I cannot take credit for the â€œcleverâ€ title spelling of this devotional; itâ€™s the name of a Christian music group. However, my pastor reminded me of the story of Naaman during a sermon as he was preaching on obedience. To refresh our memories about Naaman we turn to the Old Testament account:
â€œSo he went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.â€ (2 Kings 5:14)
If youâ€™re not familiar with this passage you may be thinking that Naaman was an obedient man. Actually he was a stubborn and proud army commander who thought he was too good to dunk himself seven times in the Jordan River as the Prophet Elisha had instructed. Naaman was furious with Elisha and wanted the prophet to put his hands on Naaman and call on God to heal him. It took his servants to come to him and remind him of his prideful ways to finally get Naaman to obey.
Pride is lethal. It is the root of all sin because we want to live life according to our own rules and whims. God has giving us basic instructions before leaving earth (the Bible) on how to live and we want to go it alone. We only call out to God when we want Him to perform some great miracle to get us out of the mess weâ€™ve caused.
The devilâ€™s lie is that becoming a Christian means living a boring life of many restrictions and basically becoming a robot. The devil knows better than that and he tries to keep lost people from ever reading the truth. Obeying God means a life of great blessing and wisdom:
â€œNow therefore, listen to me, my children, for blessed are those who keep my ways. Hear instruction and be wise, and do not disdain it.â€ (Proverbs 8:32-33)
It is a difficult thing to submit to anyone or anything. We want to be in total control and live fabulous lives. The problem is when we rebel against God we are actually living out of control lives rooted in fantasy and foolishness. Understanding Godâ€™s call upon our lives is nothing complex or cryptic; it is actually quite simple: obey and be blessed; disobey and be cursed.
You may be wondering how something can be difficult and yet simple. Simplicity does not mean ease; rarely is something biblically simple easy to do. Why is that? It is because we are by nature rebellious and do not want to submit to authority.
This is where faith comes in; we have to trust that Godâ€™s Word is sure. Sometimes simple seems too easy and hard to believe. The devil will try to convince you that you could never be forgiven by God for all the bad things youâ€™ve done. As is usually the case with Satan, he is partially right. You alone cannot be forgiven for all the sins youâ€™ve committed.
When we read the Bible and understand that God has provided a way to forgiveness of our sins by trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ, we learn that we can be forgiven and rescued from eternal damnation. It is our trusting in Jesus, trusting in His Word, and submitting to Christ that we take our first step of obedience:
â€œTherefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.â€ (Romans 4:16)
I am convinced that unlike Naaman most people are more willing to dunk themselves seven times down in a river to receive healing than they are to simply trust and obey. We are such a works-oriented people, requiring some act of contrition and conciliation to be made right. We do so because that is how we deal with most people.
Freely giving mercy to someone when they deserve punishment is what we commonly avoid in our personal relationships. We repulse at the thought of giving someone something they do not deserve. We do so because we take our personal mercy for granted and hoard the grace we have received.
Jesus paid the price for our sins. You donâ€™t have to dunk yourself seven times down in a river to be cleansed. You just have to admit that you are a sinner, believe that Jesus died for your sins, rose from the dead and that you trust in him alone for your salvation, committing your life to his service. Lastly, confess your sins and ask for forgiveness.
I pray youâ€™ll do so right now.
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Copyright Â© 2015 David Jeffers