11 Mar Words of Grace – Creative Obedience
One question I was asked this week as a follow-up to the sermon was, “What is creative obedience?”
In last week’s sermon from Philippians 2:12-16, I mentioned that “working out our salvation” is essentially the obedience to Christ that comes with new birth of the Spirit. This is exactly what was prophesied in the Old Testament. “I will give you a new heart and a new spirit I will put my Spirit within you, and you will be careful to obey my rules” (Ezekiel 36:26-27).
I also said that we are called to be creative in our obedience. Many people see their obedience to God similar to that of a child being scolded or coerced by a parent to obey. The child reaches for something he shouldn’t touch and the parent thumps his fingers to keep him away. Or the child doesn’t want to do what she should and the parent stays on her until she finally follows through. That’s not what I would call creative obedience.
Others see obedience as merely doing direct commands and not doing directly forbidden things. This approach to obedience is narrow and does the bare minimum that is required. Again, this is not very creative, nor is it from a joyful heart.
But as new people in Christ we have a new way of thinking about obedience to God. When we hear Jesus command us to love our neighbor, we start looking for ways to do it. These ways may not be directly mentioned in the Bible but they are stirred up in our imagination because the Bible is in our thinking. When we are told that the Holy Spirit lives in us and we are to glorify God with our bodies, we joyfully yield our bodies to God each day and look for ways to use them for service rather than for sin. The command to seek first the kingdom of God is for us an open door to all manner of gospel advance.
Creative thinking from the new desires and with the new deciding power of the new birth makes obedience a joy.
Join us Sunday as we talk about creative obedience in relation to God and people. Read Philippians 2:12-18 this weekend. Pray for our church as we gather to worship God.