[27APRIL2012] Eastertide Devotional Series
I will be posting this devotional series as part of my Eastertide reflections for the next three weeks (see this link for other installments in the series). Each week of this devotional series focuses on a specific theme (week one: brokenness, week two: repentance, and week three: renewal). I hope you’ll enjoy the series and I invite you to comment here on the blog or email me direct; I would love to hear your thoughts.
Scripture Reading: John 10:22-30; 14:15-31
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me… If you love me, obey my commandments. Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me.”
The past few weeks have taken us on a journey leading up to this place of spiritual renewal. We have realized that recognizing our brokenness and responding with repentance (turning back to God) are prerequisites to beginning the path of renewal, but there is more… As we have explored the dynamic of renewal this week, we are learning that it requires certain commitments from us. We learned on Monday that renewal requires humility and contrition; coming before God and asking Him to renew and restore us. Tuesday we acknowledged that renewal and restoration are a partnership with God and that we have a share in the responsibility of our spiritual renewing. Wednesday taught us that successful renewal is best found through deliberate and intentional planning: assessing our need, formulating a plan, enlisting the help of others and putting the plan into action. We learned Thursday, that being wholehearted in our efforts of turning back to God is necessary for our successful renewal. Without our wholehearted involvement, it is likely there will be no partnership with God and spiritual renewal does not happen when we are doing it alone.
The next step in our process of renewal and restoration is hearing the Voice of God and our active obedience to His Voice. Jesus said; “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” This short, but very deep, statement can be summed up as follows: Hear, Listen, Obey. If we have any expectations for hearing God’s Voice, it will always require obedience. Without obedience to God’s instruction, our ability to hear His Voice degrades. Without His Voice, there is no instruction and direction from Him. Without God’s instruction and direction, we lead ourselves blindly and return to our own way… spiritual renewal and restoration fails, as do we. “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me… If you love me, obey my commandments. Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me.”
I confess that my obedience to God’s Voice, following Jesus, has not always been easy. I have often had to make difficult choices, putting aside my personal desires and sacrificing many things along the way (friendships, career, financial decisions, my pride, and these are just a few). The upside of these sacrifices for obedience has been my renewed ability to hear and respond obediently to His Voice!
Have you struggled with being obedient to God’s commands and direction in your life? What has been the source of your struggle? How well do your hear God’s Voice? How closely do you “follow” Jesus?
Our Prayer: Lord Jesus, I admit that I do not always listen to your voice. Sometime I feel that following you is negotiable and discretionary…that I can jump on and off the path without repercussion. I tell myself this, but I know in my deepest heart that it is not true and every time I “jump off the path” or fail to obey you, I weaken our relationship. Lord, I want to confess again, that I am weak, but I know that you are strong, so I ask you to be strong in me. Help me to hear you clearly and by your Holy Spirit, help me to obey you and show you how much I love you by following you. May my life be all for your glory and your honor. Amen.