Week 4 Obey and Submit
God’s Plan is Grace
The idea they have of grace is this—that their conversion and pardon are God’s work, but that now, in gratitude to God, it is their work to live as Christians, and follow Jesus. There is always the thought of a work that has to be done, and even though they pray for help, still the work is theirs. They fail continually, become hopeless; and the despondency only increases the helplessness
our weeks into a time of sincere determination to obey the Lord in my eating habits, I hadn’t lost weight. I had indeed become hopeless, and this despondency had only increased the helplessness I felt to change myself. Around this time I recorded the following conversation with the Lord:
Lord: You are not going to fail at this weight loss journey.
Linda: I need a plan.
Lord: You have not been ready for a plan. Open your mind to My plan. You have been fending off My guidance with a blueprint of your own because you fear the difficulty of My plan.
Linda: I have two fears. One, that I won’t be able to do it. Two, that I won’t like it (that it will be unpalatable and hard).
Lord: Unpalatable, no. Hard, well, yes, but not nearly so difficult as disobedience. You will love the sensation of obedience.
Linda: (expecting to be led to fast or eat cottage cheese or liquids only)…OK. I have already placed my 1200 calorie a day and hour of daily exercise plan on the altar. I wasn’t able to do it perfectly anyway, especially not the exercise. What is Your plan for me Lord? I’m so afraid. What if I can’t do it? What if I fail again?
1. Do not be afraid
2. Memorize one Scripture a day. Consume the Scripture, ponder it, and bring your mind back to it often throughout the day.
3. Praise. Set your mind and heart to praise. Look for things to be thankful for throughout your day, and not in a negative way (as in, “At least we haven’t had a trip to the emergency room lately…”)
4. Now. With these pieces in place, do not count calories or tabulate your food intake. Abide and obey.
Linda: But, if I don't keep a record of my food intake how will I know...
Lord: You are about to experience the freedom of a child of God, a child who is not under the law, but under grace. Obedience brings freedom.
These directives were so simple, and didn’t seem to have anything at all to do with losing weight and getting into shape. Although I had consciously released my own agenda to God, I’d not exchanged my plans for His. I was floating in an undirected, negative space, vulnerable to my own doubts and fears.
I remembered the blind man did not receive his sight until he obeyed Jesus’ directive to do a very simple thing: wash in the pool of Siloam. The man had probably bathed there before with no positive result, but he nevertheless obeyed. He received his vision as a gift through the healing power of Christ, but the gift didn’t become real in his life until he obeyed a very simple command.
God’s grace becomes real in our lives when we obey Him even in areas that seem unrelated to the goals we have set for ourselves.
Pray: Dear Lord, I have released my good plans to You, but I have failed to accept Your plan in their place. Now I open my heart to receive Your direction, and I set my heart on obedience, willingly exchanging my ideas of what would be good for Your will. Lord, I trust You, I praise Your Holy Name; teach me to praise, help me to obey. Amen.
In Christ we are not hopeless optimists. We are hopeful optimists!
If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.Colossians 2:20-23
[i] Andrew Murray, Abide in Christ, public domain