What Does the Lord Require of You?

Have you ever noticed how Scripture repeatedly shows us two paths–two distinct patterns—that we can choose to follow? One road leads us to God while the other leads us astray, eventually ending in the Lake of Fire.

Jesus loved teaching in parables to help his disciples and other followers come to a greater understanding of godly principles and righteous thinking. I am reminded of one of my favorite parables found in the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 21, verses 28-32.

In the parable, a father directs his two sons to go work in the vineyard. The first son initially refuses but then changes his mind and does as his father instructed. The second son immediately tells his father that he will go work in the vineyard as his father asked him to but does not go. Jesus asks his disciples which one of the sons they thought did the will  of his father. The disciples correctly reply “The first.”

Matthew 21:28-32 (NIV)

The Parable of the Two Sons

28 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’

29 “‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.

30 “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.

31 “Which of the two did what his father wanted?”

“The first,” they answered.

Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.

While we are quick to note that Jesus, out of his love for others, spent time with sinners like tax collectors and prostitutes, yet we misunderstand his reason for investing time in the lost, the last, the least and the lonely. He did not do so because he approved of their behavior. He did not simply overlook their shortcomings and show them love despite their disobedience without addressing their need for repentance. He loved them, just like He loves us. But in that love, He spoke Truth to them. Jesus spent time with them so that they might see the light of men who shone in the darkness and that darkness could not overcome. Jesus invested time in lost and hurting souls to lead them to repentance and return them to the paths of righteousness God had paved for them.

While God sees us in our rebellion, He loves us, demonstrating that love through giving His only begotten Son as an atonement for our disobedience and sinfulness. God does this not so that we would continue in our walk of wickedness or down our paths of sin, but so that we would repent, turning away from our rebellious disobedience, and return to walking in faithful obedience to Him, as God intended for us to do all along.

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From the first acts of disobedience to the last, God’s heart breaks for us, because our rebellion separates us from Him, just like the second son, through his deception and disobedience,  put an obstacle in the relationship separating him and from his earthly father.

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Even though we rebel and disobey God initially, we can return to right standing with Him, through repentance and by believing in the atoning work of His son, Jesus Christ, on a Cross at Calvary over 2,000 years ago.

God is for you, not against you. He has made the way for you to return to Him through repenting and accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

Do not let the chains of your disobedience continue to shackle your soul. Step away from your chains, that God has loosened, and begin living a life of faithful obedience to the Lord God Almighty. What are you waiting for? There is no time like right now.

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I’ll be praying for you.

He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?

Micah 6:8 (NIV)

What Keeps You From Worshiping Jesus?

The Gospel of Mark shares a story of a rich, young man who asks Jesus what he has to do to receive eternal life. In this parable, versions of which are also found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, the young man approaches Jesus, demonstrating respect by kneeling to him and referring to him as “Good Teacher”. The young man communicates a clear understanding that Jesus is someone worthy of honor and respect. His words also reveal a lack of fully understanding who Jesus was, is and will always be.

Claiming to have kept all of the Mosaic Law since childhood and being wealthy,  the young man seems to feel he has a right to receive the gift of eternal life. If not him, who?  He sees getting into Heaven something that can be earned, achieved, and obtained through living a good life, being successful, and having knowledge. When Jesus, looking at him with love, challenged him to get rid of all his possessions and follow Him, the young man dropped his head, unable to commit to God’s call on His life and walked away, unwilling to follow Jesus.

The young man believed he was worthy of receiving eternal life. Nothing could be further from the truth. None of us are worthy of God’s grace. However, through sending Jesus to atone for our sins, God demonstrates His belief that we are worth it. Scripture repeatedly shows us that the Lord is a personal God who desires an intimate, close relationship with the people He has created. Through the precious shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross at Calvary, God removed all obstacles keeping us from a relationship with Him. Yet, like the rich, young man in our parable, many of us decide we can not give up our worldly identity and follow Jesus.

 

What we believe about Jesus matters.

 

Through His Son, God gave us the ultimate gift of love. By His actions, Jesus demonstrated that He is worthy of our worship. Through the Holy Spirit, we can grow in relationship with Christ, in the process, drawing nearer to the Father. Honestly, our relationship with Jesus is the most important thing about us because what we believe informs our decision-making and directs our problem-solving. Our faith determines our response to the trials and tribulations we experience in this lost and fallen world.

For the young man in our parable, his worldly possessions kept him from worshiping Jesus. What personal gods are keeping you from worshipping Jesus today?

Don’t leave Jesus sitting on the shelf like an unopened gift. Repent and believe in the Lord. Worship Jesus. 

Prayer:

Father, forgive us for not worshiping you with all our heart, all our mind, and all our soul. We know that you are God alone and there is no other path to you except through placing our faith and trust in your Son, Jesus Christ. Help us remove our individual distractions so that we might draw closer to You by turning our eyes upon Jesus and not relying on our own strength but rather depending on the power of Your Holy Spirit dwelling in us. We pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.