Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess. Deuteronomy 5:33
Growing up I was of the opinion that God was something of a spoilsport. I assumed that God was a cosmic police chief issuing a long list of restrictions that impacted my personal freedom. Only as I got to know God did I discover that in fact, I enjoyed the greatest of freedom.
Sure there were boundaries, but I was invited to make my choices over the degree to which I maintained them. In the story of Adam and Eve, we see the scale of God’s generosity. His instruction was clear, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.’ (Genesis 2:16b-17) However, God entrusted the decision entirely to Adam.
God invites us to follow His instructions closely on the basis that they offer us our fullest personal fulfilment. The Bible, from start to finish, offers us clear guidance that will inevitably lead us into a deep and intimate friendship with God. Yet, along the way, there are many distractions and a variety of perspectives which we will confront and need to deal with.
Spiritual formation is learning how to take decisions that ensure we follow Jesus closely rather than become lost in a vast landscape of attractive and competing opportunities.
For me, this journey only became meaningful when I decided to take God at His word and live by his direction. This was in my mid-forties. It involved developing a discipline of resistance to where my natural appetites led me, appetites that present as persuasive arguments. Just as Satan persuaded Adam and Eve, whose decision led to the breach in their intimate relationship with God. (Genesis 3)
Something to Consider: What appetites do you struggle with and which draw you away from God?
An Action to Take: Draw up a list of five key reasons why you want to grow to know God better. What prevents you from achieving these?
A Prayer to Make: ‘Lord, I choose to walk in obedience to all that You have commanded. Help me to identify and resist the many distractions that draw me away from You.'
Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.
Photo by Nathan McBride on Unsplash
Used with Permission