When your business does not yield profits, you decide to close it down, right? But what about your relationship with God?
Many people follow God because they expect to be blessed. Many sermons speak of a generous God who is not outdone in generosity. Quite a number of spiritual books describe a God who returns a hundredfold what we offer to Him. I, as a preacher, even catch myself often exhorting people to follow God because they will surely receive His countless favors.
While all of these are generally true, sometimes over-emphasis on the rewards of obedience gives us a wrong picture of what it means to really follow God. Somehow, people’s focus is diverted from obeying God because they love Him to obeying God because of the rewards. As a result, we deal with God not in the context of a loving relationship but in the context of a business venture, meaning — for profit.
At the beginning of this Lenten season, I have been led often in my prayer time to confront myself with this very challenging question: If God doesn’t bless me, will I still obey Him?
What if God allows my bank account to get depleted? Or I find it difficult to pay my bills? Or I get sick? Or my ministry falters? Or my relationships suffer?
If God’s promises remain unfulfilled, will I still obey Him the way I am obeying Him now?
My resolve is threatened. My convictions shaken. My heart shudders at the thought of obeying God out of pure obedience.
But that’s the line that separates those who follow for the sake of profits from those who follow for the sake of love.
Are you following God for some time now and you have yet to see His promises fufilled? Are you tempted to turn back? Is the cost of obedience too high to pay? Is God not worth the pain?
Think again. This Lenten Season might be the best time to check your motives. Obey God for the sake of God. That is pure obedience. And for those who sincerly want to follow God, it’s the only obedience we ought to know.
A blessed Lenten Season to all of you!