I don't get to share devotions in our office that often but when I do, I usually like to make them short. It's a tough crowd usually around here with everyone constantly checking their watches while I share... It reminds me of my youth group but I digress...
Here's my "short" take from our devotions yesterday. I'll try and make it short and sweet but you can always jump to the end...
Matthew 28:20. We all know it. We should know it. I's Jesus's command to go and make disciples of all nations, right? What does His command tell us? It tells us to go. It tells us to make disciples. It tells us to teach them. But - hold that thought for a second? Teaching them what?
We've done a good job teaching them the doctrines and teaching them how to study the Bible. Countless Christian organizations and missionaries are teaching "them" how to pray, how to evangelize, how to serve. Countless seminaries and Bible schools are teaching "them" Hebrew and Greek (sorry but I only took Hebrew because I had to have it for my credit hours!) but what about the part of "teaching them to obey?" When was the last time you took a class or went to a Bible conference on "Christian Obedience?"
Sure, we can spend more countless hours (yes, the key word for today is countless but that what happens when you can't afford to hire an editor!) defining the word "obedience" and why other translations use the word "observe" (the word is also translated as "preserve" - now you can thank me for the image above!)- and we can look into the Greek word for it but at the end of the day these two questions still remain:
- How I am doing in the Department of Christian Obedience [to the teachings of Jesus]?; and,
- How am I teaching others to obey [the teachings of Jesus]?
Here's my take on both. It boils down to "Am I doing what I know that I am supposed to be doing?" And it starts with the "small stuff of life" - like, for example, responding to the nudging of the Holy Spirit when he tells me to "Call so and so..." or, when I hear Him whisper, "Pray for this or that..." - or, when grocery shopping, He tells me, "Buy an extra bread for your neighbors!" Obedience to the "big things" - absolutely! - but it is usually the small rocks that turn off the horse cart and I know that for me, it's about the "small things" that I need to be careful and obedient.
The second one is a bit more tricky because it will require vulnerability and making myself open to those I disciple. Most of us will agree and even say that nobody is perfect but unless my closest friends and fellow disciples see my own struggles in modeling obedience, I risk growing and teaching the next class of Christian hypocrites. I am what I am today because of the grace of God but also because of people I admired and people I wanted to grow up and be like them - it was their example that got my attention. Were they perfect? Absolutely not but making themselves vulnerable and even sharing their own struggles of dealing with obedience had helped me see it in action and made me wanting to do better.
So, how are you doing in the Obedience Department? Are you helping others do better in that department? I will be surprised but if you hear about a conference on Christian Obedience, let me know.