01 November 2009

St Neots (Open Door) - Obedience

Today I met with the saints in big church in town. Gavin and Fiona live near Peterborough and will soon be leaving Open Door to begin something new in their home area.Paying attention Gavin spoke about obedience - their own original plans and intentions have had to change as the Lord has unfolded his plan for their lives.

He read Hosea 3:1-5 which provides an example of obedience in the extreme. Hosea's wife was a prostitute and had ended up in the slave market, his love for her was such that he was prepared to spend all the funds he could raise to buy her back. He had married her in obedience to the Almighty and now he was showing his love to her again, also in obedience.

We need to see ourselves, as Hosea clearly did, through the Lord's eyes. And it's not just a matter of words but of actions and truth. Like Hosea's wife Gomer (and like Israel in Hosea's day) we need to know just how much we are loved and how much we've been forgiven. Obedience needs to be like Hosea's - motivated by love, progressive, in accordance with Father's will, and clearly set forth in his word.

Here is my own understanding of Gavin's analysis of obedience.

Motivated by love - there are so many other possible motives, but none of them is sufficient. We might want to please the Lord, or achieve something for him, or see more people join the church, or be useful. All of these may be commendable, but without love they will be worth nothing.

Progressive - we cannot see the end from the beginning, but Father can. When he guides us he will usually show us the way step by step and we need to take those steps in faith, trusting that he will show us the next step, and the next, and the next.

In accordance with Father's will - there is no point in trying to achieve my goal. The Almighty always has in mind his goal. Don't pray, 'Lord, please prosper my efforts to do something for you'. Instead find out what he wants you to to do and pray for that.

Clearly set forth in his word - the principles are all there. Obedience is not difficult to grasp, it's simply a matter of loving the Lord and loving one another. Those are his commandments, if we obey those everything else will follow.

Gavin and Fiona are clear where their future path lies, though of course not ultimately where it will take them.

Gavin continued with a reminder that we need to hear his word to 'go again', and it must be from the heart. Hosea heard and acted, and like him we must give up self in order to love and obey. Are we living messages of love and obedience in the world? Do others see the Lord through us? We must be good news, not merely preach it.

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