Wednesday, July 14, 2010

What Does God Want?

by Donna L. Watkins

Too many people see God as a heavy-handed ruler who expects a lot and punishes a lot. God's plan from the beginning of Creation was to walk and talk with us ... to have relationship, not religion. He is a loving God. What we sometimes can't separate in our minds is that He is God, therefore, He's a God of justice also.

© 2010 Donna L. Watkins - Daffodils - Rock Hill, SC
Parents are to be loving to their children, but they are to also be just, exacting punishment when needed, in love, so that necessary training and life skills are learned. We've all seen the results of children who are left to do what they want, who have no boundaries or rules in their life. When they grow up into adults they are very challenged to relate to anybody.

So as a good Papa, God guides us into right thinking and holy living and He disciplines us in that guidance. Job had a problem with fear. In Job 3:25 it says that what Job feared had come on him. God doesn't want us to live in fear. Fear is opposite of faith so we cannot live in both realms and we cannot please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6). It is said that fear is faith in the devil and the devil will take that faith and put it to work for ruin in our lives.

The Bible is filled with many stories and it includes the law and what the prophets spoke, but when Jesus came He gave us a new covenant through His blood shed for us. Luke 16:16 says, "The law and the prophets were until John (the Baptist): since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presses into it."

Too often we live in the law of the Old Testament without realizing we have been set free by the blood of the sacrificial lamb (Jesus). Just as the blood, put on the doorposts of homes in Egypt before the death angel came, saved Israel, the blood of Jesus protects us when we enter into that covenant ... what Luke quoted above says is "the kingdom of God."

In Matthew 22 somebody asked Jesus what the greatest commandment was. They were wanting to know what they could DO to fulfill the law and be accepted. Jesus replied in verse 37, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind," saying this was the first and greatest commandment.

Then He said (verse 39), "And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself" and continuing in verse 40, He told us that "All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

Although it sounds simple, it is obviously most difficult since the world seems to have a hard time finding Christians who fulfill these two commandments. Most churches have so many programs and methods that there is no need of seeking God daily for instruction in righteousness. There are obligations and assignments from the classes and programs, so often we have turned our seeking God into seeking reasoned answers. Obligations don't end with church activities ... the entire day for most people is filled with expectations on our time.

Where do we find the time to do what God created us to do? Walk and talk with Him in quiet places. Even with Jesus' short ministry timeframe and urgent needs of His day, He made getting alone with the Father a priority.

Jesus told us before He left this earth that "the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." Do we fellowship with that Counselor, also called Helper in some translations? Do we seek Him throughout our days to know which way to walk, to know what to say, to know what we are to be doing, to make the right choices that would honor God?

Too often we are so indoctrinated in busyness that even our service to God becomes automated. We have a program of service, so we pass by the "Samaritans" of our day believing we've got our service thing taken care of in whatever programs we're involved in. No time for the Samaritan woman at the well who needed Living Water ... no time for the fallen Samaritan who is beaten up and needed help.

It's interesting to note that Samaritans were mentioned often in the New Testament. They were willing to listen and change. They were open to the Gospel, while the religious folks of the day were opposed to it. There are still many who are opposed to the love of God, who see God has a God of laws and judgment. They have not found the freedom in the kingdom of God that John the Baptist preached. Some are more comfortable with a list of rules and laws and consequences. It certainly eliminates the need for the Holy Spirit that Jesus gave us.

We all have some legalism in us. I believe it's human nature to see cause and effect. Grace and mercy are unfamiliar to our mental reasoning, but to our hearts and spirit they are life and blood itself. If we hang on to the law, we cannot enter into the kingdom of God that Jesus brought to us.

If we don't see and love God for Who He really is, we cannot fulfill the greatest commandments. Jesus also said, "Therefore all things whatever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets" (Matthew 7:12).

That Scripture gives me some insight into why we treat others so badly. Is it because we don't love ourselves? We do to others what we ourselves expect. If we expect judgment and condemnation, then we will surely receive it, for Proverbs 23:7 says, "As a man thinketh, so he is."

I've been focusing on the greatest commandment for months now. Studying and reading and pondering and meditating on who God is and how much He loves me, because when you fathom a bit of God's love it changes who you are and how you look at yourself. I believe this to be the very foundation of the "abundant life" that Jesus came to give us. May I challenge you to join me on this journey? It's a path that leads to deep peace, joy and purpose.

Jesus said in John 10:10, "The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that you might have life, and that you might have it more abundantly." Let's not let the thief steal what is rightfully ours. Walking through life with joy in your heart and love for God, yourself and others is a grand stroll down a beautiful garden path. God will bring opportunities your way to service in the smallest of ways, but in it you will know you are walking in the will of God.

Anybody out there already on this path? I'd love to hear your thoughts and so would other readers. Please leave a comment of encouragement below. Let me know if you are also struggling through the crowds of Pharisees who are more comfortable with condemnation and judgement, than love, grace and mercy. Let me encourage you to follow the example of Jesus. Stay in the Word and He will feed you.

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Nan Forehand said...

Donna, This is awesome! Through my curosity as a nature lover and two interesting caterpillars feasting on my moonflower, I stumbled upon your blog! You and I are kindred spirits! I also have a calling from God to share the Good News with others. I have a website currently called NansCalendar (I will be changing the name in the near future). I am inspired and encourged today as I read your posts. Thank you so much! Nan

sharingsunshine said...

Thank you for your kind comments and our link in spirit :-) God is so awesome! Hugs!

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