Tuesday, January 5, 2010

To Live is Christ — means obedience, then abundance

Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs intrigue me. His introduced artistic style to buildings and his architectural accomplishments are legend, something like 1,000 designs in his lifetime, with more than half of them constructed. These included offices, churches, schools, sky scrapers, hotels, and museums. Besides that, he wrote 20 books, and designed furniture and stained glass. Evidence of his way of seeing shows up in the work of his many students and in architectural design since he died in 1959.

From what I understand, Wright was not a godly man. Others who do not know God have had prolific lives also, and many became what the world would call successful. As I think about these people, I wonder how God measures abundant living.

The Lord your God will make you abound in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your land for good. For the Lord will again rejoice over you for good as He rejoiced over your fathers, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law, and if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deuteronomy 30:9–10)
My devotional reading points out that God is a God of abundance. In creation, can we count the stars? Can we estimate the grains of sand on each beach? It is said that no two snowflakes are alike. Certainly people, billions of them, have unique DNA and fingerprints. Our appearances, circumstances, and lifestyles differ, yet Jesus said, “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matthew 10:30).

Like a human artist, God has intimate knowledge of each creation. He knows His creative results and His Word verifies that He wants each of us being to have a life of abundance and joy. This is mirrored in human artists who want their creative efforts to be known and enjoyed, to have a valued place in the rest of the world.

The interesting part of this is that He promises His people to not only experience a prolific output in the works of their hands, but it will be “for good” and that He will rejoice over it. Who does not want that kind of success?

Yet there is a condition. Verse 10 says, “. . . if you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law, and if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”

Why can a person like Frank Lloyd Wright be prolific apart from God, but God makes obedience a condition for success in the life of a Christian?

I can think of many reasons, but the first one is that I so easily put myself on a pedestal when I have even a small success. I take the glory and puff up in pride. That is not how to honor and obey God. God wants me to be abundant with the work of my hands, but He also wants me to escape the snare of sin, including pride, vain glory, and self-centeredness. He alone is worthy of glory, not me.

To live for Christ means that I may also enjoy abundant life and a far greater success than I can imagine, yet this hinges on my willingness to obey from the heart all that He says.

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