There are many people in the world today who have an image of God as one who wants to make their lives miserable through rules and regulations. Boundaries are seen as an obstacle to true happiness and joy in life.
Even those of us who follow Jesus Christ and call Him our God can succumb to this line of thinking. The Christian life can be an obligation and a chore to endure for some. There is very little or no joy in this common perspective.
Jesus rejects this line of thinking in Luke 6 in the New Testament. He had scores and scores of people following Him day after day. He surely got to know many of them very well and asked the following question during his teaching: “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (verse 46) “Lord” here means owner, boss, the one in charge. It was often a title a servant would give to his master. At the very core of this word’s meaning implies the person speaking it will obey the one it is directed to. In this case, Jesus recognizes that people were calling him “Lord” but not doing what he says.
What does it mean to “do what I say”? Jesus describes this in the next sentence: “I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice.” (verse 47). The person who does what Jesus says is the one who comes to Him, hears His words, and puts His words into practice. All three of these actions must take place before a follower of Jesus Christ can truthfully say that he or she calls Him Lord.
He went on to share an illustration about two men. The first built a house on a rock, creating a strong foundation for the structure. When a flood came, it remained intact. The second man built his house on the ground without a rock foundation. When the flood came, it was destroyed. Jesus said the first man is like the one who obeys Him and the second man is like the man who does not.
As Jesus was sharing with the people, He might have shared His observations with sadness. He knew that it was to their benefit to do what He said. Jesus is not so much interested in what we must do for Him; He is mostly interested in what He wants to do for us.
What is Jesus calling you to do, whether big or small, that you are resisting? Start with what you absolutely know to be the right thing to do and do it well, knowing that you are laying a strong foundation. As you do the right things over and over, God will enable you to do more and do them well. The boundaries you see God raising in your life will become less and less an obstacle for your happiness and more and more a blessing in your life.
William “Carey” Northington of One Master Ministries in Xenia may be contacted at OneMaster.org.