Obeying God As His Child
The definition of girding up your mind is ready to work. We won't always understand why God is calling us to obey Him, but it is so He can do His work in our lives.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again my dear radio friend. How in the world are you? Doin’ alright today? Well of course I wait for you to answer, why not? I know many of you do, even though we’re can’t really hear each other talk back and forth. But our hearts know what we mean, don’t they? You know they do. Now I’m glad to be back with you. This is your good friend Bob Cook.
And we’re looking at 1 Peter, chapter 1. We’ve come now to verse 14. Peter says, “As obedient children…” You see well, this, this is part of, part of a whole group of things that he’s saying under the heading of the word ‘wherefore’. “Because you got such a great salvation and such a great savior in Him, you believe, rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith even the salvation of your souls.”
This is a great salvation that the prophets wondered about, and the angels would like to look into it. But they stand outside only as observers. You and I are the recipients of God’s wonderful grace. “Wherefore,” he says — verse 13 — “Gird up the loins of your mind…” that verse, that verb ‘gird up’ is a verb that’s used when people either went to work or to war. Because the long-flowing garments used in the Bible lands, and Middle East, and many other parts of the world, would hinder anybody who was either going to do any hard work or, or go to battle, or in a hurry to get anywhere.
And they would wrap up the lower part of those flowing garments and tuck them around their, their waist and, and secure them by a girdle or a belt. That’s what he meant, see? So you get ready, get ready for action, that’s what he was saying. Be sober. And he uses a word there which means ‘calm’, ‘cool and collected’, and ‘full of good sense’. “Become cool and collected, and full of good sense, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought to you at the coming of Jesus Christ.”
The reaction, the Bible-based reaction to being saved is to get ready for work for the battle against evil, and to approach the business of living in a calm, cool, collected manner, full of good sense. And keep your eye on Jesus. Now that’s the Bible basis for living in the light of our great salvation. Pretty good stuff isn’t it? Well that’s all review.
Now we come to verse 14. “And,” he says, “as obedient children, not fashioning to yourselves according to the former lusts,” — that’s our word ‘desires’ — “if the former, your former desires in your ignorance. But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy. And all manner of conversation,” — that’s an old English word meaning ‘manner of life’, ‘lifestyle’ — “as obedient children, as obedient children.”
Has it ever struck you that you are indeed God’s child. As, as His child you are to obey Him. Many of us think of our praying and our relationship with God in a sort of a remote way. He’s a grandfatherly somebody up in the sky to whom we talk now and again when we say our prayers. But the relationship is that of child to father. “Our Father which art in heaven,” Jesus said. “When you pray, say ‘Our Father’.” Child to father.
And one of the first lessons that, that a child has to learn in the process of growing up is the lesson of obedience. How early in my own life I was taught this by my own father. And he explained to me one time when I was old enough to understand it. He said, “You know, I don’t always explain what I want when I ask you to do something. But,” he said, “you have to learn to obey because some day obeying quickly may save your life. You get into a dangerous situation and I give you a command; you must learn to obey quickly without arguing because it may indeed save your life.
Well, now that made a lot of sense to me then and still does. This modern generation of course insists that everything be explained so they can argue about it. I but think that many of you old-timers are familiar with the phrase ‘because I said so’. (Laughs) Are you familiar with that phrase, when you said, “Why do I have to do that?”? Well there’s a middle ground, you know. There’s, there’s the oppressive parent that just leans on the child’s ego all the time and gives him or her no chance to be a real person. And you want to avoid that.
But I think I also want to avoid the idea of letting the child make all the decisions and argue about everything else because if you don’t learn obedience, you’re in for some trouble, isn’t it true? “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, which is the first Commandment with promise,” said Paul. As obedient children, you are God’s child and you owe Him obedience, not argument or, or evasive behavior. Or the favorite ploy of the little boy who’s been asked to clean up his room: “In just a minute,” or, “A little later,” or, “After a while.”
“When thou vowest a vow,” the wise man said in Ecclesiastes, “don’t delay paying your vow, don’t delay keeping your word. Why should you die before your time. God has no pleasure in the death of foolish people,” said the wise man. And don’t say before the angel that it was an error. Don’t say, “God, I was just kidding.” “No,” he said, “payest that which thou hast vowed.” You recall that?
See, God wants us to, to be not, not solemn all the time, but serious with Him all the time. We don’t kid around with God, see. He is your Father, and He wants you to, to react to His commands in that light. “Keep thy mouth,” he says, “be not rash with thine mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter anything before God. For God is in heaven and thou upon Earth. Let therefore, let thy words be few. When thou vowest a vow, defer not to pay it. For He hath no pleasure in fools. Pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldst not vow that that should, shouldst vow and not pay. Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin. Neither say thou before the angel, ‘It was an error.’” — I was only kidding. “Wherefore should God be angry at thy voice and destroy the work of thine hands.”
I just looked up that passage in Ecclesiastics 5 so that we could read it for you. God wants me to love Him, but also to respect Him, all right — as obedient children? Now here’s a, here’s a tremendous concept. He said, “Not fashioning yourselves, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance, but as He which hath called you His wholly. So be ye holy in all of your lifestyle.” Now that’s something! See don’t, don’t, don’t schemetize your life according to our old desires. “But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy.”
Now the fact is — now, now here is the thing that, that shakes me up when I realize it. The fact is that I, by my decisions, make up my life. He says, “Fashioning yourselves.” Do we realize this minute that we are in the process of constructing the person that the world will see. What you decide, the attitudes you maintain, are the part of the fashioning, the constructing, the carving, the sculpting, of your whole life and personality. And it’s your and my responsibility — that’s what Peter is saying. Fashioning yourselves. And he uses a word, a word that, that if we translated it literally, is, is ‘schematize’.
‘Molding’ I think, is another concept that would, would fit that word. Molding your lives as obedient children, not molding your lives according to your, your sinful lusts. “epithumia” desire that gets on top of things. Greeks had a word for it, didn’t they? (Laughs) Oh yes. All right, how do I get serious about this?
First, I realize that I’m responsible to God as my Father. Now He loves me, He saves me, He guides me, He protects me, but He is indeed my heavenly Father, and I owe Him absolute obedience, absolute obedience as obedient children. Don’t argue with God, just obey Him. He doesn’t always explain why He does things in your lives. He says, “What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter. God’s hereafter is a very important part of His timing.
So He doesn’t always explain why He’s doing something in your life. As a matter of fact as I look back, many of the times when I was bitterly complaining to God about the way things were going, were exactly the times when He was getting ready to do something very wonderful in my life. With a good deal of embarrassment now I can look back to sometimes specifically where I would be on my knees complaining to God even with tears and saying, “God, why did all of this have to happen? And that very time in my life, He was preparing to do something very wonderful, and it opened up shortly thereafter.
And then with embarrassment and shame I’d have to say, “Lord, forgive me for complaining.” So, He’s your Father and you owe Him obedience. He don’t always have to explain what He’s doing. But He wants you to obey so that He can do what He wants to do in your life. Disobedience short circuits the flow of Divine Power in your life. God is the same, and His promises are the same. But you have pulled the switch, and the power doesn’t flow any longer.
Now, the second concept then that we came on here is that you and I are actually sculpting, we’re fashioning, we’re molding our destiny by what we do day-by-day in the matter of obeying God. You want to become a better person? Start obeying. Because what you do as in obedience to God is part of the work of fashioning your life that you are responsible for. Not fashioning yourselves, not sculpting yourselves according to desires — ‘what I want’ — but according to the will of God. Well we’ll finish this up the next time we get together.
Father, God, today help us to obey thee so that we can fashion a life that honors thee, in Jesus name. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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