Tuesday, 29 January 2013
Obedience to God has no alternatives
We are close to the end of the month of January. Many of us have made resolutions and taken further steps to ‘order’ how we want the year to go for us. Most churches had one week of fasting and prayers. Others took fourteen days, twenty one days and so on while others are yet to round off because they want to reach the last day of the month. In fact, I once heard a brother in one of the churches, while leading in a prayer session, said that he would continue in fasting till the end of the first one hundred days of the New Year. Let us assume that the reasons and motives behind these efforts are correct, the activities are good spiritual exercises that will help one to focus and develop his spiritual strength.
However, there is a deception I have a burden to address here and that is, the lie of believing that our fasting and prayers can buy us favours from God and make Him ignore His demand for total obedience and trust in Him which is the platform for good success. Throughout the Scriptures, you cannot clearly see any promise of God that is hinged on fasting. On the contrary, the Bible is filled with promises of good rewards when we give heed and do what is commanded. We also see the curses that follow rebellion when we refuse to listen to God’s word.
As I read Isaiah 58, I really wondered why God asked the prophet to raise his voice like a trumpet and shout His word aloud to His people. He said that “day after day they seek me out. They seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them” Vs 2. NIV.
Is this not our condition today? We run around doing all kinds of prayers asking God to avenge us of our enemies and prosper us. We look like those who are seeking God but our hearts are very far away from Him. We are not willing to do what His word says. You know, God’s people have a way of developing spiritual lethargy and hearing problems, especially the older we become in church. Hence God told the prophet, ‘shout it aloud with your voice like that of a trumpet. These people fast and seek me day after day as if they really want to know me. But they are stuck in their own ways. They continue in their rebellion and expect me to come down and answer them. No! They cannot be heard from on high’. Observe carefully that God did not condemn their efforts of fasting, but He frowns at their rebellion. Obedience has no alternatives.
There are people that do not have the intention to change their ways. They want God to do something for them but they ignore His word. Their attitude demands that it is God who should shift grounds and change His mind and not them. What they do not understand is that you cannot be living a disobedient life and enjoy blessings at the same time. You cannot sleep on the laps of Delilah and wake up in the bosom of Abraham. The two do not go together. Obedience to God is the key to a life of blessing.
King Solomon leant many lessons late while he was alive. In his old age, when he had lost it all, the little recovery he had just before he died, he concluded, “After all this, there is only one thing to say: Have reverence for God, and obey his commands, because this is all that we were created for.” Eccl 12:13-14 GNT.
King Solomon had blown everything before he came to this conclusion towards the end of his life. Just one thing to say, ‘fear God and obey Him, this is all that we were created for’. You were not created to live for yourself or someone else but to live for God. What God has asked you to do is more important than what you want to do for Him, no matter how ‘spiritual’ and noble. Doing what He tells you to do is more important than a sacrifice of a thousand rams. Taking time to note what brings God glory, what makes Him smile, and doing it attracts favour and blessings than fasting in the midst of a lifestyle that is contrary to Scriptures. Living a lifestyle that violates God’s word cannot bring us to a life of blessedness. In fasting we humble ourselves. It builds our spirit in our walk with Him but it cannot replace an obedient spirit. Please do not be deceived.
Like the prophet, I am shouting on top of my voice to all that care to listen, ‘obedience to God has not alternatives’. Decide to obey God this year in all that you know are His will. Walk with Him and you will testify at the end. Is somebody hearing me? God bless you.