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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Compelling Reason

This morning I was forced to stop my bicycle suddenly because a lady did not stop at a red light. She looked left as she turned without slowing down. I am actually surprised that she didn't slide through the intersection. I doubt if she ever saw me. She never knew how close she came to hitting me.

Why didn't she stop at the red light? Simple. She didn't have to because there was no one there with the authority to enforce the law. She will continue to run red lights until she is compelled to obey the law. The number of cars on the road and the reluctance of the police to issue tickets means she has a very good chance of running red lights for many more years.

Throughout history the Church has also struggled with this problem. People haven't been obeying the Lord because they haven't had anyone enforcing God's will. The Church has tried to take His place on the earth and administer justice. The effort may have had good intentions but it has always caused corruption. Unchecked power corrupts.

I can understand why those do not know the Lord won't obey Him. Why should they obey someone to whom they have not committed? Any obedience is for appearances which is not obedience at all.

I understand why God would compel those who are not committed to Him. There are things God wills which will not happen without the cooperation of those who are not committed to Him.

Exodus 3:19-20 (ESV)
19 But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless compelled by a mighty hand.
20 So I will stretch out my hand and strike Egypt with all the wonders that I will do in it; after that he will let you go. 

But what about those who know Him? Shouldn't they understand that He is always with them? Shouldn't they simply obey because of their commitment? Shouldn't they obey because He lives within them?

I am not talking about living a perfect life. I am talking about a compelling reason to do what the Lord has told His people that they should do. Why have their hearts grown so cold that they do not realize that He is a living God who works in their hearts? How can they continue to treat Him like the grandparent in the nursing home that no one goes to visit? Is God not working in them? And, if not, do they really belong to Him?

I certainly can't be the judge here. But, on the other hand, I have to wonder because I know that my God is working in me as I am working out my salvation.

My only compelling reason to follow my Lord is the Spirit in which He has caused to dwell in me. He is working and, therefore, I obey.

Philippians 2:12-13 (ESV)
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. 

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