We Can Obey: December 11

Lutheran Indian Ministries 2016 Advent Devotion

This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world…
1 John 5:3-4 (NIV)

 During this time of year, we seem to focus on Mary, the virgin mother who gave birth to Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Of late, I have been focusing on Joseph.

 In the first chapter of Matthew, Scriptures tell us that Joseph’s first inclination toward Mary when finding out she was with child – a child obviously not his – was to divorce her quietly as to spare her public humiliation or stoning. But then Joseph heard from God and he obeyed. We know that Joseph became Jesus’ earthly father, thus fulfilling God’s plan.

 What if Joseph had not obeyed God and refused to listen, doing what his flesh wanted to do instead?

Throughout the Bible, we are told repeatedly to love one another. When we are children of God, our new birth gives us the strength by the Holy Spirit to live according to God’s Word and to obey what He asks of us. When we are constantly backbiting, being envious of one another, devouring each other with malicious words, we are not living according to the Spirit.

 We seem to have a hard time following the command to “love one another.” Sometimes, it is even harder to love a brother or sister in Christ, and this can spread throughout the church. It gives a poor witness to the unreached world. We all find ourselves struggling with this from time to time. Our flesh is rebellious and would rather follow the ways of the world than obey God’s ways.

Yet, as new creatures in Christ Jesus, obeying God is not impossible. We have the ability through the Holy Spirit.

 God isn’t calling us to do what was asked of Joseph. He is calling us to simply love one another.

 Gracious Lord, thank You for loving us and giving us Your Spirit. Continue to direct us and lead us and help us to follow Your ways rather than our ways. Help us to look upon others with love so that our witness to the world reflects You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Deaconess Cathy Benzler (Cherokee), Olympic Peninsula, Washington