Knowledge and Obedience

“If you want to kill any idea in the world, get a committee working on it.” – Charles Kettering
(BrainyQuote)

The word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is ululate, which means, “howl, wail.”

Today is World Oceans Day. I’m a big fan of the oceans. I love sitting on a beach (under an umbrella, of course), watching and listening to the ocean. It’s one of the most relaxing things I have ever experienced.

The first day back at work was busy, but went okay. C’s day was pretty good, and she didn’t have a lot of stress because everyone was being really nice to her. Why can’t it always be that way, right? Anyway, there isn’t much else going on. It’s Wednesday, the midway point of the week. Except for me, since I have jury duty on Friday, I only have to work one more day this week, after today. I just have to make sure I don’t forget and go to work, Friday.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me.
In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted.
When I remember God, I moan; when I meditate, my spirit faints. Selah.
You hold my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
I consider the days of old, the years long ago.
I said, “Let me remember my song in the night; let me meditate in my heart.” Then my spirit made a diligent search:
“Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable?
Has his steadfast love forever ceased? Are his promises at an end for all time?
Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his compassion?” Selah.
Then I said, “I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.”

Psalm 77:1-10

“Any place is the right place to begin prayer.” Truthfully, we have to begin wherever we are. We might be grieving, lonely, uncomfortable, angry, or doubting. “But if we start out feeling sorry for ourselves, we must not be surprised if we end up in a place quite different.”

“I offer you, O Christ, all my unbelieving, unacceptable, and unlovely feelings and thoughts. I will not hide them in a private sulk. Keep me, though, from wallowing in self-pity. Deliver me from despair and doubt, in the name of Jesus, ‘who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin.’ (Hebrews 4:15). Amen.”

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16:11

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

What Next?

If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
John 13:17

Knowledge is important. This is something that Dallas Willard harps on. We have to bring knowledge to people, not just experience. Experience without knowledge is practically useless, shallow. Chambers says we should “Determine to know more than others.”

On the other hand, knowledge without faith is also practically useless. I love to know things. Knowledge has been something that I always strive for. But I know a lot of stuff that really doesn’t matter. I can hold my own in a Trivial Pursuit game. I know a lot about the Bible. But without faith, it doesn’t do me any good. We cannot take knowledge out of the realm of faith.

But that’s not what this reading is supposed to be about. Sorry. This is about where we allow God to take us. We cannot sit in the shallow part of the bay, tied up to the dock, enjoying the calm, still waters, full of delight. We have to “got through the harbour bar into the great deeps of God and begin to know for [ourselves], begin to have spiritual discernment.”

If we become stagnant in our spiritual life, we can almost always point it back to a place where we didn’t do something that we knew God wanted us to do. “It is a dangerous thing to refuse to go on knowing.” We also fall into the trap of counterfeiting obedience by sacrifice. We think that if we go out and do something that is a sacrifice, or give up something that we really like, then we have fulfilled our obligation. But what does God say? “To obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Samuel 15:22).

Father, help me listen better. I’m really good at knowing. But many times, I’m not good at listening and obeying. Teach me your ways, that I may walk in your truth. I want to get to that place where I don’t have to think about whether what I am doing is your will. I want to be at that place where everything I do, automatically, is your will. I want to walk with you in obedience to Christ.

Come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

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