Did Jesus Ever Feel Obligated to Do Anything?

How do you feel when there is a sense of obligation tied to plans you have? Rarely is the word obligation associated with a positive sense of responsibility, although that is clearly one of its definitions. But I’d guess 96% of the time, when you feel obligated to make or keep plans, go somewhere or do something, instead of a right sense of duty and just weight you are honored to carry, there is a sense of… “I wish there was a way to get out of this.”  When telling others about these plans, you use words like “have to” “need to” or “should”.

I was processing this while on a walk a few days ago, and I began to compare this way of thinking to how Jesus would have thought.

I find myself doing that the more I study Him.

So the resounding question in my mind became, “would Jesus have ever felt obligated to do anything?” And I may be wrong, but I can’t see it happening his whole life long, according to the accounts of Mark, Luke, Matthew and His closest friend, John. Well, up until the night before He was crucified when he said “O my Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”  But in many accounts, He didn’t even finish his sentence before adding:  yet not my will, but Yours be done.

In adding that last part, he was essentially saying He had a will to survive (like every human being innately has), but He had another will – one greater: He wanted the Father’s will – even if that meant suffering. Even torture on a cross.

Because Jesus declared his own will to match his Father’s, the only sense of obligation I see in his life – even in the angst-filled hours in the garden, was in a just and right and responsible sense – a heavy weight He was honored to carry and carry through to completion. This obligation – in the right, just, responsible sense, actually refers to Him being bound.

Bound?! Jesus? The very embodiment of freedom?

Yes. Because He is Truth. You’ve heard the saying “My word is my bond” – well, the only human being who can say that and mean it is Jesus. He is bound by His own word. But His word is the only thing that could or did ever bind him.

He may be persuaded to change the course of a circumstance because of faith put on display, but He is not a man that He should lie.  He speaks peace or order over a thing, and it follows His command – from eyes to wind. Light to death. His words are power. He fulfilled every single prophecy spoken about Him from the beginning of creation.  Like it states in the first definition above, He is “legally bound” – or obligated – to complete, fulfill, follow through on his own word.

This should make us, his followers, sigh the biggest sigh of relief and rest peacefully every night, knowing and believing His promises will come to pass for us as a people – and as His individual friends.

In pretty much every other sense of the word, I think it is safe to say He never felt obligated to do anything.  We can also sigh in relief knowing we never have to feel obligated to do anything either! No wonder the feeling we get when we cancel plans we’ve been dreading is the feeling of freedom! Here’s why:

Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing.  The time He’d spend with the Father created a bond between them that afforded Him security, power, authority, and reassurance of His identity. If you continually walked in these things, would you ever feel obligated to do anything? Not in the negative sense. That kind infers bondage.

For if there is something we ought to do, the Holy Spirit will speak to us saying so, and cause a stirring in our heart to desire it because He desires it.  Now, the enemy may attempt to make us believe a lie and feel terrible or feel responsible for things we ought not. But let’s train our spiritual ears to hear our Shepherd’s voice. Let’s reject the imposter’s voice that would have us take on more than we should, resulting in heaviness, stress, co-dependency and more. That is not part of the abundant life He has. We are safe when we can pinpoint and embrace with confidence the things the Lord is telling us to commit to (and to let go of those things he is saying to let go of – to free yourself of the responsibility of – without feeling guilt or shame).

Our response of YES to his invitation, because of the bond we’ve created with Him over time, means, I WANT to do it – because YOU want me to, Abba Father.  Hmm… Sounds familiar. Kinda like, “…not my will, but YOURS be done.” This matching of the mortal will to the Father’s can only happen safe inside a deep-rooted, trust-filled relationship. Oh that we could all experience that!

One of my favorite lyrics by Hillsong United is, “Break my heart for what breaks Yours. Everything I am, for your Kingdom’s cause.” It shares this same sentiment.

This is my prayer – that my heart would break with His, and rejoice along with His. So that every action I take – every reaction I make throughout my days would come from a place of total trust and resulting obedience. And like Jesus, may my only sense of obligation – the only way I am bound – be to my word.

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Missed

image1 (1)

One missed opportunity
One more way I wasn’t used
Another one I could have blessed
I feel worthless and accused

But I listen closer
And a fainter voice is clear
Reminding me of steadfast love
And knowledge of my fear

Of far reaching power
And of further reaching grace
I forgive myself and look
Into his eyes, and weathered face

I am a priest, a holy saint
Made just and purified
As dawn breaks through, then I will too
Holy Spirit fortified

Chains of Shame – a song about human trafficking

The words of this song were written through the eyes of a (fictional) 16 yr old girl from Russia. A nameless girl who was tricked into travelling to America, “the land of the free and the brave”, for a better job & life, yet fell victim to the 2nd fastest growing industry in the world, human trafficking. These are the thoughts I imagined her to think after nearly 3 yrs, held & forced into a life of survival sex, by one man and his organized ring of traffickers, pimps and buyers of children.

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It’s in 3/4 time (a waltz). The verses’ tune is soft, w/a heavier evanescence-feel on the chorus & tag.

Chains of Shame

if God can forget all the chiefest of sins, surely He has forgotten my kind

i think it’s been 33 months since my innocence, but i’ve lost all sense of time


dreams, aspirations, love, education, plans for a future and hope

like my body, they’re stripped of their meaning; beaten, now bleeding, almost a joke


how.. could.. i be… so stupid?!
i cant believe who i’ve become since i believed him

theres.. no… way out now!!
out of this darkness, out of these chains…of shame

chains of shame


bought until worthless, diseased and addicted; who in their right mind would care

to free the (underground) oppressed, cover this nakedness, and offer poor wanderers rest
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who in their right mind would really stand up to such powerful people now a’days?

if i could still dream, i’d sit by a clear stream and smile as they lock him away
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(Chorus)
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tag:
нарушите эти цепи позора (pronounced: “lou-doo-shut-slites-itz. shay-pee-pah-zorah” meaning, “break these chains of shame” – in Russian)
break these chains of shame (x2)
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ending:
I turned 16 years old last week
I turned 23 tricks on my birthday
I turned from bitter…to numb. I’m so bound
Tell me, how will this all turn around?
tag:
Can you help me break these chains (x2)
Will you help me break these chains (x4)
These chains of shame

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Inspirations:

http://SCTNow.org

***
Is.1:17-18 Learn to do good.
Seek justice.
Help the oppressed.
Defend the cause of orphans.
Fight for the rights of widows.
“Come now, let’s settle this,”
says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
I will make them as white as snow.

***
Matt. 25:37-40 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

***
Is. 58:6-11
6 “No, this is the kind of fasting I want:
Free those who are wrongly imprisoned;
lighten the burden of those who work for you.
Let the oppressed go free,
and remove the chains that bind people.
7 Share your food with the hungry,
and give shelter to the homeless.
Give clothes to those who need them,
and do not hide from relatives who need your help.
8 “Then your salvation will come like the dawn,
and your wounds will quickly heal.
Your godliness will lead you forward,
and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind.
9 Then when you call, the Lord will answer.
‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.
“Remove the heavy yoke of oppression.
Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors!
10 Feed the hungry,
and help those in trouble.
Then your light will shine out from the darkness,
and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.
11 The Lord will guide you continually,
giving you water when you are dry
and restoring your strength.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like an ever-flowing spring.


Psalm for Today (You’re Here) ~ a song I wrote for a friend dealing with betrayal

Psalm for Today (You’re Here)


I could have sworn you were right by my side
Prayers uninhibited; I had nothing to hide
Then all this went down
And I looked around,
Nowhere to be found was your presence,
All I need is your presence
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This all began with the one I knew best
Damn disappointment put me straight to the test
Now it’s from all sides
Friends are droppin’ like flies
C’mon, hear my cries for your presence
All I need is your presence!
Pre-chorus:
And I will have all of the strength that I need
To take back what my enemy’s taken from me
Chorus:
(Cause) You’re here; You’ve been here all along
I trust you’ll restore everything that’s gone wrong
You’re here. You’ve been here all along
That’s why I’m gon’ keep on singing my song
Sing the following w/same tempo, but in half-time & acoustic:
Pre-Chorus
Chorus x2
“Singin’ my song” x3

i’ll have religion with a side of guilt, please

last night was good. ricky & i talked and messed around and laughed til like 1am. i got to know him better. i love it when that happens. the next morning’s usually another story, but never told with regret.

we were talking about how God wants to engage with us, in a way. a way foreign to most people. and how people, espec. those like us who grew up in church w/the flanelboard Jesus stories, we don’t really get it. but i think i got a sliver more of it yesterday, if i could share: God isn’t cool with the whole pyramid analogy ~ Jesus 1st, others 2nd, & you last (“J.O.Y.”), a concept i always thought was so noble & humble & tried to achieve, but never could.

He’s not impressed when i goal myself to spend the 1st 20 minutes with him every day for the next week, before anything else. he may smile, but what he really wants Continue reading