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Walking a Disciple’s Walk Week 1 Day 4: Walk in a Worthy Manner – Our Conduct

Day 4, Part 2: Devotional Reflections

Reflection:

Months ago, my family and I were visiting a church during our travels, and the pastor there was beginning a sermon series on the book of Jonah. I was struck by his exposition of Jonah 1:8-15 and have since found his thoughts helpful for illustrating a truth I believe we all need to face. To summarize, when Jonah the prophet is asked by the sailors on the boat to Tarshish who he is and where he comes from, he says “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land” (Jonah 1:9). He also tells them that he is fleeing from God’s presence and his assigned mission to Nineveh by sailing in the exact opposite direction… on the sea. Did you notice the profound disconnect here? The God who made the sea still has full power over it and its inhabitants, and still can wield that power against Jonah in order to accomplish His purposes (which, incidentally, is exactly what He ends up doing). Jonah is a prophet who hears directly from God and knows how powerful He is, and yet he deliberately acts in opposition to His command. 

I was reminded of the stark contrast that sadly often exists between my knowledge and my actions. If others were watching every word I speak and every thought I think and every action I take in the course of my days, what impression would they have of the Master I claim to follow? As I see in God’s Word how perfect Christ is—His grace, His purity, His patience, His love and compassion—I am ashamed to admit that what they would see would be so often miles away from Him as He truly is. 

Hebrews 4:12-13 states, “The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” We all fall short in a myriad of ways, and pretending otherwise serves no purpose when we are never hidden from the sight of God. 

Faithfulness in this fallen world is not really a question of if we will get it wrong, but of how we respond when we inevitably do get it wrong. Do we make excuses? Do we justify ourselves and easily dismiss anyone who might question us in these areas? Or, do we humbly repent and seek the Lord as we begin again?

We absolutely must be willing to examine ourselves before the Lord if we want to follow Him. We must also be willing to obey the Lord regarding what we find—no holding back and no hesitating. I am not sure where this quote originates but a friend once shared it with me and it has lodged itself permanently in my mind. “We believe what we obey and nothing more.” You might be saying, Wait – so, even after I’ve evaluated my doctrine and determined to check my beliefs against the measuring stick of God’s Word, I can fail to actually follow Jesus?! Well, the hard truth is yes. The Scriptures reveal to us that our actions flow from the true motivations of our hearts; so when we choose to disobey, we choose to act in unbelief and reject Christ’s rightful authority over us. 

When Jesus tells us of the many who will come to Him in the final day calling Him “Lord, Lord” and recounting to Him all they did “in His name” on earth, His harsh words to them should act as a warning to us: “I never knew you. Depart from me, you workers of lawlessness” (Matthew 7:23). They called Him their master, but refused to be mastered by Him in practice. Each one of us should pray it will never be said of us that we also named Him our Lord but neglected to surrender our hands and our lives to His will. 

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“Obedience to God’s Word is proof of our love for Him. There are three motives for obedience. We can obey because we have to, because we need to, or because we want to. A slave obeys because he has to. If he doesn’t obey, he will be punished. An employee obeys because he needs to. He may not enjoy his work, but he does enjoy getting his paycheck! He needs to obey because he has a family to feed and clothe. But a Christian is to obey his heavenly Father because he wants to – for the relationship between him and God is one of love…. This is the way we learned obedience when we were children. First, we obeyed because we had to. If we didn’t obey, we were spanked! But, as we grew up, we discovered that obedience meant enjoyment and reward; so we started obeying because it met certain needs in our lives. And it was a mark of real maturity when we started obeying because of love…. ‘Baby Christians’ must constantly be warned or rewarded. Mature Christians listen to God’s Word and obey it simply because they love Him.” (Warren Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary: New Testament, Volume II. pg. 483)

Hymn: “Master, Speak Thy Servant Heareth”

By Frances Ridley Havergal

Master, speak! thy servant heareth,
waiting for thy gracious word,
longing for thy voice that cheereth,
Master, let it now be heard.
I am list’ning, Lord, for thee;
what hast thou to say to me?

Speak to me by name, O Master,
let me know it is to me;
speak, that I may follow faster,
with a step more firm and free,
where the Shepherd leads the flock,
in the shadow of the Rock!

Master, speak! and make me ready,
when thy voice is truly heard,
with obedience glad and steady,
still to follow ev’ry word.
I am listening, Lord, for thee:
Master, speak, oh speak to me!

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