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Monday, April 1, 2013

Freedom in Obeying

Freedom in Obeying
The Cost of Discipleship
Chapter 23

In this passage Jesus gives the disciples specific orders of where to go. They weren’t given free rein to decide who to witness to.  “Their work is to be Christ-work, and therefore they are absolutely dependent on the will of Jesus.”

Bonhoeffer goes on to say, “Happy are they whose duty is fixed by such precept, and who are therefore FREE from the tyranny of their OWN ideas and calculations.” (Emphasis mine)

How many of us desire to do God’s will…and yet we limit God or try to dictate our service to Him?

When we do this we are in direct opposition of God and we face needless worry and trials. When we give up our control, our ideas, and our calculations we liberate ourselves to experience happiness and joy in serving God because it’s not based on us anymore, but on God and HIS power.

There are many “good” things we could do “for” Christ: Feed the homeless, care for orphans, witness to the lost…but if God hasn’t ordered us to “go there” these good things are simply that, good. They are void of His power, His provision and His promises. Yes, they are good, but are they from God?

“The work of God cannot be done without due authorization, otherwise it is devoid of promise.”

If the disciples had ignored God and done what they thought was best, they wouldn’t have been followers of God. Yes, good things might have occurred. The Samaritans’ may have believed more than the Jews, but this was jumping ahead of God’s plans.

God’s plan was that when the Samaritan’s and Gentiles heard the Good News, that they would hear the FULL story- the resurrected Christ!

We may not understand when God tells us to NOT do something that is “good”.  But we shouldn’t have to understand in order to follow. We should trust that God knows ALL. That He has a bigger picture in mind. We only know in part, therefore we shouldn’t “assume” we know the mind of Christ. We shouldn’t assume that because something is “good” it’s what God wants from us. He may have someone else in mind to fulfill that “good” deed.  (Think of Elijah and the widow who God provided to feed him- 1 Kings 17:7-15)

In Matt 10:7-8, Christ gives the disciples more guidance on their mission.

They are sent out in poverty. This was to prove to them, and the world, that their message was from God. It was also to liberate them from being owned by possessions.

Freely they had received and freely they must give to others.

“To be messengers of Jesus Christ confers no personal privileges, no title to power or renown…”show men that you have plenty of riches to give away, but desire nothing for yourselves, neither possessions, nor admiration nor regard, and least of all their gratitude.”…Any honours that come our way are only stolen from him to whom alone they really belong.(Emphasis mine)

They are sent out in poverty.

This seems crazy to us. We like to be prepared, to make plans, to calculate…but Christ gave them an “explicit command”. They were not free to alter it to make it fit their preference. This was about God, not them.

“This shall be an expression of their faith, not in men, but in their heavenly Father who sent them and will care for them.”

You shouldn’t take this to mean you are free to quit your job or not to prepare for your work in Christ, but to be obedient to what Christ TELLS YOU!

Each of us has a calling. Each of us has orders that God longs to impart. We need to be willing to listen and then OBEY.

We can’t take it upon ourselves to change God’s orders. We either obey or we don’t.

If we told our child to clean their room but they only cleaned the closet we would consider that disobeying. They may have good reason for their actions, but that doesn’t negate the fact that they didn’t follow orders.

God has orders for each of us.

When we are about God’s business we can be sure of His provision and promise.

“They come with the full authority of Jesus of Nazareth, they deliver a command and make an offer with the support of the highest credentials.”

When we follow God, we can rest assured that He has our back! Sure, He blesses our mistakes, but wouldn’t it simply be easier to listen and obey than to “do it over the right way"?

What's God telling YOU to do? 

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