Drawing Near

A Pastoral Perspective on Biblical, Theological, & Cultural Issues | The Personal Website of James B. Law, Ph.D.



February 2020



Doing a 180° on Clear Paths of Obedience

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th-8As time takes us further from our Life Action Summit, I am using my blog to offer pastoral encouragement to my FBCG family. Since the beginning of the year, I have had a simple thought that I have expressed to our church family in our gatherings, “The Lord first…”  May Christ be first in our thoughts, first in our commitments, first in our devotion, finances, plans, dreams, goals, and first in our hearts.  I long for us to savor His promises as we run the race that ends at His feet.

Jonathan Goforth, who lived a courageous life for Christ in China in the early 1900’s, once wrote, “There never has been a revival except where there has been Christian men and women thoroughly believing in and wholeheartedly pleading the promises of God.” In the last month we have sought the Lord together and have committed to biblical obedience that carry God’s promised blessing.

Paul’s words to the Philippians gives guidance as we pursue obedience to our Savior, “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.” (4:12,13)

To be clear, Paul is calling believers to work out our salvation, not work for our salvation. These verses provide insight into the journey of sanctification in the believer’s life. A process in which we cooperate with God to grow in Christ.  We are to appropriate the means of grace God has given for us to mature: Scripture, prayer, worship, church membership, service, giving, obedience, etc. As we live out our faith in Christ alone, there is great encouragement that He is at work in us, “both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (v.13)

However, we should not think that we will be unopposed in our pursuit of God’s glory.  We contend with the triumvirate of this world’s system, our rebel flesh, and the devil. To the third foe, the Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 2:11, “…we are not ignorant of his (Satan’s) schemes.” Paul knew well the devastating effects of Satan’s lies upon a believer’s life. He was familiar with how the devil’s methods wreaked havoc in the church rendering her weak and pathetic.

In our last post, we attempted to identify common strategies of the evil one, I would like to add another to our list this week which speaks to the danger of delayed obedience.

Doing a 180° on Clear Paths of Obedience 

Our walk with Christ brings with it a call to die daily.  Often that comes when we are confronted and convicted with issues in our life that are out-of-alignment with God’s word. This would include what we do, what we think, how we relate with others, how we use our time, etc.  There is no area of our life that is outside of Christ’s rightful reign. We are not our own, we have been bought with a price, therefore we are to glorify God with our lives. (I Corinthians 6:19b, 20)

In Romans 12, Paul wrote of the call for believers to present themselves to God as living sacrifices. The picture is that of our daily lives being surrendered to God’s bidding. However, the struggle we face is that we are always tempted to crawl off the altar.  It’s uncomfortable, and at time excruciating, but this is where we are called to live.

As this relates to our recent Summit, are there issues that need your obedience? Has the Lord revealed specific details of your life that need change? Have you done a 180° on clear paths God has given? Where you were once committed to repentance and change, the resolve has become fuzzy. Our hearts are notorious for negotiating with conviction and with each passing day resolve to press forward wanes.  If that is where this post has found you, I urge us to press forward in faith and surrender. Walking under the Lordship of Christ is worth it all as we see the exceedingly great value of having a clear conscience before God and others.

Do Not Loiter on Your Heavenly Journey

Last year I was challenged by a friend to read the classic, The Diary & Journal of David Brainerd. Brainerd was born in 1718, in Haddam, Connecticut, and he would die of tuberculosis in Jonathan Edwards’s house at the age of 29 on October 9, 1747. Brainerd would give his life’s work as a missionary to the Indians which was a legacy of fruitful ministry. In this incredible biography of which chronicled the unbelievable hardship in Brainerd’s life, nevertheless, held high Brainerd’s resolve to obey the Lord Jesus Christ. Brainerd wrote, “When I really enjoy God, I feel my desires of him the more insatiable, and my thirstings after holiness the more unquenchable . . . Oh, for holiness! Oh, for more of God in my soul!. Oh, that I might not loiter on my heavenly journey.”

Who thinks that way today?

I hope we will as we resolve not to loiter on our heavenly journey.

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