By Pastor Jerry Donovan
A lot of people think living an obedient life of faith means putting your mind in neutral and letting God direct you wherever he wants as if you are a robot. That’s not it at all. God gave us all a brain and he also gave us free will.
We all make countless choices every day such as get up out of bed or not; go to work and school or not; give in to temptation or not; love your neighbor or not; ask for forgiveness or not; obey the law or not. God loves us so much that he allows each of us to make the decisions that affect our lives.
As God was creating the universe he was creating basic laws as well. The world today has names for many of these such as the law of gravity and other “laws of nature.” We might not be happy with the result of not obeying these laws such as not stopping at the edge of a cliff because you want to fly like a bird. You are likely to experience the law of gravity which states “what goes up must come down.” God expects us to use our brain to make wise choices in our lives. The Bible says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” (Luke 10:27 NIV). You’ve got to engage your brain with God and live out the kind of life he needs for you to.
Mary’s husband Joseph obeyed God’s command to move back to Israel. Joseph heard that Herod’s son was now reigning in Judea so he was afraid to go there. “Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth” (Matthew 2:22-23 NIV). Nazareth is where the Bible prophesied that Jesus was going to live, so Joseph was exactly in the center of God’s will. And he got there by looking at the situation, Herod’s son as ruler. He realized it wasn’t a safe place to be and used his mind to discern God’s will for his decision.
So where should we get God’s command for our lives? Sometimes we may have angels showing up to guide us, but we also have hundreds and hundreds of pages of God’s Word. To live a life of obedience, we need to get to know what God is saying to us.
Jesus talked about this in Matthew 7:24: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (NIV). We have God’s Word to help us live out a relationship with him. It’s not a dry book of directions. It is God’s love letter to us, a Father’s letter of instruction to show us how to live the kind of life he needs from us to be a part of God’s business here and now.
As you read God’s Word, I encourage you to pray Psalm 119:34: “Give me insight so I can do what you tell me — my whole life one long, obedient response” (MSG).