November 7, 2015

Obedience >>> Results

1 Kings 8:54–9:28, Mark 6:7–44, Proverbs 2:16–22

About three years ago I asked God to work in my heart so that I was totally yielded to Him. Little did I realize that was a dangerous request.

First He allowed the enemy to hammer at my weakest places. It took time to realize this was His way of answering my prayer. In the battle for my allegiance, I knew the Lord was changing my life, but at times I wished I had not asked for such a transformation.

Despite the challenges Solomon faced, he knew the importance of total commitment. At the end of his prayer of dedication concerning the temple, he arose and blessed the people. He reminded them that the Lord’s promises had not failed, and that He would not leave or forsake them. He would give them all they needed to walk in His ways, and they knew there was no other God like Him.

Then Solomon said, “Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the Lord our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments, as at this day.” (1 Kings 8:54–61)

That also is my prayer and desire. While the battle for this focus may continue the rest of my life, I am also thankful that God keeps His promise to give me what I need to be wholly committed to Him. In his proverbs, Solomon says that if I receive God’s words, treasure His commandments, be attentive to wisdom and understanding, calling out for insight and seeking it like for hidden treasure (Proverbs 2:1–4) then He will deliver me from all sorts of temptations such as those coming from evil people or forbidden relationships. Instead, I will “walk in the way of the good and keep to the paths of the righteous. For the upright will inhabit the land, and those with integrity will remain in it.” (Proverbs 2:20–21)

Obedience produces positive results, yet I cannot assume this means ‘health, wealth, and prosperity’ for Jesus was wholly obedient and it got Him crucified!

That said, Jesus did demonstrate how He wants me to live. Today I read the story of how He fed more than 5000 people. He had been teaching them and when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”

Jesus answered, “You give them something to eat.”

They said, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?”

Jesus asked, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.”

They found out, and reported back, “Five, and two fish.”

Here is where the obedience becomes dicey. After Jesus commanded the crowd to sit down in groups on the green grass and they did so in groups of hundreds and fifties. Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. (Mark 6:35–44)
What would I have done had I been there? Five loaves and two fish for so many? Jesus must not be thinking rationally? How can so many people be fed with so little?

I feel now like I probably would have felt then. The needs around me are so great and who am I? My resources are so small, not at all equal to the task. Yet if Jesus commanded me to ‘feed them all’ would I take the small amount He gives me and whole-heartedly do what He asks, without question or protest?

The disciples did. And the people “all ate and were satisfied.” Then the disciples “took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish” showing that obedience can produce such amazing and unexpected results when Jesus is trusted to take what little is offered and do with it whatever He wants to do. Actually, it isn’t obedience that produces results; it is Jesus.

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