Loss of Joy

Posted by Jerry White on May 2, 2016

“If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Isaiah 1:19-20 (ESV)
~~~
“Sometimes a person comes to a spiritual advisor and says, ‘I have no joy, and I’ve experienced very little for years.” The older, wiser Christian asks, ‘Did you once have joy?’ ‘Yes, for some time after my conversion to God.’ Again the adviser asks a question: ‘Are you aware of a time when you refused to obey some distinct command, a directive from God that you ignored?’
Then the face is cast down, the eyes fill with tears, and the answer comes with difficulty. ‘Yes, years ago I used to think that God required a certain thing of me. I felt sure God was calling me to do something . But I did not heed the call. I did not do what He wished and was uneasy for sometime about it. After a while, though, it seemed to fade from my mind, and now it does not often trouble me.’
The mature Christian responds, ‘My friend, that is where you have gone wrong, and you will never regain your joy until you go back through the weary years to the point where you dropped the thread of obedience. Retrace your steps and complete that one thing God requested of you so long ago. Then watch and see how the burden is lifted.’
Is this the cause of depression for thousands of Christian people? They are God’s children, but they are disobedient to their Father. The Bible rings with one long demand for obedience. The key phrase of the book of Deuteronomy is this: ‘Observe and do.’ The cornerstone of Christ’s farewell discourse is, ‘If you love Me, keep My commandments.'”
The Best of F. B. Meyer, 24-25
Edited and Compiled by Stephen W. Soreson




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Saved to Obey

Posted by Jerry White on Mar 7, 2016

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?”
Luke 6:46
~~~
“TO OBEY, in the New Testament usage, means to give earnest attention to the Word, to submit to its authority, and to carry out its instructions.
Obedience in this sense is almost a dead letter in modern Christianity. It may be taught now and then in a languid sort of way, but it is not stressed sufficiently to give it power over the lives of the hearers. For, to become effective, a doctrine must not only be received and held by the Church, but must have behind it such pressure of moral conviction that the emphasis will fall like a blow upon a percussion cap, setting off the energy latent within.
The Church of our day has soft-pedaled the doctrine of obedience, either neglecting it altogether or mentioning it only apologetically and without urgency. This results from a fundamental confusion of obedience with works in the minds of preacher and people. To escape the error of salvation by works we have fallen into the opposite error of salvation without obedience. In our eagerness to get rid of the legalistic doctrine of works we have thrown out the baby with the bath and gotten rid of obedience as well.
The Bible knows nothing of salvation apart from obedience. Paul testified that he was sent to preach ‘obedience to the faith among all nations.’ He reminded the Roman Christians that they had been set free from sin because they had ‘obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.’ In the New Testament there is no contradiction between faith and obedience. Between faith and law-works, yes; between law and grace, yes; but between faith and obedience, not at all. The Bible recognizes no faith that does not lead to obedience, nor does it recognize any obedience that does not spring from faith. The two are opposite sides of the same coin….The trouble with many of us today is that we are trying to believe without intending to obey. ”
W. Tower
Paths to Power, 14-15




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Strong Desire to Obey

Posted by Jerry White on Aug 5, 2012

Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commandments!

Psalm 112:1 (ESV)

~~~

“What ought to be the real objective of the Bible student? God’s Word is food, bread from heaven; the first prerequisite of Bible study is a great hunger after righteousness, a sincere desire to do all God’s will. The Bible is a light; the first condition to its enjoyment is a hearty longing to walk in God’s ways. Is this not what our texts teach us? ‘Blessed…are those who hear the word of God and obey it’ (Luke 11:28). The Word is nothing if it is not obeyed. If any man will do God’s will, he will know what it is. All true knowledge of God’s Word depends upon there being first a will to obey it. This is the very lesson we are enforcing. God will unlock the real meaning and blessing of His Word only to those whose will is set upon obeying it. I must read my Bible with one purpose: Whatever He says, I will do.

This is easily understood when we think of what words are meant to do. They stand between will and action. If someone decides to do something for you, before he does it, he will formulate his thoughts or purpose in words, either to himself or to you, and then he will do what he says he will do. So also with God. His words derive their value from what He does or has done. In Creation His word was with power; He spoke and it was done. In grace He does what He says He will do. David prays in 2 Samuel 7:25, ‘And now, Lord God…do as you promised.’ …Through the prophets, God says, ‘I the Lord have spoken it; and I will do it.’ And they reply, ‘What you have spoken is done.’ The truth and worth of God’s promises consist in the fact that He fulfills them. His words of promise are meant to be fulfilled.

This is no less true of His commands, which He intends that we obey. If we do not obey them; if we seek to know them and admire their beauty and praise their wisdom, but do not obey them, we delude ourselves. They are meant to be obeyed; as we obey them, their real meaning and blessing can be revealed to us. Only as we obey can we grow in the divine life.”

Andrew Murray

The Believer’s Daily Renewal, 40-41




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A Terrible Delusion

Posted by Jerry White on Aug 7, 2011

“It is a terrible delusion to be content, even delighted, at hearing the Word and yet not being willing to do it. Actually, it is quite common for multitudes of Christians to listen to the Word of God regularly and earnestly and yet not obey it. If their own employee, for example, were to listen to their instructions but not do what was asked of him, they would be very displeased. And yet so complete is the delusion, they seldom realize that they are not living consistent Christian lives. What is the cause of this delusion?

For one thing, people mistake the pleasure they have in hearing the word for spirituality and worship. The mind delights in having the truth clearly presented; the imagination is gratified by its illustration; the emotions are stirred by its application. To an active mind, knowledge gives pleasure. A man may study some field of science—electricity, for example—merely for the enjoyment the knowledge gives him, without the least intention of applying it practically to that line of work. And so many people go to church and enjoy the preaching—but they have no intention of doing what God asks. The unconverted and the converted man alike may remain content to continue sinning, confessing, and sinning again.”

Andrew Murray

The Believer’s Daily Renewal, 44-45

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But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

James 1:22 (ESV)

~~~

An illustration of how many Christians have not obeyed God’s simple word, even though they have heard it proclaimed, is Romans 12:1, which commands to present your body as a living sacrifice. This is done as a decisive act before God just like a sacrifice of the Old Testament was a decisive act. It is done in response to His command. This is the gateway necessary for knowing the will of God and becoming a pleasure to His heart. Have you read this or heard it proclaimed and yet not done it? If so, you have deceived yourself.




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Willing Joyful Obedience

Posted by Jerry White on Mar 28, 2011

“A musician is not recommended for playing long, but for playing well; it is obeying God willingly that is accepted. The Lord hates that which is forced; it then becomes a tax instead of an offering. Cain served God grudgingly. He brought his sacrifice, not his heart.

To obey God’s commandments unwillingly is like the devils who came out of the possessed man at Christ’s command, albeit with reluctance and against their will. Good duties cannot be pressed and beaten out of us as the waters were beaten out of the rock when Moses smote it with the budding rod. Good duties must freely drop from us, as myrrh from the tree or honey from the comb.

If a willing mind be wanting, there wants that flower which should perfume our obedience and make it a sweet-smelling savor unto God. Someone has said that a noble deed for someone else is a step toward God.

The avaricious man is like the barren sandy ground of the desert which sucks in all the rain and dew with greed, but yields no fruitful herbs or plants for the benefit of others.

Only one life will soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

Thomas Watson (1620-1686)

Fill Me With Hope, July 21

Compiled by Paul M. Miller

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Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart.

1 Peter 1:22 (ESV)

~~~

Fill the garden of my soul with the wind of love, that the scents of the Christian life may be wafted to others; then come and gather fruits to thy glory. So shall I fulfill the great end of my being—to glorify thee and be a blessing to men.

The Valley of Vision, 325

Edited by Arthur Bennett




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Live By Will, Not Feelings

Posted by Jerry White on Jan 14, 2010

“We have no direct control over our feelings, but we have control over our will. God does not hold us responsible for what we feel but for what we will. Furthermore, in His sight, we are not what we feel but what we will. Let us, therefore, not live in the summerhouse of emotion but in the central citadel of the will, wholly yielded and devoted to the will of God. When we are in communion with the Lord, our soul is often flooded with holy emotion, the tides rise high, the swelling tides of joy rise, and every element in nature joins in the choral hymn of rapturous praise. But tomorrow comes, and life has to be faced in the trying workplace, the dingy shop, the noisy factory, the godless workroom. As the soul compares the joy of yesterday with the difficulty experienced in walking humbly with the Lord, it wonders whether it is quite as devoted and dedicated as it was. But during such a time, how reassuring it is to say with confidence that the will has not altered its position by a hair’s breadth. We can sincerely declare, ‘My God, the spring tide of emotion has passed away like a summer brook, but in my heart of hearts, in my will, You know I am as devoted and as loyal to You as during the blessed moment of communion with You.’ This is an offering with which God is well pleased.”
F. B. Meyer
The Best of F. B. Meyer, 27
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My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.
Matthew 26:39 (ESV)
~~~
How liberating to know that the primary concern of the Lord Jesus is not what you feel or don’t feel, but rather what you choose. You can choose to forgive another who has hurt you deeply even though you still feel hurt and disappointment. You can choose to worship and thank the Lord in the face of disappointing news. You can choose to draw near to God even though your feelings resist because of coldness of desire and deadness of emotions. The Lord Jesus fully understands what you feel, or don’t feel, and will honor what you will.




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Defeated Or Disobedient

Posted by Jerry White on Feb 12, 2009

“The Christian should never complain of want of ability and power. If we sin, it is because we choose to sin, not because we lack the ability to say no to temptation…Too often we say we are ‘defeated’ by this or that sin. No, we are not defeated; we are simply disobedient! It might be well if we stopped using the terms ‘victory’ and ‘defeat’ to describe our progress in holiness. Rather we should use the terms ‘obedience’ and ‘disobedience’. When I say I am defeated by some sin, I am unconsciously slipping out from under my responsibility. I am saying something outside of me has defeated me. But when I say I am disobedient, that places the responsibility for my sin squarely on me.”
Jerry Bridges
The Pursuit of Holiness, p. 84
~~~

If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
John 14:15 (ESV)
~~~

The Lord Jesus says obedience is the way we express our love to Him. Conversely, disobedience indicates a lack of love for Him. The Lord leaves no room for excuses. He considers our obedience or disobedience a very personal love relationship issue. Obedience is far more than fulfilling a list of impersonal commandments. Obedience is the way we show our love for our beloved Savior. If I think failure in obedience is no more than disobedience to an impersonal commandment then what harm is done except for my own guilt and shame? Surely asking for forgiveness will remove that. But if I see that disobedience is very personal toward the Lord Jesus, and that it reveals my lack of love for Him, and that it grieves Him, then I become concerned about Him and the true need of my own heart to love Him more than I do. Disobedience requires ruthless honesty: “Lord, I do not really love you like I should, nor like I want to. I disobey you because I love myself, and my sin, more than You. Please be merciful to me, and do a deeper work in me that will result in my loving You passionately and supremely.  Change my heart so that I can’t stand the thought of grieving You by disobedience.”




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Persistent Obedience

Posted by Jerry White on Nov 19, 2008

“This is the ‘instant’ age; if a thing is to be had, it must be had now. The idea goes something like this: The promises are there, claim them at this very moment and the prize is yours, whether it is instant sanctification, instant power, or instant healing. We live in an impatient society and the idea of humble submission, patient waiting and steady perseverance does not make a ready appeal. But the way of Christ was the way of persistent obedience. All his life was given to it. He strongly resisted the temptation to have it affected in a spectacular and supernatural moment. He resolutely pursued the will and the purpose of God. He knew that it could not be achieved in a magical minute.”
Raymond Brown
The Message of Hebrews
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For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.
Hebrews 10:36 (ESV)
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The Lord Jesus patiently waited while working as a carpenter in Nazareth and caring for His mother and half brothers and sisters. Finally, at His baptism, when He was about thirty years of age, His Heavenly Father verbally approved Him and began to lead Him into His public ministry. Until then many people were sick, demonized, had leprosy, were looking for answers for life, and dying and going to hell. But He could not heal them, give them answers in sermons, deliver them from the powers of darkness, or anything else He was able to do during His last three years. The reason is simple. It was not His Father’s will. He had to wait patiently on Him. Being a disciple of the Lord Jesus requires patience and persistence—faithful, steady obedience in ordinary daily life. This is the evidence of true faith.




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