November 29, Sunday

REPOST Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, prepared by Pastor Jason Sato who is currently serving in Japan as a missionary, was first posted on November 8, 2014. Jason is a graduate of University of California, San Diego (BS) and Westminster Theological Seminary (M.Div.). 

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend 

“Freedom and Rewards that Come from Submission to God”

Proverbs 4:10-14

Hear, my son, and accept my words, that the years of your life may be many.[11] I have taught you the way of wisdom; I have led you in the paths of uprightness.[12] When you walk, your step will not be hampered, and if you run, you will not stumble.[13] Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life. [14] Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of the evil.

“Hear!  Accept!  Keep hold!  Do not let go!  Guard!”  Throughout our passage, the author is pleading with his son; he is looking out for his good.  

We too have been taught wisdom and led towards paths of righteousness, yet it’s still so easy to decide that sin and death are much better options for us, undoubtedly because they appeal to our flesh.  Subsequently, God’s commandments seem more like arbitrary rules than the path to life; his wisdom seems like slavery rather than freedom.  But we know this is not true!

When I stop to actually consider what my own life would be like if I had gone my own way and followed my own whims, I’m filled with gratitude.  I know I would not have my family, my calling, and so many other blessings that I now enjoy.  Instead, I would be trapped in anger and depression, and beset by ruined relationships.

Knowing this compels me to warn my own son who, at times, wants to run into the street by himself or eat only goldfish for dinner; therefore, I impose restrictions and guidelines.  I hope that, as my children grow older, they’ll understand that there is no freedom in being dead; there’s no joy in self-inflicted suffering.

Yet I still struggle with it myself.  I find myself preferring the “freedom” to walk hampered steps, to stumble rather than run, and to choose death over life.  My “freedom” does not leave me free to enjoy God or love my family sacrificially.  It doesn’t free me from fear or anxiety.  It only frees me to sink further into sin and its consequences.

Jesus tells us, “Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matt. 16:25).  While it may appear that we are giving away our freedom and our very lives, only when we abandon everything and follow Jesus will we have the abundant life that we are seeking.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we pray that You would give us the glorious freedom of obeying You immediately and completely, knowing You will take care of us and reward us with life itself.  Thank you, God.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: 1 Corinthians 16

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