8/26/14

if you love me...

When have you heard that before?  

Was someone asking you to do something maybe you shouldn't do?  Were you being manipulated? Talked into something?  Comforted?

Crazy how Jesus was so different, so outside of the box.  In comforting his people, his life friends on earth, He said this to them:

If you love me, keep my commands. John 14:5

So there it is.

If you love me, do this.

It really boils down to just one word, obedience.

I'm a word girl, so that's enough for me.  What about this for you math minded ones:

love = obedience(time)

Obedience.
Obey.
sigh

Then what?  What comes to the obedient?  Over time, a life lived in steady obedience, expressed by a heart motive of love, experiences love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. 

In my circles of influence online "yes" is everywhere right now.  I wondered at first if all these writers were in cahoots with each other or had they just all attended the same writer/blogger conference.  Then it happened.  I needed something from God and I couldn't get what I needed.  I wanted a Bible verse.  A verse for a family Christmas photo card.  It had become a tradition and in recent years it was easy to find inspiration and agree to a verse.  We don't do resolutions so in January we would take that verse as our family verse for the year.  Faithfully God's word would root in our hearts and bear fruit.  

Not last Christmas. No verse.  No card. 

Days turned into weeks of frustration and sadness and a fog of seeming separation settled in my heart.  I wanted nearness.  I wanted a fresh word.  I needed His presence.

Even in the fog, He is there.  Do not ever forget that.  When you cannot see Him, trust.

And obey.

Obedience. 

In every teaching.
Every reading of a blog post.
Every devotion.
Every song.
Everywhere He was saying...
If you love me, keep my commands.

Where had I gone off track?  
No drugs, no drunkenness, no lying, stealing, or debauchery. 
This is like taking inventory of your health at the doctor's office. To save time I just make a line all the way through the "no" boxes and move on.  I did that here with God.  No to all the "bad" stuff. 

NEXT!

If you love me, keep my commands.

sigh
What is it Lord?  Just tell me the right answer!

So one day, I was correcting one of my boys.  They did wrong and it was time to pay the piper.  So, I asked this boy, "Did you obey God by only doing part of what you were told to do?"  (no ma'am)  "How does God want us to obey?"  (right away, all the way, and with a peaceful heart)

If you love me, keep my commands.

right away

all the way

with a peaceful heart

Obey.

So there it is.  My answer was in this response from my boy.  

I had not obeyed God right away when He would stir me to act and love/give generously to those in need.  I held tighter to what I had because we were in need too.  Self preservation.

I had not obeyed God all the way in things like trust.  I can't tell you where the line is/was in my ability to trust but I knew/know immediately when I get close to crossing over into the red zone. The no-man's land where trust is what your next step lands on.  (Picture Indy stepping out off of the cliff and it looks like he is stepping onto thin air.)



I had not obeyed God with a peaceful heart.  I was obeying with my but.  My "yes, but".  Yes-but obedience sounds like this for example:  Yes, I want to go feed the homeless, but I'm just so tired in the evenings after homeschooling these boys and running to an fro with them. 

Yes-but obedience professes that you believe the Lord is in blessed ignorance of the circumstances of your life.  Bless your heart.

How sweetly He reminded me of this fact:  

I am.
I am El Roi, I see you.  Every limitation you ascribe to your unavailability is a blessing I have poured out on you.  Your time is full!  Not hollow and empty.  Full of boys, full of marriage, full of home, and interactions within and without.  Your finances are insignificant and I am not limited by them in ways you are limited on earth.  You cannot afford to try to limit my purposes for you on earth.  If you love me, keep my commands.  Trust me with your "YES".

So I did.  I rescinded my yes-but and offered up my YES.

It is amazing what He can do with the little we bring.  He does not need us or our offerings of time, talent, or resources.  It is all set up to our benefit when we do all for His kingdom.  Have you not ever been so empty that you couldn't bear to give anymore of yourself, and then you did, you dug deep and in His name loved one more person.  How full is the heart who serves and gives and loves in His name?  To overflowing!

I am not advocating you say yes to everything.  How absurd.  I do simply offer up my story of yes.  My answer to His call to obedience.  I'm 41 now.  I was slow to obey.  If I could go back in time I would love Him sooner and obey His commands right away, all the way, and with a peaceful heart earlier in life.    

There is this better part that He offers us...this new thing He is doing...do we not perceive it?





Here are some great reads on obedience you may enjoy too.

If you'd like to see more of Kristin's "yes", use the search bar on her blog and search "yes".

&
Here you'll find encouragement in obedience and Lysa's new book 
The Best Yes.

Jessica Honegger writes about a walk in obedience despite feeling scared or unequipped.