God and Obligation

Jesse Birkey's picture

The gray sky showed no sign of giving up the onslaught of rain.  I shoved my hands in my pockets as I ambled towards the store.  It’d been days and the clouds still hid the sun like a bully.  Maybe this is how the Great Flood started out…maybe that’s a bit dramatic.  

 

Nevertheless, I was thinking about how the rainy season is not supposed to be in September when I noticed a man squatting against a rough wall.  He was taking slow drags on a cigarette that was half spent and clearly lost inside his own head.

 

That’s him!

 

I straightened.  The voice was soft and gentle yet sure and steadfast.  You want me to talk to that guy?

 

Yes, what do you see?

 

I looked at the man only a moment before I saw water cascading down his body from a waterfall hovering over his head.

 

I want you to tell him what you see and then I’ll give you the rest of the message.

 

Well okay then.  I slightly altered my direction until I was standing in front of him.  “Hey how’s it going?  My name is Jesse.”

 

He stood quickly to shake my extended hand.  “Hey,” was all he offered.

 

“Sometimes I feel that the Lord lays things on my heart for others.  Would it be okay if I shared what I feel He has for you?”

 

His eyes darted to the left and right a few times.  Maybe looking for someone to save him from the crazy guy.  “Uh, yeah…sure.”

 

As I told him about the waterfall his eyes grew wide.  As I relayed the message God gave me about how the waterfall is His goodness flowing on him, the skeptical look was replaced by wonder and reflected that something deep inside of him was being touched, washed even.  I told him that the water wouldn’t stop flowing over him because God’s goodness, the source, is infinite.

 

I told him everything that God gave me.  Then I gave his shoulder a squeeze and said, “God loves you, so much more than you know.”

 

“Thank you,” he stammered.  “Thank you so much.”

 

****

 

I was reading through Romans 4 the other day when I read this:

 

“But to a laborer, his wages are not counted as a favor or a gift, but as an obligation (something owed to him).”  --Romans 4:4 AMP

 

Paul’s words here reminded me of the story above.  Not so much the content of the story but of the attitude or motivation behind it.  Why do we get ourselves involved in things like talking and praying with strangers?  Why do we minister at all?

 

The answers to that question vary but I’d like to point out something that should have no bearing on our answer whatsoever:  Obligation.

 

I think that many times we feel obligated to do for God.  He died for us so we must meet certain criteria.  He fulfilled his end of the agreement so we must fulfill ours.  We tend to view our relationship with God in contract terms, like the laborer and wages Paul spoke of above.

 

But Jesus never presented his followers with a contract to sign.  Instead he took every opportunity to invite them to share in his life.  He invited them into covenant and he invites us into the same. 

 

Covenant is two lives becoming one.  To share in someone’s life we invest in them because we love them.  We care about what they care about.  We love what they love.  We sacrifice for them and lift them up.  When we do for them it’s not because we are obligated by the terms of a contract.  It’s because we love them and we are compelled by that love. 

 

God is not our employer.  The option for a contract relationship never has existed with God.  It was, and will never be, on the table.  We have been given one option and that is covenant.  He has completely invested in our lives and asks us to do the same. 

 

So when we reach out to others or minister in whatever way we feel led, we are not doing it for him out of obligation to an employer.  We are doing it with Him as a co-laborer (1 Cor. 3:9).  We are doing it because we are compelled by the love we have for him and the deep desire to share in his life as he shares in ours. 

 

So, as Paul says, let us exult and rejoice in our hope of experiencing and enjoying the glory of God (Rom. 5:2).  That isn’t possible when we feel obligated but it’s impossible NOT to live Paul’s words when we are compelled by love that comes with sharing in the life of Jesus.

 

Obligation is religion.  Covenant is love.  It is life.  It is all God has offered.  All of the promises of God find their “Yes” in Jesus (2 Cor. 1:20).  Let’s share in his life!

 

Blessings,

 

Jesse and Kara Birkey

 

www.jessebirkey.com

[email protected]

twitter.com/JesseBirkey

http://www.facebook.com/jesse.birkey

http://www.amazon.com/author/jessebirkey

 

Jesse and Kara Birkey are committed lovers of Jesus who seek to show others the extraordinary life of Jesus is available for everyone.  They have authored two books, been featured in films and seek to serve the Lord in whatever ways they can.  Follow their blog here.    

 

Bring Jesse and Kara to your venue.  Find more information here.

 

Life Resurrected, Extraordinary Miracles through Ordinary People has been endorsed by Sid Roth and Mark Virkler and is a collection of inspiring stories making it clear that the extraordinary life of Jesus is available to all who love Him.  It’s also the testimony of Jesse’s life, the road he travelled bringing him into the arms of Jesus. Get the paperback here.  Get the Kindle Version Here. View the trailer here.    

 

Marriage What’s the Point? One couple finds meaning in a crazy mess is the story of their marriage—The tragedy and the restoration.  They bear their hearts in an attempt to get others to bear theirs and finally receive the freedom they’ve longed for.  Get the paperback here.  Get the Kindle Version Here.

 

Jesse is also featured in the film DeadRaiser, a movie shining the spotlight on resurrection testimonies across the nation.  Find more information here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice

4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice

by Mark and Patti Virkler | 305 Pages

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Have you ever wished you could just sit down and have a long talk with the Lord? Wouldn't it be wonderful to move beyond having a theology that states that God loves you to actually hearing Him whisper words of love into your heart? When you're worried or confused, wouldn't you love to see the situation from His perspective and hear how He wants you to respond?


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4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice (hard cover)

by Mark and Patti Virkler | 305 Pages

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For the first time EVER! Hardcover copies of 4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice. This is a magnificent, beautiful gift to give for any occasion. Retailing at $24.95, you can purchase it through our website at only $15.00! Bless people with the gift of spiritual intimacy with the Lord Jesus Christ. Get a souvenir copy for yourself. Only 600 copies produced, so order while supplies last!

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4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice Audio CD Package

4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice Audio CD Package

By Mark Virkler | 4 Keys book | 10 hours of CDs | LEARN notebook

Until August 26th, Get 25% Off:

Or 50% off the School of the Spirit e-learning module!

Have you ever wished you could just sit down and have a long talk with the Lord? Wouldn't it be wonderful to move beyond having a theology that states that God loves you to actually hearing Him whisper words of love into your heart? When you're worried or confused, wouldn't you love to see the situation from His perspective and hear how He wants you to respond?

Price: $$59.00
4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice DVD Package

4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice DVD Package

By Mark Virkler | 4 Keys book | 10 hours of DVDs | LEARN notebook

Until August 26th, Get 25% Off:

Or 50% off the School of the Spirit e-learning module!

Have you ever wished you could just sit down and have a long talk with the Lord? Wouldn't it be wonderful to move beyond having a theology that states that God loves you to actually hearing Him whisper words of love into your heart? When you're worried or confused, wouldn't you love to see the situation from His perspective and hear how He wants you to respond? When things don't seem to be going your way and your prayers aren't answered the way you had hoped, wouldn't it be great to hear Him tell you where He is in the midst of it, and what He is working out in your life? Are you ever just a little bit jealous of others who say with such confidence, "The Lord said...."?

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Dialogue with God

by Mark and Patti Virkler | 296 Pages

This top seller for 30 years from Bridge Logos provides a narrative, right-brain presentation of the principles of how to hear God's voice. Especially enjoyable for personal use, it makes a great gift for introducing a loved one to the voice of God. This book teaches the four keys to hearing God's voice in readable style, and also devotes two entire chapters to moving samples of people's journaling (i.e. their two-way dialogue with God).

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Hear God's Voice Guaranteed Package

Hear God's Voice Guaranteed Package

9 Books, 10 CDs, 10 DVDs now at a $30+ savings

Until August 26th, Get 25% Off:

Or 50% off the School of the Spirit e-learning module!

Have you ever wished you could just sit down and have a long talk with the Lord? Wouldn't it be wonderful to move beyond having a theology that states that God loves you to actually hearing Him whisper words of love into your heart? When you're worried or confused, wouldn't you love to see the situation from His perspective and hear how He wants you to respond? When things don't seem to be going your way and your prayers aren't answered the way you had hoped, wouldn't it be great to hear Him tell you where He is in the midst of it, and what He is working out in your life? Are you ever just a little bit jealous of others who say with such confidence, "The Lord said...."?

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How to Hear God's Voice

by Mark and Patti Virkler | 317 Pages

We recommend that you order the newest revision of this book titled 4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice. It includes 95% of the content of How to Hear God's Voice but is reorganized so it fits perfectly with the 10 DVDs on this subject by Mark Virkler. In addition, it gets you started using the four keys earlier in the book and gives you more journaling samples and exercises. Since we have removed the large margins, it is a smaller and less expensive book.

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LEARN 4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice Notebook

LEARN 4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice

by Mark and Patti Virkler

This 49-page Life Enrichment And Review Notebook (previously called a "Seminar Guide") is designed to go along with the CD/ DVD series and/or PowerPoint presentation. If receiving training in a group, we highly recommend that EVERY member of the group have their own copy. It offers you the following four benefits:

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Prayers That Heal the Heart

Prayers That Heal the Heart

by Mark and Patti Virkler | 320 Pages

Prayer counseling that breaks every yoke! Everything you need to experience deep healing of your soul and spirit.

Did you know that you don’t need to be continually plagued by negative thoughts, feelings, pictures or memories?

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Counseled by God

by Mark and Patti Virkler | 146 Pages

Have you ever been defeated by negative emotions such as anger, fear, guilt, inferiority, condemnation or depression? Have you tried to fight them off unsuccessfully? Is there an answer that is deeper than simply trying to mentally reason yourself out of these emotions? Is there a way that Jesus can speak a word of life into the depths of your emotional despair and bring healing on a deep level? Is there a form of Christian counseling that begins and ends with the movement of Christ within your heart, rather than simply with the words of man?

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