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Saturday, July 04, 2009

Are You Willing?

If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land. But if you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.
Isaiah 1:19-20

When I ask for help from my children there are two possible reactions. The first is that they respond enthusiastically and can't wait to get on with what I've asked of them. The second, and far more common reaction is a reluctance so powerful that it requires something akin to dynamite to get them moving.

The Willing Child
We can behave like this with God. We read His word and we discover that there is some way in which we fail to live up to His standard. Gossiping might be an example. Now the willing child, discovering her heavenly Father does not want her to gossip will make every effort to conform to His will. But the rebellious child will find all sorts of excuses for not complying, after all, it isn't really gossip if I'm sharing the information for prayer, is it?

The willing child is teachable. He listens to sermons with the expectation that God will speak directly to his heart about his own life. The rebellious child will challenge even the words of Scripture. I remember a conversation with one person in which I referred to Romans 8:1 saying, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ, to which they replied, there is when it comes to ... We stand on very dangerous ground when we set ourselves against the direct teaching of scripture.

Willing Sacrifice
The willing child doesn't wait to be asked, but looks for opportunities to do the right thing. The rebellious child will not even do what is asked of them. Romans 12:1 tells us to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice. It's not a popular concept these days, this idea of willing sacrifice. You can go into any Christian book shop and see titles such as 7 Steps For Answered Prayer, How To Be A Happy Christian, or The Financial Benefits Of Tithing. But where are the books about living sacrificially for Jesus, where is the one called Ultimate Obedience? We forget that we are not our own, we were bought with a price and a very dear one indeed.

Are You Willing?
The word of God through Isaiah offers blessings for willingness and obedience and severe consequences for rebellion. The question is, how willing are you? Are you prepared to be obedient to the call to live sacrificially for Jesus, or are you placing limits on what you're willing to give?

Prayer College Assignment
In an attitude of prayer, ask the Lord to show you if there are any areas of your life that you are unwilling to sacrifice to Him. Is your time your own, or does it belong to Jesus? What about your material resources, your money? Are you fully committed to your brothers and sisters in Christ or will you look the other way when they're in need? Is there any aspect where you say, thus far and no further? Wrestle with these things until they are submitted to Jesus.

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