Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Commands of Jesus 3

In speaking of the commands of Jesus, the temptation for many (me included) is to try to remember to obey as many of the commands as possible so that we can live an obedient life. The problem with that is that we begin to measure our salvation and our effectiveness and our status in the Kingdom by how well we do at keeping the commands. We begin to live a performance based life trying to earn the favour of God. We think "If I can only stop doing these things and start doing those things I will be in a better place with God. By doing that we only replace one set of rules for another.

The whole point about obedience is not obeying a set of rules but listening to and obeying the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Even Jesus lived this way. He said He did nothing but what He saw His Father doing. The commands function as a mirror reflection who we are and what we are like. They are signposts pointing us in the right direction. They are not the path or the destination. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. He is the path and the destination. The real goal is to be found as sons and daughters who delight in the Father and Who delights in them.

A guy named Robert Ricciardelliw wrote this little piece on "Our Identity As Sons" that I came across a few months ago and found again a couple of days ago. It is a nice compliment to the commands of Jesus.

"Our Identity As Sons"
Much of the body of Christ is caught up in an identity crisis. A worldview of God, absent of the full revelation of who we are. Without the full revelation of who we are, we live our lives as spiritual orphans, rather then manifesting the presence of God in our lives. Do we see God as a loving and just Father, or do we see Him as only a master of an earthly orphanage, ready to crack the whip when we mess up? A loving and just Father will discipline us, because of His love and tremendous plans for us. A true son knows that they are dependent on the Lord, and goes throughout the day acknowledging need and direction from their Heavenly Father. Those that have an orphaned mentality, rely on their own ways and only seem to turn to Him when condemnation overwhelms them.

Living By the Love of Law

Living by loving the law as a foundation of theology, produces orphans. By following the rules, they strive for praise, approval, and the acceptance of man, which breeds insecurity and lack of peace. An orphan will have a selfish desire for personal achievement as they seek to impress God and others. Many times they will have no motivation at all to live a life of service in His Kingdom. 

Orphans feel that they must be holy in order to earn God's love and acceptance, which mostly produces feelings of shame and guilt. Their self-image is in their own value, and perceived comparisons with others. This is the foundation that the enemy uses to birth false comforts. They will often find comfort in addictions, counterfeit affections, compulsions, escapism, business, and the tremendously popular "hyper-religious activities". 

Living By the Law of Love

A son will live a word-principled life, while loving God and loving those around them. They find great joy and peace in the approval of their Heavenly Father. They are secure in God's love and justified by grace. Sons will live a life of service, that is motivated by a deep love and gratitude for being unconditionally loved and accepted by their Heavenly Father. They desire to be holy and do not want anything to hinder their intimate relationship with God.

A son feels loved and affirmed, because they know they are of tremendous value to their Father. Not because of what they do, but because of who they are in Him. Their desire for obedience in a word-principled lifestyle, is out of pleasure and delight in their Savior, rather then a sense of duty or trying to earn God's favor.

A son finds comfort in knowing the Father--being known and loved by Him and resting in His presence and love. They will seek out intimate moments and a time of divine downloads from the Father, so that all activity is God-ordained and all steps are ordered by Him. 

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