A short intro:
As I mentioned on Monday, for the past several years I’ve been working on a non-fiction book. The book’s title is Rescuing the Hidden Hearts of Men … And the Women who Love Them.
It’s tough for a writer of fiction – an author known for writing action/adventure/suspense novels – to break into the world of non-fiction. But, as that work goes on, I hope to share some of the insights or ideas offered in Rescuing the Hidden Hearts of Men and present them under the blog heading, Living the Rescued Life.
There’s just too much in the book to share those insights and ideas here in detail. But what I can do, is give you a little nugget each time I write a post in Living the Rescued Life. I hope you find these entries thought-provoking and helpful. On Monday I wrote a little about obedience. Here’s today’s nugget.
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The first and last thing God asks of us is obedience. In Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, God makes it clear that the one thing that is most important to him, the one thing that decides man’s destiny, is obedience.
Disobedience not only often leads to sin and spiritual darkness, but it can also hinder our personal relationship with God – an intimacy that God himself desires.
Let me put it this way. On Monday I asked:
What has God been asking you to do, to stop, to change? As I have, so often in my life, what have you been ignoring, or negotiating with God about? And what problem, challenge or conflict have you been struggling to understand that has eluded all resolution?
Why not try the one-word solution? Obedience.
Probably the most critical thing we need to digest is that God’s call to obedience is not so much about rules as it is about relationship.
In the book of Ephesians, Paul twice writes down his prayers for the people of Ephesus, once in Chapter One and again in Chapter Three:
· Ephesians 1:17-19 “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you a Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”
Paul’s prayer is that God would give a Spirit of wisdom and revelation to the believers in Jesus Christ who lived in Ephesus, so that those believers (and those who come after them, like us) would know God better. Cause and effect.
Although Paul spent a good amount of time teaching these new believers about the way of faith, he makes it clear here, and later in Chapter Three, that his primary concern is that his readers would come to know God better. The word translated “know” means to experience personally, deeply, intimately. It’s not head knowledge. It’s heart experience. Paul makes it clear that truly knowing God comes not through explanation, but through revelation.
Why is this important? Because it is intimacy that ignites obedience. Like with my wife. The more I know her, experience intimately her spirit, her soul, her hopes, dreams and plans, the more I want to honor her and our marriage covenant. The more I will serve her, respect her – love her – with my obedience to our marriage vows.
It’s the same with God. If I only know about God – if I only have head knowledge about God – then the importance of obedience and the consequences of disobedience are things that I can rationalize away. But, when I have a true experience of knowing God … not just the vastness of who he is, but the reality of how this vast God views me, how thoroughly he loves me, and the intimate relationship he desires with me – and you – the more I want to obey whatever he asks of me.
Over more than a decade now, God has consistently asked me to step away from three things that were more than forty-year-habits. For the majority of that decade I’ve ignored, debated and negotiated with God over what he continuously spoke to my heart. But, also during those years, I developed a much more intimate relationship with God and his son, Jesus. And, over time, obedience emerged.
Mike Bickle, director of the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, said this while teaching on Ephesians 1:17-19. “When I get that little bit of revelation, then obedience makes sense.”
So, what has God been asking you to do, to stop, to change? As I have, so often in my life, what have you been ignoring, or negotiating with God about? And what problem, challenge or conflict have you been struggling to understand that has eluded all resolution?
It’s not a rhetorical question. Really. Let’s get into a dialogue … explore this together. Post a comment to this blog and I’ll respond quickly. Perhaps others will, too. If that’s too ‘public’ for you, send me an email or contact me through the Contact page on this website.
Let’s talk about that one-word solution.