Monday, January 23, 2012

"I Get To!"

When the will of God is recognized and affirmed as "I get to" rather than "I have to," life becomes life.

"Make me to go in the path of Thy commandments; for therein do I delight" (Psalm 119:35).

This truth often appears and feels contrary to our inclinations. The desires of our flesh lust against the working of the Holy Spirit within us "to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Galatians 5:17; Philippians 2:13). Our thoughts, emotions and physical sensations often seem to guide us down a slippery rail of descent into unbelief and disobedience. Conversely, faith and obedience to God seem to loom over us as a summit too high to ascend. "I get to" feels far more related to the works of the flesh, and "I have to" far more the challenge of walking in the Spirit.

Herein lies one of the important and elemental aspects of Truth for every believer. What is our deepest and truest desire? What is our "I get to?" The Bible definitively answers the question in the words and experience of the Psalmist (referenced above), and the Apostle Paul: "With the mind, I myself serve the law of God... I delight in the law of God after the inward man" (Romans 7:22; 25). The Psalmist, of course, had a limited experience of this truth because he did not possess the permanently indwelling Holy Spirit given to believers after the atoning work and resurrection of Christ. He nevertheless experienced a partial blessedness of delight available even to the saints of the Old Testament who knew God.

Paul, however, knew in far greater measure the truth every born again believer must realize, namely, that the dynamic presence of the Holy Spirit in us infuses the very delight of the Lord Jesus for obedience to God as our delight. Again, "He worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure." Do we believe this truth of God's heart-changing presence, purchased for us at so great a cost? Is God really that near, that active, that motivating, and that gracious to provide such internal grace? No reading of the New Testament can provide any answer than an emphatic "Yes!" Thus, "I get to " must become the first response to the will of God, be it the seemingly small matters of the day, or if God should will, the martyr's pyre.

Of the martyrs, all, if they could speak to us, would emphatically confess that their dedication and devotion did not empower the sacrifice of their lives for the glory of the Lord Jesus. No, the martyr's crown will doubtless one day be cast at the feet of the Savior no less than any other. Because as a free gift of grace, God worked in the martyrs of the church to view their sacrifice as "I get to." Indeed, they knew and believed in the power of delight, Christ's delight, moving within the depths of their being to enable the giving of their lives for their Lord's honor. May we do the same, viewing every command of the Word of God, and every God-ordained responsibility of life, according to the grace of "I get to!"

"When they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name."
(Acts 5:40-41)

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