I've been asked this question many times in the past in regards to various things about my life. Why do you go to church? Why do you go to THAT church? Why do you wear skirts (I get this one pretty frequently, or it's variation "Do you ever wear pants?). Why don't you listen to the radio? Why don't you go to the movies? Why weren't you allowed to watch that TV show? Why did you go to Bible College? Why did your Mom homeschool you? Why won't you teach songs with swearing in them? Why...
The Bible says we are to be ready ALWAYS to give an answer (I Peter 3:15). So, I was thinking the other day of the broader question. Why DO I do what I do? The most comprehensive answer I could think of is, because I know it pleases God. Really, when it comes right down to it, that's why I live the way I live. Most people in the world live for self. They do the things they do to please themselves. The Christian is different. Our focus is on God and what He wants rather than self. Or, at least it should be.
Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more (I Thess. 4:1). (*Don't miss the last part of that verse*)
I just finished reading through Deuteronomy in my daily Bible reading. I was impressed by how many times God asks and admonishes Israel to obey and follow him throughout that book. Basically, God gives Israel His law and then says, "Follow it. Obey it."
Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him (Deut. 13:4).
God WAS Israel's God. This verse says He was "the Lord YOUR God." It was personal. The question for the Christian is this: Is God YOUR God? It's rhetorical, because of course, if you're a Christian God is YOUR God. Then does not this same admonition apply to those of us who call ourselves Christians today? That's why I do what I do. God is MY God. I live for Him, not for me.
Now, I know what some theologian is thinking as they read this. But that was the Old Testament. Deuteronomy was given to the Jews and only applied to Israel. We are the church. We are not under the law. We are under grace.
To which I answer. Is God YOUR God???? (followed by a "duh....")
Ok, that's my sarcastic answer. For those who really have a problem with the whole O.T. vs. N.T., law vs. grace thing, let me point you to this passage in the New Testament.
Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently (I Peter 1:22).
And then there's this one...
But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine that was delivered you (Romans 6:17).
I could go on, but I think it's safe to say that in the New Testament God still wants us to obey Him. In fact, if you read all of Romans 6 you'll see this so clearly. In Deuteronomy God gave the law to Israel. He was teaching them how to live. God gives us the same thing in the New Testament. Through His Word, He gives many, many principles and commands for every day living. Things like:
Be ye kind... (Eph 4:32)
Children, obey your parents... (Eph. 6:1)
Cleave to that which is good... (Romans 12:9)
Rejoice in the Lord alway... (Phil. 4:4)
In everything give thanks... (I Thess 5:18)
Do all to the glory of God... (I Cor. 10:31)
Live soberly, righteously, and godly (Titus 2:12)
And I could go on!
Obeying God is not always easy! The more I grow as a Christian, the more God shows me things in my life that need to change. This can be a very hard process, because a lot of those things are things that I like to do. But, that's the problem. "I." Even though I am a blood-bought, born-again believer, I still have "I", and "I" doesn't always like the process of changing things to become more like Christ. Praise the Lord, He helps us with that too! There's always the struggle with the flesh, but one verse that really helps me is Philippians 1:6.
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun in a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.
God began the work in me by saving me from my sin when I repented and put my faith and trust in Christ. And it's God who will continue that work of helping me grow in my faith until one day I'm in heaven. I just have to let Him do it.
I'd like to challenge those who read my blog and who are Christians to really sit down and examine the things you do in your life. Try to determine why you do the things you do. Is it for God? Is it for self? Is it for others? A verse I mentioned before in I Corinthians 10:31 says we are to do ALL to the glory of God. That means every single thing we do should in some way bring glory to God. The Old Testament law was very specific. God gave guidelines to the minutest detail of what to eat, what to wear, how to treat others, even what to do if you found your neighbours sheep or cow wandering down the road! Some of the things in the law may seem silly or like they don't really matter, but it just shows how even the smallest or seemingly irrelevant things do matter to God. In that same respect the smallest and maybe seemingly irrelevant things in our lives matter to God too! We should examine our lives constantly against God's perfect standard, His Word, and constantly be striving to be more like Christ in everything. None of us have arrived (myself included!) at being a perfect Christian. Let's keep growing!!!