Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Is Obedience Just Extra Credit?

The first of two posts on the Kingdom being "for the Obedient"...

Memory Verse
"Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."  Matthew 7:21 (NIV)

We have seen that verse before in this blog.  It states very clearly that the only ones who will enter the kingdom are those who do God's will.  And we know from a few posts ago that God's will is that the kingdom be extended from heaven to earth - "your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10).

Now obedience makes a lot more sense to me.  When I used to limit "the kingdom" to just salvation, just me and others getting from earth to heaven, I would question why Jesus, Paul, and others would put so much importance on obedience.  After all, wasn't salvation just "pass/fail"?  And wouldn't that make obedience just extra credit?

Since I have come to appreciate that Jesus was much more concerned about extending the kingdom of heaven to earth than just extending my life from earth to heaven, I have come to appreciate how critical obedience is.  The kingdom of heaven is never going to be extended to earth unless you and I are obedient and do what the Father, the King, has told us to do, even (and perhaps especially) when the King asks us to do something that seems radical to us.

Then, when I am willing to be obedient, and do that radical thing or two or three, something pretty amazing happens - I experience MORE of the kingdom in my own life.  The more I am obedient in extending the kingdom, the more I experience the kingdom.

Now our Memory Verse makes a lot more sense.  I can enter (and experience and extend) the kingdom of heaven - not only after my last breath but here and now - as I faithfully do the will of my Father.  Yes, the kingdom is for the obedient.

Questions to Consider
1. Do you look at obedience as a drudgery or an opportunity to experience more of the kingdom of heaven on earth? 

2. What words of Jesus are the most difficult for you to be obedient in?  Could it be that obedience to those words would allow you to witness new breakthroughs in experiencing and extending more of the kingdom?

Action Steps for the Week
1.  Identify an area in which you struggle to be obedient to the Father's will and ask the Holy Spirit to help you become obedient as a step towards experiencing more of the kingdom of heaven on earth.

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