Whenever my siblings or I wanted new clothes growing up we always knew to take my mom and not my dad. My dad had no ‘compassion’ for our material desires. However, my mom enjoyed spending money on things for us, so it was much easier to persuade her to get us the latest pair of basketball shoes or the newest fashion. If we were able to get her to cave in, she would always qualify the purchase with a call for new obedience. She would say “now if I get these shoes for you, you have to promise that you will start doing your chores when I ask you.” Of course I would quickly affirm that whatever she asked of me I would do. I did this without making much of a commitment in my mind to actually obey. Not that I wanted to openly disobey my parents, but the material possession set before me seemed to be of more value than an honest assessment of my heart. Inevitably I would slowly begin to go back on my word. Maybe not at first, but over the course of a week I had in a sense returned to where I probably was before the purchase. I can’t explain to you why my parents continued to give me things, but I do know what went on in my own heart.
When my mom first called me to a renewed obedience I gladly promised her because what was set before me was of seemingly great value. But as time went on I realized that what once seemed very valuable did not really bring me greater fulfillment or satisfaction, therefore my resolve to new obedience would inevitably wear off. I write this illustration not because God is like a parent who buys us nice material things, but because as His children we are adept at falling back into disobedience and sin. When our hearts are close to the Lord and are warm we are moved to new obedience because we realize how much God loves us through Christ and how dependent we are on Him for grace. Rebellion usually stems from forgetting all that Christ has done for us on the cross. We begin to think that our obedience to God is really not worth it. The sins set before us are much more appetizing than obeying God’s Word. We think that God’s grace is ultimately not fulfilling and therefore it is not worth it to live for Him.
God calls us to repentance because that is how we are restored to Him. We must drag our hearts back before the cross. When we focus our hearts on Christ and what He has done for us then God begins to melt away the ice that has crystalized around our hearts. Once again we are warmed to God and true obedience emerges. As we come to Sunday morning to worship God let us repent of our rebellion and sin. Ask God to give you a heart of flesh so that you can love and obey Him as He desires you to. Resolve to live a life of new obedience that is focused on Christ because He will ultimately fulfill you and make you into the person in which you were created to be.
Scripture: 1 Samuel 12:1-25
Sermon: Obedience within the Covenant of Grace
Confession of Faith
Heidelberg Catechism, Q. 113 &114
Q. What is the aim of the tenth commandment?
A. That not even the slightest desire or thought contrary to any one of God’s commandments should ever arise in our hearts. Rather, with all our hearts we should always hate sin and take pleasure in whatever is right.
Q. But can those converted to God obey these commandments perfectly?
A. No. In this life even the holiest have only a small beginning of this obedience. Nevertheless, with all seriousness of purpose, they do begin to live according to all, not only some, of God’s commandments.