Reprinted from the sermon archives of the late Bible teacher, Ray Stedman:
“Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him” (John 14:21).
To read this, “Obey Me, and you will love Me,” produces a mechanical, dry Christianity with no warmth or joy or glory. But what Jesus says is, “If you love Me, you will obey Me.” It is easy to do, not difficult. Notice that it is not, “If you love Me, you will have to keep My commandments.” No, it is cause and effect: “If you love Me, the result is that you will keep My commandments.” That is the secret of all proper behavior in the Christian experience. The proof of our love is obedience. READ MORE >>>
In Genesis 15, the call to Abram and his dialog with God form a microcosm of the call to all fathers—you and me included. As I conclude this little intro series in the next few verses, things quickly take a strange turn. What’s going on?
“And (God) said to him, ‘I am the LORD who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess it.’ And he said, ‘O Lord GOD, how may I know that I shall possess it?’ So He said to him, ‘Bring Me a three year old heifer, and a three year old female goat, and a three year old ram, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.’ Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, and laid each half opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds. And the birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, and Abram drove them away.” (Gen. 15:7-11)
While these sorts of archaic traditions may seem bizarre to modern minds, we see four important truths at work:
1. Faith abandons the norm. Since God brings us out before He brings us in, by faith we must emotionally anticipate what cannot be mentally verified. Abram’s obedience was first a risk before it was ever a reward. He had to leave the comforts of his homeland in order to inherit the great gift of God, Isaac. Similarly, we often want the surety of what only Time and Obedience can grant. Men may be born to fight, but the fact is, nearly all of us have a lazy streak. (Hint: the chair is called a La-Z-Boy, not La-Z-Girl, for a reason!) Men want the easy score, but this is the path to stunted manhood and small influence. As a lifestyle, resist it! Embrace uncomfortableness and uncertainty instead. Abram had the faith to leave what he knew in order to gain what he did not know. Men, let go the tether. Discover something beyond your control.
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