Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Complete Obedience
Hebrews 5:5-10
  
John C Thomas,

St. Thomas MTC NY

7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8 Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered;

One day a priest was listening to a preacher describing the following scenario. Imagine it is the most important day of your life (your wedding day, first day of work, important entrance exam, important final, etc.) and you are over two hours late.  You are driving as fast as you can when you see Jesus hitchhiking in the other direction.  What would you do?  Different people shouted out answers, but the preacher kept saying that the answers were not fully correct.  

The priest was confident and after the message was over, he went to the preacher and said “What I would do is this.  I would stop the car, take a U-turn, pull up to Jesus, ask Him where he is going and then take him there.”  The preacher told the priest that the answer was good, but not completely correct.  The priest was confused because he was sure that he had the right answer.  The preacher told him to think about it overnight and come back to him in the morning.  The priest could not sleep the whole night because he kept pondering why his answer was not the correct one.
Early the next morning, the priest went to the preacher and woke him up.  The priest said that he did not understand why his answer was not the right one.  He said, “I am doing everything right by stopping the car, thus not going my way but instead going Christ’s way by turning the car around.  And even though I’m late, I’m asking Christ where He wants to go and am willing to go wherever He wants me to.  Is that not what we are supposed to do - not go our own way but instead go whatever direction Christ directs me?”
The preacher said, “But why do you have to drive?”
This story is one that Coorilos Thirumeni shared at a Diocesan Youth Fellowship leadership conference a few years ago. He asked us if Jesus was simply a GPS and/or ATM, whether our obedience to Him was solely based on our own criteria and desires, whether we pray only for things for us (ATM) and/or ask God for direction to get to our goal (GPS).  Coorilos Thirumeni emphasized that, as Christians, to truly be obedient to God we cannot simply proclaim obedience but instead we must do so in our actions.
The theme for the week is “Our God reigns” and that He does.  We serve a living risen Savior – Hallelujah! But part of serving a living God is true obedience.  Do we truly obey?  Do we pray “God help me get into law school” or do we pray “Lord, guide me to the career that You want me to have?”.  
The main verses highlighted speak of Jesus’ prayers being heard, of His submission (verse 7) and that Jesus learned obedience from His suffering (verse 8).  Obedience during suffering is the most difficult aspect of Christian living. It helps us build our faith that God has a greater plan for us.  When we are suffering, we should not forget to look to the promises in God’s word.
Jeremiah 29:11-14 (I know the plans I have for you, plans not to harm you but to prosper you).
Romans 5:3-5 (Suffering leads to perseverance which leads to character which leads to hope).
1 Corinthians 10:12-13 (He will never leads you into temptation more than you can bear and He will prepare a way out)
James 1:2-3 (Rejoice in your sufferings because testing of your faith leads to perseverance)
1 Peter 3:14-22 (Do not fear suffering for your faith but be prepared to give an answer)
1 Peter 4:12-19 (Suffering for Christ will be rewarded when His glory is shown; continue to obey the Creator during suffering by doing good.)
1 Peter 5:6-11 (Cast your anxiety on Him for He cares for you. After you have suffered a little while, He himself will lift you up)
As we celebrate this Lenten season, we are reminded that our greatest blessing is a risen Lord. The risen Lord is only possible because Christ was obedient to God even to the point of death on the cross.  Like Christ, can we say “if it be Your will Father” and obey God even when it leads to suffering and/or is not where we want to go.  Can we allow God to be the driver of our life?        

PRAYER

Father, we praise You for the greatest “gift” ever. We thank You for Your Son, Jesus Christ who through His blood established a new covenant between You and us - Your people.  Enable us to use this Lenten season as an opportunity to fully trust and obey.  AMEN.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
True obedience is seen in times of suffering .