Obedience and our…
August 4th, 2019
As I was driving back from the office this week one of my favorite Bible teachers who provides a short spiritual comment on Moody Radio, used an illustration regarding a young man up in his room.
The Mother of the young man called up the stairs for him to come down to dinner. There was no response. She then called up to him a second time. Again, the child didn’t appear at the dinner table.
Getting a bit exasperated at the boy, she called him a third time with an even more emphatic tone.
At last the son came down the stairs to dinner.
The father, understanding the mother’s exasperation, asked his son, “Why didn’t you come when your mother call you the first time?”
The boy replied, “I couldn’t hear mom very well the first two times!”.
How many times do we fail to respond to God calling us to do something because we don’t hear him? The reality is that we don’t hear because we aren’t listening, or only using ‘not hearing’, as our excuse to ignore what God is asking of us, just as this young man did with his mother.
“If you love me, you will keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. He is the Spirit of truth. The world is unable to receive him because it doesn’t see him or know him. But you do know him, because he remains with you and will be in you.”
John 14:15-17 (CSB)
We all know verse fifteen, “If you love me, you will keep my commands.” However, we miss out a lot with this passage when we stop at the period in the verse. Going on we see this is promise Jesus is giving us. Verse fifteen is the equivalent of a parent saying to their child, ‘I am your mother/father and you are my child, therefore’. We don’t have the option of not loving Jesus, if we are His we do love him! It is a given. So, you could just as well put the word ‘because’ in front of this verse in place of the word ‘if’.
“Because, you love me, you will keep my commands.”
Then Jesus goes on to further explain what he is doing for us ‘because’ we love him.
Let’s break down the remainder of this passage in detail:
The Holy Spirit – “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever.” If my memory serves me, Jesus here for the first time references the Holy Spirit coming and abiding in us. This is one of the profound changes of the New Covenant.
There is a misconception that some Christians are walking around without the Holy Spirit living in them. If we fall under grace, because we have surrendered ourselves in faith to Jesus, His Spirit lives in us.
He is the Spirit of Truth – Our ability to discern the direction of God comes through the Holy Spirit. In the illustration of the young man in his room, if we were that young man and the mother was the Holy Spirit, she wouldn’t have to yell up the stairs; her voice would be right there inside him, leaving no excuse such as what the young man attempted to use with his father. The Holy Spirit isn’t far off, He resides in us and He speaks truth to us. We understand the things He informs us of, and the world simply can’t understand, because they don’t know him.
The World doesn’t know – But we do! “The world is unable to receive him because it doesn’t see him or know him. But you do know him, because he remains with you and will be in you.”
Just as mentioned the Spirit living in us provides us both identity with God, because he lives in us; we know Him. We know the Spirit because we know God, Jesus has revealed himself to us, and as a result we know God and we know God’s Spirit.
Likewise, because God’s Spirit lives in us, our auditory perception is enhanced. If you think of someone talking in your ear, this goes well beyond that technique. The Spirit speaks from inside us as He communes with our spirit.
We don’t talk a lot about our own spirit.
But if you consider that we are made in God’s image the mystery of the Trinity is demonstrated in us. We each have a body, spirit and soul. This isn’t a mirror image of the Trinity to be sure, but it is a definite ‘likeness’. And God’s Spirit living in us, communicates directly with our spirit.
We have zero excuse for not hearing.
So, when God comes calling, we should be listening.
There are things that God calls all of us to. These aren’t up for debate. God says it, we know it, we need to be doing it. It just doesn’t get much simpler than that.
Here are some of these, but there are many to be found in the scripture. I would encourage you to ‘listen’ to what God is telling you through His word:
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:19-20 (CSB)
Spreading the Gospel – Not an option. The Great Commission spells out several things that aren’t options for God’s Children. Spreading the Good News of the Gospel is one of these things.
Make Disciples – The next thing the Great Commission tells us is as we spread the Gospel, and we find the Holy Spirit revealing Himself to them, we will end up having those who accept the gift of salvation from Jesus. These people are not to be abandoned. Our work with them is not over. Jesus ‘calls us’ to make these babes in Christ His Disciples.
Our disciple making efforts aren’t limited to just those who we guide to the Lord. We are to nurture and assist our brothers and sisters to grow in their effort to be more like Jesus with each passing day, never mind who brought them to Jesus.
Baptizing – While you’re at it, Jesus goes on to tell us to baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Teaching – And then of course we are called to be teachers and teaching them to obey everything the Holy Spirit has taught us.
Four key items we all are called to, but there are more than we could ever cover in this devotional; love as Jesus loves, forgive as Jesus forgives, seek the kingdom of God, on and on.
The Unique Calling
Just as all of us are called specifically to these shared callings, we all individually with have things which God will lay on our hearts, calling us to different ministries. A ministry is anything we do not for ourselves, but for God. It could be a simple as befriending the friendless, praying for people, or using our special talents that God’s blessed us with for others. Any number of things can be callings for us.
If we are listening!
We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28 (CSB)
It is inescapable. The question is, are we turning a deaf ear or are we listening to our “Calling”?
In His Grace!