Sunday, January 4, 2009

God Values Relationship

True or False: God values relationship more than obedience.

I have learned, and am still learning, that we can be obedient to most (if not all) of Scripture without it coming from a deep relationship with God.

To attempt obedience without a relationship is not in the will of God.

Would you agree?

10 comments:

Tammie's Thoughts said...

Great sermon and thoughts today! thanks, josh!

Paul Castleman said...

This is a great question! But these two things obedience and relationship are essentially the same thing! For the chief duty of man is to fear God and keep his commands...
What I am saying is, it is extremely difficult to separate the two. They truly go hand in hand. The only thing that I am struggling with on this question is this...obedience to God requires submission to him (Phil 2)...and is relationship like that or is it more like a two-way street? Tell me what you think...great question!

Sherry H. said...

Yes, I would agree. God has always yearned for obedience thru a love relationship. That is what Christ exhibited in His life here on earth. Under the old covenant, I believe, God wanted man to realize that obedience for obedience sake was empty without relationship. Now, we are given an opportunity to show our love for God thru our obedience. True obedience, the kind God desires, I think, only comes out of a relationship of love.

Jeff said...

I don't think I can have one without the other and would even go so far to say no all relationships are the one God wants for us. I have long had an intellectual relationship with God (I know He exists, He is the Creator, etc.) and have been obedient for the most part but it wasn't the relationship and obedience I have come to believe God wanted from me.
Through circumstances that haven't always been pleasant, I have developed a real "heart" relationship with God and feel closer to Him that I ever imagined. I couldn't have this is I wasn't striving for obedience and simple obedience never led me to this incredible feeling and knowledge (that continues to build and grow) of who God really is and how He wants to love me.

Justin said...

Good discussion topic. I am interested in hearing more about what you consider relationship and what you consider obedience.

Josh Ross said...

Tammie,
Thanks for your encouragement.

Paul & Jeff,
They do go hand-in-hand...don't they.
For me, the fear is when obedience becomes legalistic, instead of being birthed from a deep love.

Sherry H,
Thanks for your thoughts. I like your emphasis on love.

Justin,
Quit responding to my questions with questions. :)
Obedience without relationship forces us to slide into legalistic practices which keeps us from living near the heart of God.
Obedience that stems from love and intentionally leads us to the transformation that God desires.

Justin said...

Actually, that was not a question. It was a statement. :)

It seems like it boils down to motivation. Are you submitting to God because you are following a formula to get to heaven? Or are you submitting to God to be in that relationship?

Also, it seems like someone can claim they are in a relationship to God without any type of obedience in their life.

Good discussion.

Josh Ross said...

Justin,
Great point!
We can live in disobedience, yet justify it by claiming a relationship with God.
I've been there!

Suzy Q Daniel said...

Great thought question. I think it's both, but it's a journey to arrive at the level of relationship God really wants to have with us.

Steve Dye said...

Josh -

One of my favorite verses is John 14:23, “Jesus answered him, ‘If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.’” (RSV)

If I understand that correctly, our Father values love and obedience, and if we choose to value love and obedience the same way that He does, a rich, rewarding relationship between Him and us ... which seems to be of great value to Him ... will be the result.