Lesson 1 -- fourth quarter 1992
September 6, 1992
© Copyright 1992, Christian Light Publications
Obedience requires a clean break with the past. Do not assume for even a moment that God wants you to live out your life right where you are with whomsoever you might be. The flesh would be comfortable in familiar territory with familiar people, even if the familiar frustrates God's designs. The flesh wants God to mold the status quo in order that it might be suitable to Him. Not so! The Lord has no interest in keeping us comfortable among the familiar if it means our spiritual stagnancy and eventual demise. The Lord may wish to make you uncomfortable in a strange place among unknown people so that He might rescue you. That means, young person, that to succeed spiritually you must always keep your psychological back towards comfort, family, and friends.
For Abram, this all meant marching away from the gods of his youth, his family, and his countrymen. It meant setting obedience to God dearer than material comfort in his own country and dearer than emotional security among his relatives. It meant a clean break with his past.
Young man, young lady, what breaks do you need to make with the present and the past in order to live in obedience? Do you refuse to move ahead in faith because it would mean losing that job, forfeiting an inheritance, lowering your standard of living, rarely seeing family and friends, relinquishing that pleasure, giving up that romance, changing some of your preferences and beliefs, or all of the above?
Why are you where you are? Why are you headed in the direction you are headed? If you think God enjoys working with the status quo of the last ten generations, I have shocking news for you. God has no interest in merely redirecting ruts! He wants to blast us out of our comfortable complacency and spiritual slothfulness. He wants to lead us in the paths of righteousness, sacrifice, and service.
I am not advising you to trash everything you and your parents and your grandparents and your great-grandparents and your great-great-grandparents stood for. Not at all! But if you would know blessing and satisfaction, then you must allow the Spirit to baptize you with fire and burn out every stain of self, sin, or the world.
Obedience also requires a walk of faith for the future. How busy are you making your future "sure"? Perhaps all your extra earnings just go into a fling for the present. But maybe you are making your future "secure" with savings accounts, certificates of deposit, and investments in real estate and precious metals. You are also likely thinking in terms of job security and advancement. Is all this the product of your faith in God for the future?
Here you can argue that Abraham sure took a bunch of stuff with him when he took off on his journey of faith. Ah, yes. And he also gave up any chance of continued stability and further success when he gave Job the famous first choice. You might also remember that Jesus Christ set a new standard of living for His followers--a very materially detached standard of living.
Am I for throwing everything away? Not at all. I am for sacrificing it all for the advancement of the Kingdom of Christ. If your present comfort and your future "security" affect your ability and availability to walk in faith in the interest of the King, you serve the wrong master. Will you be an Abram...or an Abraham?
Do not think that any area of disobedience is clay in God's hands. The flesh thinks that God will shape something pleasing to Him out of an abomination. Not so! God has no interest in merely reformulating a piece of corruption. The Lord must have all new material with which to work. That means, young person, that any disobedience, any abomination, any corruption, any uncleanness must be flung far and flown from.
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