Friday, February 28, 2014

What Came First...

What comes first, Chicken or the Egg?

Ever spent anytime thinking about that one? The almost proverbial question is a favorite to summarize any situation where it seems improbable that an answer can be arrived at when considering the order of things. For what it is worth, in my opinion, it is clear that the chicken came first. It happened on the 5th day of creation. The egg is God's design to recreate His original creation, and to make yummy breakfast food which may have happened on the 7th day, but I am not sure about that. 

Here is another question of the same kind. What comes first, Love or Obedience? 

Think about all the sources of authority we obey in our lives: the police, the IRS, teachers, pastors, and our spouses! Certainly God is the ultimate authority and puts all these others in place, but for the moment let's consider our motivation for obeying, say, the IRS. I would say the primary reason to obey the rules of the IRS is fear. Some may even obey out of respect or a sense of duty, but I don't think ANYONE obeys the rules of the IRS out of love.  So, we mostly obey the IRS and send in our taxes out of fear of eventual consequence if we don't. Is it possible that in a few decades we might develop love for the IRS because of our obedience? Hasn't happened for me yet.

Indulge me for a moment and apply the analogy I shared to our relationship with God. Why do you obey Him? For the sake of blog sized communication, we will not consider what comprises obedience to God, and just presume we all know what obeying Him is (call me if you want to talk more about that one.) Do you obey God out of fear, or duty, or respect, or love? Jesus said in John 14:15 "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." If you had time to teach a child ONLY ONE thing about God, would it be His rules (the 10 commandments,) or about the person of God; which would you do? Oh, if I could teach our kids why God is worthy of our love, I believe they would be begging for the 10 commandments!

John says "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love." Obedience is not about punishment. It is about an expression of love, trust, and adoration to The One we obey. Keep in mind that obedience will cost us something, but of course so does love. It cost Jesus something too. 

If you find yourself having trouble obeying God, spend time letting yourself fall in love with Him.  

In His Steps,
Chris Schlender
Children's Pastor