 Tim 1:5) When it does not – we are working to prevent that flow, by becoming slaves to sin rather than slaves to righteousness. (Romans 6:15-18)
Peter presents this concept in the light of sufferings as you do good. When the focus of your life is to limit your suffering, or even avoid it all together, you must not then do good work – because unjust suffering is still suffering. In the same way, witnessing (last week) will increase your suffering, and may even lead to your death. But that witnessing is first step on the path of life to which you are called to have an answer for such hope. But to witness with a megaphone or abrasive tongue is to miss the call to move with gentleness and respect – which is an act of humility the very call of obedience to Christ. The obedience to the keeping of command of Jesus is the demonstration of love which is true mark of the witness. Jesus is very clear with the disciples in John 14, “I am with you – I will not leave you” therefore KEEP MY COMMANDS. Jesus’ command to love is not moral obligation, nor is it emotionally charged passion. It is a call to believe in the depth of your soul, that you have been saved. This Salvation is not merely future expectation; rather it is present demonstration of a life of sacrifice and submission unto the will of the Father. Therefore Jesus’ call to love is a call to be loved by the Father. This is simply called – LIVING LOVED! This is the great abundance, not what we do, but rather what we cherish in our heart. This love from the Father is the freedom of forgiveness to which we confess by faith through grace we have been saved.
Therefore, on the path of life, if your goal is to love others, you may have run ahead too far too soon. (Trying to extend grace & mercy, where it has not taken root yet in you) For Christians need not have a goal to love others, this is noble and the call of religion, but it can quickly become an objective to achieve and our conscience will be defiled. Rather, we must encounter the Father’s love at such a level that loving others is not work, for it is not difficult to love others, when you are filled with the Fathers love. This is the Fathers will – LOVE. This is the role of the Spirit of God within us, rather than the flesh pursing the “right thing”. (Romans 8:8-17, 13:8-14) It is my hope that loving others shall be seen as an opportunity rather than as obligation, for in this our suffering is no longer “duty” rather it is an act of love itself.
May we be compelled by such love (2 Cor. 5:14) to finish the race and to walk in obedience to the will of God.
- Where are you considering “backing off” because the suffering is too great?
- How might you miss an opportunity to be an agent of reconciliation, for fear of the suffering it will bring?
- In what ways are you pursuing slavery to sin, which makes slavery to righteousness impossible? Meaning where is there be suffering in your life due to sin, which makes suffering for righteousness too much?