Lesson 12 -- second quarter 2004
May 23, 2004
© Copyright 2004, Christian Light Publications
Having the patient endurance to obey
"Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus" (Revelation 14:12).
Righteousness is godliness and rightness. Righteousness is integrity, virtue, and purity of life. Righteousness is correctness of thinking, feeling, speaking, and acting. Righteousness is the pursuit of the Holy. Righteousness is the way of knowledge and wisdom. Righteousness is The Way of the Kingdom.
The realization that we live in the end times should raise our sights even more to righteousness and faithfulness. Iniquity abounds. Apostasy is everywhere. Moral confusion and corruption multiply at an increasing rate. The devil wants everyone, including you.
The closer we get to eternity, the less material things should matter. The closer we get to eternity, the less our own fleshly comfort and satisfaction should matter. Alas, not many of us are aware of the closeness of eternity. Few of us think of a remaining life span of two or three years, or even of fifteen. Number your days (and don't be too generous!) and give your heart to wisdom. Thirst for righteousness. Do not swerve from The Way. Be obedient. Be faithful.
"Faithful!" you exclaim. "I am doctrinally faithful. I would never yield to lesser doctrine and lesser faith." Has it ever dawned on you that doctrinal faithfulness eventually crumbles when subjected to practical unfaithfulness in daily living? You may be true in doctrine, but if you are not striving daily to be true in practice also, you will eventually miss the mark in doctrine as well.
So, dear friend, hang in there and continue in the faith and its works. Do not quit or even slack off in your obedience. Persevere and receive the blessing: "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them" (Revelation 14:13).
Can we be too obedient?
Many have the mentality that obedience has certain limits. After all, this life view goes, once a person has obeyed "a whole bunch" without fussing, surely he is entitled to not obey a bit here or there. This way of living uses a balance -- once enough obedience accumulates on the one side, a little disobedience is tolerable on the other. You know, just a little, just so the scales doesn't tip too much on that side. How easy it is to look for all kinds of loopholes and excuses and justifications for passing over God's will!
The rich young ruler had such a terrific track record. And yet he must have sensed something was lacking, or else he simply wanted the Lord's confirmation that he lacked nothing. In any event, after hearing Jesus' answer it appears he concluded he had already obeyed enough and he wasn't going to overdo it. Presumably he wasn't in the audience when Jesus declared, "When ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do" (Luke 17:10).
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