“Nevertheless not my will, but thine be done.” —Luke 22:42
In every act of obedience there is a crossroad where a decision must be made to go one way or another way. To obey one must to choose to follow one path and leave another—even if there is nothing bad about the path you are on. Peter, James and John had to leave their honest job as fishermen to obey the Lord.
God may call you to do something (e.g. be a missionary) that would require you to leave a good job. There may be nothing wrong about the job you must leave. Perhaps it is the work of a mechanic, a manager, a nurse, or a banker. However, to obey God, you must leave that respectable job to go to a mission field. To chose your job over going to the mission field would be disobedience.
When God called me to go to Vermont to start a church, I was the assistant Pastor at Open Door Baptist Church. God was blessing my ministry there. Everything was going well and I was financially secure. However, to obey God I had to leave a good place to go to a place I did not know and without any financial security. I obeyed God and left Open Door to go to Vermont. By God’s grace there is a Baptist church in Barton, Vermont today.
Obeying God always requires a decision to leave something and cleave to God’s will. That is the choice Jesus made when He choose to come to this sinful planet and be obedient unto death. He left a sinless environment for a sinful environment. He left streets of gold for streets of filth. He left intimate fellowship with His Father to subject Himself to the scorn of wicked men. He left the joyful praises of angels for angry cries of “Crucify Him.”
Remember, obedience always has a price tag. What is it going to cost you to choose to obey God? As we sing that well known hymn, “Have Thine Own Way Lord, Have Thine own Way,” will you let God have HIS WAY in your life?
This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before… —Philippians 3:13
The great tenor Luciano Pavarotti relates how his father introduced to him the beauty of singing. His father urged him to work hard to develop his voice. Arigo Pola, a professional tenor in Modena, Italy, took Luciano on as a pupil. At the same time Luciano was enrolled in a teacher’s college.
Upon graduation he asked his father, “Shall I be a teacher or a singer?”
His father answered, “Luciano, if you try to sit on two chairs, you will fall between them. For life, you must choose one chair.” Luciano chose to sing.
It took him seven years of study and frustration before he made his first professional appearance. It was another seven years until he reached the Metropolitan Opera.
Pavarotti said, “And now I think whether it’s laying bricks, writing a book—whatever we choose—we should give ourselves to it. Commitment, that’s the key. Choose one chair.”
“Solomon loved the Lord…” —1 Kings 3:3
What you love will determine the choices you make. Our text today says, “Solomon loved the Lord.” Therefore, when God invited Solomon, “Ask what I shall give thee,” Solomon’s choice was for something that would honor God. Solomon could have asked for many things for himself— “long life… riches, the life of [his] enemies” (1 Kings 3:11). But he asked for none of these things. He prayed for wisdom to lead God’s Kingdom and care for God’s people (1 Kings 3:9). Solomon was more concerned about the advancement of God’s work and the welfare of God’s people. These two things should be the driving force behind all our prayers.
The Bible says Solomon’s request “pleased the Lord” (1 Kings 3:10). I wonder how many of our prayers really please the Lord?
The sad thing is, later in Solomon’s life, his love for God waned and he “loved many strange women” (1 Kings 11:1). His love for these heathen women turned his love away from God and lead him to make many unwise choices—having multiple wives, multiplying horses, worship of false gods, etc.
The warning to us is clear: Never leave your first love—Jesus! If you love the world, your choices will be worldly. If you love yourself, your choices will be selfish. If you love God, your choices will honor Him.