Dear Friends, I hope you are doing well. Today I want you to live in such a way that you joyfully walk before the Lord with all your heart, out of joyful gratitude and desire, not out of duty or fear.
Did you see that OJ Simpson is going before his parole board? They will determine if he has served enough of his sentence to be released on parole. But even if he is released, there will be some pretty stiff conditions. He will have to walk the straight and narrow for several years, no more kidnapping people and threatening them at gunpoint.
DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE ON PAROLE?
I think a lot of times we as Christians, feel as though we are on parole. We know that Jesus has paid our sentence for us and now we are out of jail so to speak. But we still have these conditions we think that God places on us. You know, we’ve been forgiven of our past sins, but if we screw up too much in the future then we are back in the graybar hotel. I’m not sure why we keep thinking that our relationship with God is so conditional and that God would be so fickle with us and our inability to stay out of trouble.
The Bible just doesn’t speak this way about our salvation nor about our ongoing relationship with God through Jesus.
There’s a great passage in 1 Kings 8 where King Solomon has just finished building the Temple for God and he prays a prayer of dedication. In that prayer he says this in verse 23,
“O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven above or on the earth beneath, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart…”
IS GOD AT THE CENTER OR YOU?
Too often we read a passage like this and we quickly focus on our role in “walking before the Lord with all our heart.” That always seems to be our first inclination, to rush to our duty in our relationship with God. But remember, this is not a prayer about duty, it’s a prayer of dedication, to the LORD! King Solomon is dedicating this temple to the Lord, not to himself, or to the gifted artisans who made it and crafted it into a magnificent structure.
Solomon wants God to get the glory for this temple. So, Solomon recounts a few attributes of God;
There is no other god like the One True God, anywhere
God keeps his covenant with his people
God shows steadfast love to his servants
God is the central character here, not man.
Dear Friend, meditate on these attributes. Let them sink in to your soul. God uses His attributes for your favor.
You and I might create other man-made gods, but they are false and empty and meaningless and lead you nowhere, and they always, always, always disappoint you. But not God, He never disappoints because His is the One True God of the universe, who is everywhere, all the time, He knows all things, sees all things, and is sovereignly in control of all things.
God also keeps his covenant of love and faithfulness toward you. Oh, you’ve definitely broken your side of the covenant. You have not kept up your end of the deal. You have sinned against God over and over and over again. There’s not a day that goes by that you haven’t broken covenant with God. Nonetheless, God keeps His side of the covenant and he has also kept our side of it too! God demands perfect obedience from us. And we can never live up to perfect obedience. But there is One who could. Jesus, the author and PERFECTOR of our faith. Jesus lived the perfect life we could never live. So yes, God certainly keeps his covenant with us and has sent Jesus to keep our side of the Covenant for us.
And then Solomon goes on to express that God’s love is steadfast, it never stops, it keeps going. Even in the midst of our failures God keeps on loving us. That is amazing! You just don’t see this type of love in human relationships.
To be perfectly clear, this passage showcases the glory of God in his attributes FIRST and then it encourages us and calls us to walk before the Lord with ALL our heart. God wants us to see his UNCONDITIONAL LOVE and be motivated out of that love to walk in his ways, to live out his law, and to walk through life giving it everything we’ve got.
DUTY OR DELIGHT?
God wants us to obey him and walk with Him, not out of duty but out of delight. God wants us to take a bath in his steadfast love, feel the cleansing power of Christ and then go out into the world around us and love others like He has loved us.
My prayer for you today is that you would look at who God is and THEN live out what He has called you to do.
May God give you the strength, ability and power to walk before Him through the Holy Spirit living in you.
So today, right now, go out and walk before the Lord with all your heart. Give it everything you’ve got today, don’t hold back grace from anyone, God’s not holding it back from you. Don’t put conditions on anyone today, God’s not putting conditions on you. Treat others as Christ has treated you. You have nothing to lose by loving people this way.
Take care my friends and have a great day enjoying God!