Doug Creamer column: Obedience
By Doug Creamer
My pastor was traveling last Sunday and asked me to fill in for him. Needless to say, I was excited to have the opportunity. I prayed about what to share. Naturally, I wanted to prepare so that I could do a good job.
I felt led to talk about obedience through telling some stories. I looked at disobedience and the consequences compared to obedience and the blessing. The stories popped into mind one night while lying in bed. I need to learn to keep some paper and pens next to the bed. Ideas can seem so clear when lying in bed and they tend to need a lot of work when you begin formulating them into a lesson.
The first story of disobedience was Jonah. Everyone who attended Sunday school has probably heard the story of Jonah and the big fish. Jonah was a prophet from long ago and God gave him an assignment to go and speak to the city of Nineveh. He was to tell them that God wasn’t very happy with their behavior and that He was about to destroy the city.
Jonah didn’t like the people of Nineveh and he wanted them to be destroyed, so he went in the opposite direction and ran away from God’s assignment. We all know that he ended up in the belly of a big fish. It took him three days to repent and agree to go to Nineveh. He delivers God’s message, and then gets angry at God when the Lord decided to have mercy on the people because they repented and begged for mercy.
The three lessons I learned were, first, God has a calling on each of our lives and he expects us to fulfill it. He needs us to do our part to get the gospel message out. Second, when we disobey God, if we repent, then God is merciful and forgiving. I am so thankful that I can run back and be secure in my father’s love. Third, God loves all people and he wants them to repent and to have a relationship with him. Our pastor constantly reminds us that mission is everywhere! People need the Lord. The door is open; let’s help them find it.
Another story I told was about obedience. I believe that Jesus had to struggle to maintain his obedient life. I think that the most difficult struggle he faced was in the Garden of Gethsemane. They had just had the Lord’s Supper and it was right before Jesus was arrested. All the gospels tell of Jesus praying to his father, asking him, “Is there any other way?” Some people may think it is sin to ask a question of God. It is not a sin to ask a question, but it is sin to question God’s authority.
Jesus’ mind and body were hoping for an alternate plan. “Father, everything is possible for you. Is there any other way? Nevertheless, not what I want but your will be done.” Do you see Jesus’ heart there? He wants God’s will to be done even though his body doesn’t want to go through the agony of crucifixion.
Jesus prayed in order to bring his mind and body into submission to God’s plan. It took Jesus three hours to work it out with God’s help. Jesus chose obedience.
What did we get from Jesus’ choice? Jesus paid the price for our healing. His body was beaten so we could obtain healing from God. Jesus bought our forgiveness with God. Jesus paid the ultimate price so we could be forgiven, thereby opening the door so we can have a relationship with God. This free gift is available to all of mankind because God wants every human to come to heaven. That’s why it is important to grasp and become obedient to what my pastor has taught us since he arrived: mission is everywhere!
I want to encourage you to open the door and build a relationship with God. It’s going to require you to become obedient. It’s going to cost you, but the benefit is an eternity with God in heaven. Don’t worry if you have been disobedient in the past, God is merciful if you are willing to admit you have failed him. If you will confess your sins, He will forgive you. God wants to use you…yes, you! God knows that there are people in your life that need to hear about his great love for them. If you will listen for God’s voice and become obedient, you’ll discover that mission truly is everywhere.
Contact Doug Creamer at PO Box 777, Faith, NC 28041 or firstname.lastname@example.org .