...to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.
Thoughts for Today:Several years ago when Amanda was four, I took her shopping with me to buy a birthday gift for her mother. Amanda just loved to go to Nordstrom's and play hide n' seek among all the racks of clothes. This time however, we had a limited amount of time to shop, so I was not in the mood for any tomfoolery. I instructed her to stay right by my side. As I looked over the various displays of the latest fashions I felt like a deer caught in the headlights of on-coming traffic -- paralyzed and mesmerized by the myriad choices -- unable to think or even move. Finally Amanda's impatient tug upon my hand broke the trance. "Daddy," she said "I think Mommy would like this," as she held up a blouse my wife would surely hate. Able to focus on the task at hand once again, I responded, "Maybe -- but let's find some other things she might like also." Within a few minutes I was able to find some more suitable choices, however when I looked up to show Amanda, she was gone.
Those of you who are parents know how I felt at that particular moment -- rapidly rising panic is the best description. I frantically searched all around my shopping area calling her name -- then throughout the department. I began asking everyone I could find if they had seen a little blond haired girl. The clock ticked in my head as I remembered the latest television special on child abductions which said a parent only had three minutes to find their child. I sprinted to the nearest exit with my imagination running wild. The next ten minutes were the longest of my life -- then I heard my name called over the public address system, asking me to return to the Women's Department. Once there, relief swept over me as I saw my little girl sitting on top of the counter, happily chatting with the sales girl.
Amanda and I both learned a lot from that experience. Later after we talked through all of the important stuff, I asked her, "Amanda, were you afraid when you found out you were all alone?" She answered, "A little, but I knew you would come for me." That choked me up; I hugged her tight and told her I would always come for her. Amanda had faith in me that day because she knew I loved her and believed I would come for her -- no matter what. Just because she was disobedient didn't mean I wouldn't turn Nordstrom's upside down looking for her.
Paul tells us in our passage today that obedience comes from faith. In other words, we obey Jesus because we believe in Him. Conversely, if we succumb to our sinful nature and don't obey Him -- does that mean we don't have faith? I don't think so, and I don't think it is Paul's point. Rather, Paul is telling us our faith in Jesus would in turn strengthen our obedience. Our obedience reflects who we belong to.
Questions to Ponder:My obedience to Jesus is strengthened because I believe He is the author of Creation, the Redeemer, and my Savior. He alone deserves my worship and praise. I believe on that day I come before the Lord -- naked except for my chains of sin -- Jesus will come for me -- He will stand before the God and claim me as His. That is such a great sense of relief -- knowing my Lord will come for me. In my experience with Amanda I can honestly say her faith in me was strengthened that day as well as her willingness to obey my instructions. If faith were a scale from one to ten, where would you be? What doubts do you need to remove to strengthen your faith? What does the Bible say about faith?