Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Are You Living Under A Blessing Or A Curse?

Photo by Jessica Wilson
A List Of Blessings And Curses

Near the close of the Books of the Law in Deuteronomy chapter 28, God goes through two separate "laundry lists" with the people of Israel. List number one includes the Blessings for Obedience to the Law (28:1-14). List number two includes the Curses for Disobedience to the Law (28:15-68). When I read through these two lists, I'm struck by the reminder that obedience to God brings incredible blessings into our lives. I'm also frightened by the severe pricetag that comes through disobedience to God.

Now, I totally understand that these lists of blessings and curses are part of Jewish, Old Testament Law and pertain to the nation of Israel. They are in no way directed to Christians and the New Testament Church. But, I do believe that there are universal principles contained in this chapter that not only apply to our Jewish friends, but also to those of us that name the name of Christ as our Lord and Savior.

Experiencing Both Sides

God's desire for all of us is to be wholeheartedly devoted to Him. He doesn't want other "gods" in our life that are taking our attention and affection away from Him. He wants us to joyously live out the Christian life in complete obedience to His will through the power of His Holy Spirit. He wants us to experience Him in a new and powerful way each day.

I've experienced both sides of these two lists. I've experenced the pain, sorrow, defeat, and misery that disobedience brings. On the outside, I may have looked prosperous and blessed, but at the very core of my soul, I was weary with sorrow because my walk wasn't  matching up with God's Word. I was living under the curse that sin and disobedience brings into all of our lives.

The good news is that I've also expereinced the joy and the blessings that come with obedience to God and His Word. I'm sure you've experienced this in your own life as well. Thankfully, we serve the God of the second chance, and even the third, fourth, and fifth chances! He is crazy in love with you and with me. But, as much as He loves us, He still demands our complete obedience and devotion to Him. There's no halfway with Him.

Does this mean for the Christian that living a life of obedience will bring nothing but material blessings beyond measure and zero pain? Honestly, I don't think it means that at all. In the New Testament, I could cite many passages that paint the Christian life as difficult and costly. There's more to blessings, though, than having money in the bank, a brand new car, a huge house with a white picket fence, a spouse, 2.3 kids, and a big yellow dog named Rufus.

Complete Obedience, Complete Surrender

I believe the blessings of living out the Christian life in obedience and complete surrender to God are both internal and also eternal. They are internal blessings because our obedience and surrender brings joy and peace into our lives. We have a closer, more intimate relationship with the Father. The blessings are also eternal because we are laboring in obedience to God for a greater reward in heaven. That's a much better long term deal, anyway.

So, how are you feeling if you read through these two lists of blessings and curses, today? Do you feel like you're living under the blessings of Almighty God, or a curse? If you feel as though you're living under a curse, admit your failure to God, surrender your life to Him, and live in obedience to the Father. Then, just wait for the blessings that obedience brings into your life!

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