- September 04, 2018
- Jared Odenbeck
Recently I have put myself on trial. I am often intrigued by processes rather than results. In many situations, I want to know the “why” – why they scored a goal, why someone thinks I should eat a diet high in fat and protein but low in carbohydrate, why I want to obey God, and why I serve myself too often. So, I asked myself a series of questions related to obedience. I discovered a disobedience in my apparent obedience, and I hope you find relevance to yourself in reading.
What prompts my obedience? Worldly gains too often fuels my desire for obedience. I am stricken with underlying motivations. I seek a reward as a result of a belief in transactional religion – one where my obedience compels God to pour out favor on me. I falsely believe that obedience is the key that will unlock the door to blessing. But what blessing is there in things of the world? A fleeting joy? A mist that vanishes with the rising of the Son?
Do I envy the worldly? Those who David says, “are not in trouble as others are” and “are not stricken like the rest of mankind?” (Psalm 73:5). I often loathe my own circumstances. Recently I told someone I wish for “a day in the sun” to give me relief from the sweltering heat and oppressive isolation of the wilderness. But a “day in the sun” in the wilderness would merely spike my thirst. I need a “day in the Son,” rather, all of my days in the Son (Psalm 27:4-5), where I will be satisfied with his drink and receive strength in the inner man.
Is my joy conditional or does it reign supreme in and over every circumstance? My joy comes with a good meal and goes with the onset of physical pain. How am I any different than those who lack an eternal hope? Can I say that I have discovered that there is “more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound” (Psalms 4:7)? I cannot. Thus, I still seek after the secret. I must have it. I cannot settle for any less.
Do I have a joy deep inside of me that frets not when I see others prosper in their own way, because it can say that I know I found a much more valuable treasure and inheritance? Without this peculiar joy, I have not discovered the Gospel as the supreme treasure of life. It merely falls down the order and settles into the comfort of third position. There it will be safe and out of the way. No! It must be first. Without it, I will plunge into the pit of despair. I will heave hopeless cries. I will lose my first love. Even if I have everything, I will possess nothing. I want to have him, so that, in nothing, I will possess everything. In my lack, I will find myself satisfied at his table. I want that. And he will stop at nothing that I might have it.