Release from Self-condemnation

Devotions for those who are weary of feeling not good enough, regardless of the source of those feelings.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Day 6: Obedience Is a Response, not an Initiative

Day 6 includes a thought that is a little bit revolutionary:  
Obedience is a response and not an initiative. We don’t have to mount a grand obedience effort (jaws clenched, minds determined)... His love ignites our own. Obedience flows from our love for Him, a love that exists because He first loved us.  
This isn't how we think of obedience. "Do as you are told," is our first, childish concept of what it means to obey. As the years roll by we as Christians change the wording but not the idea of having to do what we do not want to do: "God's way and not our own."

This way of thinking of obedience puts the onus for behaving ourselves on our own shoulders. We can choose whether to do what's right, or not, and that's accurate as far as it goes. This is the way the law was given to God's people, and the law is good and holy. But if we look no deeper, we miss the significance of the miracle that changed the world: the Cross of Jesus Christ.  

In Louisa May Alcott's book, Little Men, the wise and loving Professor Bhaer carries out a unique punishment for a little boy who has lied. He hands the boy a ruler and tells him to strike him, the professor, the child's mentor, friend, and provider.  The child sobs as he tries to obey and begs not to have to hit this kind man he has grown to love. The child promises never to lie again.  

When our disobedience becomes linked in our understanding with blows that fall upon the back of the Savior who died for us, our hearts break with the sorrow of repentance, and our desire to do better becomes associated in our hearts with love for our Lord rather than with fear of punishment.  
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53:5).  

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