This is a part of a devotional I read this week in My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers. It hit me right between the eyes. Emphasis is mine.
I think I can just let those thoughts stand on their own merit. I’ve been convicted. I’m off to work on my rebellious and defiant mind. This obedience thing is really hard.
I claim God’s promises for my life and look to their fulfillment, and rightly so, but that shows only the human perspective on them. God’s perspective is that through His promises I will come to recognize His claim of ownership on me. For example, do I realize that my “body is the temple of the Holy Spirit,” or am I condoning some habit in my body which clearly could not withstand the light of God on it? (1 Corinthians 6:19). God formed His Son in me through sanctification, setting me apart from sin and making me holy in His sight (see Galatians 4:19). But I must begin to transform my natural life into spiritual life by obedience to Him. God instructs us even in the smallest details of life. And when He brings you conviction of sin, do not “confer with flesh and blood,” but cleanse yourself from it at once (Galatians 1:16). Keep yourself cleansed in your daily walk.
I must cleanse myself from all filthiness in my flesh and my spirit until both are in harmony with the nature of God. Is the mind of my spirit in perfect agreement with the life of the Son of God in me, or am I mentally rebellious and defiant? Am I allowing the mind of Christ to be formed in me? (see Philippians 2:5). Christ never spoke of His right to Himself, but always maintained an inner vigilance to submit His spirit continually to His Father. I also have the responsibility to keep my spirit in agreement with His Spirit. And when I do, Jesus gradually lifts me up to the level where He lived-a level of perfect submission to His Father’s will— where I pay no attention to anything else. Am I perfecting this kind of holiness in the fear of God? Is God having His way with me, and are people beginning to see God in my life more and more?Be serious in your commitment to God and gladly leave everything else alone. Literally put God first in your life.
Recently God and I were locked in a battle of the wills. (Of course you know who won.) As I squirmed under his thumb, I felt him speak to me in that Fatherly tone that he often uses with me. He said, “You don’t have to like it, you just have to obey.”
Now clearly I would be assured of a greater blessing if I submitted with humble faith to the thing that I didn’t understand. But God and I were beyond the point of tender prodding and gentle leading. I had gone through all my whining “Whys?” and settled into a defiant pout. Now all he could do with me was to pull the “Because I said so” card, the Parental Ace.
I go through this with my own children sometimes. They whine, “I don’t want to brush my teeth.” You don’t have to like it, you just have to obey. “I don’t like peas. I don’t want to eat them.” You don’t have to like it, you just have to obey. I don’t always explain my reasons to my children for the very purpose that learning to obey a parent will help them learn to obey God when he is also silent about his motives. Sometimes children just need to trust that the grown ups know more than they do. And sometimes I need to trust that God sees things that I don’t see.
I’m still not happy about what I know I’m supposed to be doing. I still don’t understand it. But I have grimly set my face towards obedience, like Jonah plodding towards Ninevah with whale vomit pooling in his shoes. I don’t have to like it. I just have to obey.
Last night I prayed, “Lord, change my desires. Give me your desires.” And immediately I felt my cold heart begin to melt a bit. This is going to take some more praying and more submitting of my desires, but I think I’m learning little by little. I still don’t understand, but I choose to obey.
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