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.

The Angel of the Lord (by, Hillsong)

The Lord’s my Shepherd, I have everything I need.
Mercy and love follow me.

Though I walk through the dark valley of death, I will
Not be afraid for He’s here.

The Lord’s my refuge, no evil can come near me,
Dwelling in His secret place.

I put my trust in Him, He is my shield, I will
Let His peace rule in my heart.

Surely, the Angel of the Lord is around me.
I have no cause to fear, my God will not forsake me.
I am my Father’s child, no enemy can touch me.
I will not die but live, to tell what He has done.

He has ransomed me, He gave me all authority,
Power, love and a sound mind.

Strong in the Lord and the power of His might, I will
Put on His armour and stand.

This song has been on my mind. I’ve loved it for years, because it celebrates all we can do as we follow Christ. It is perfect for declaring when life throws you a rough situation (like, right now, for us). I’m pulling it apart, phrase for phrase, singing it, & believing it. Some things you gotta speak until they are rooted in the soil of the core of your being.

Another great one we’ve been singing around our house lately is (a ‘lil more juvenile! But still, great words), “He’s got the whole world in His hands”.  It always makes me think of Gramma Janis who sings it to our precious ones. You can just sing that song for days, filling in the blank with whatever your mind is on.

He’s got ________________in His hands (x3)

He’s got the whole world in his hands.

So, what’s your mind been on? Comment! Gimme some love. Name a thing or two that you could write in that blank today.

Choosing today…to trust

Today I’m choosing to trust in a God who orders my steps before I get there to take them…and who blesses his children no matter where they go if they’re desire is to follow Him. My God promises to provide for me no matter what, and cares more for me than I could ever know.

Today I’m choosing to trust in more than a paycheck or steady income. More than my own strength. More than a well-intentioned government. More than husband, and more than myself. More in my heavenly Father than in man. And it’s a good feeling.

chelan

Forget Not – a song about peace and acceptance from God, our Father

Forget Not

by, Chelan Rene’ Russ

4 / ‘07

Intro:

God’s love is a love that, if seen & felt & experienced, we have no other option but to reciprocate. No other choice but to surrender. And when life hits us hard, we must choose to think about every thing, big & small, he has done for us. And every promise in his Word- for if we’re His children, we can stand on those unwavering promises.

As I write this, the image of trust that comes to my mind is when you put all of your body weight on someone else. When I was dating my husband & we were both 20, we were walking in a field of yellow, waist- high grass. He suggested this game we play, where he stood behind me and told me when to fall backwards. He’d have to distance himself right, and I’d have to trust that I’d fall perfectly into his strong arms. Well, I trusted him, & to this day I don’t remember what went wrong, but one thing i do recall clearly, is that fear-drenched second when I realized he stood too far back…& then ~ s m a c k ~ my butt cleared the grass & landed on some deceitfully hard ground. He felt pretty bad for bruising my tail bone. But that’s typical of what can happen when we trust man, or ourselves. When disappointment hits, the only sure thing we have is God’s love.

Inspirations:

Is. 62:4 ~ Your new name will be “the City of God’s Delight” and the Bride of God, for the Lord delights in you and will claim you as his own.

Zephania 3:17 ~ The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.

Psalm 103:2-5 ~ Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits-who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

~~~

I will forget not all of thy benefits

I will forget not all of thy benefit

I will forget not just how much you love me

I will forget not...how you delight in me

(Key change, building…)

I know you delight in me

(And I) hear you sing over me

(Abba Father)... you delight in me

I hear you sing over me (I’m your child)

I know you delight in me

I hear you sing over me

(Abba Father)... you delight in me

I hear you sing over me (I’m your child)

(Key change, building…)

Know that I delight in you, too

Receive my praises to your throne (x3)

Know that I delight in you

Rec’v my praises

::

(Repeat Verse 1 ... basic acoustic, slower)


How you delight in me

Optional adlib vamp:

You still delight in me; after all I’ve done

You still delight in me; in spite of my self image

You still delight in me; in spite of how others view me

You still delight in me; your love is proven over & over again

~~~

shoes off, pt.2

in ancient times, people took their shoes off as a display of humility or selflessness.

pastor allen rigg of calvary austin spoke about this in a massage like 9 months ago, & it really stuck. he gave many examples, but i have a few of my own:

 “shoes-off”:

  • you’re running late, but you let another driver in front of you
  • you go out of your way to spend your last $3. at starbucks – for a tired friend
  • you say you’re sorry and actually ask for forgiveness

 “shoes-on”:

  • you write in a comment card at a restaurant, to tell managers about your crappy service (for the waiter’s own good, of course)
  • you disregard your commitment to your family so you can feel the fleeting confidence boost from flirting with a coworker
  • you find a way to revolve most conversations around you and your interests

***~~~~~~~~~~~~***~~~~~~~~~~~~***~~~~~~~~~~~

remove the shoes. remove the barrier. remove all pretences. relax. it’s a way of saying you can be who you  are in front of someone…toss the film & filth aside, say in a humble way, “here they are-  my nasty, calloused, rancid smellin’ feet!” or better yet, “could you rinse off, disinfect,  soften the hardest, dirtiest parts of me… separate me from the silt & sludge of this  world”.  ok, guess that means i’ve come full circle, back to reason 1 – getting  clean. 

Jesus washed his disciples’ feet, so, each one had to take his shoes off first, right? he even scrubbed & wiped the sweaty grime from the feet of the man who he knew would commit treason against him that very day, resulting in his brutal murder.

it’s been embarrassing, even downright shameful for me to be barefoot (literally and symbolically), but that’s ok. taking that step can mean letting go of the crud, but at the same time embracing how i was made – i’m his disciple too, reluctantly letting even Jesus serve me & wash me clean.

~ how does one do that? ~

~ what’s something you’ve done this week that was “shoes-on” ~

well, c’mon, let me hear ya!

real-ationship

i was just thinking and thanking today – about how God wants to have a “down to earth” relationship with me. He created each of us to have a one-on-one intimate friendship, where we talk, back and forth. where we appreciate each others’ abilities and what sets us apart from everyone else. where our closeness leaves no room for pretense. where trust is the ripe fruit born of the tree of unconditional love.

i’m so glad that i don’t have to fake it with Him. even if i tried, he’d see right through my facade & call my bluff. i was worshiping today and i couldn’t stop the tears from dripping down my cheeks, darkening my satin blouse. i knew my mascara was messed up, my head felt like the woman’s from that nyquil commercial (trying to get over a cold) & i looked like i lacked 5 hrs of sleep, despite my hurried efforts to ‘paint the barn’. but when i got in the car with family waiting, at least my braylon said, “mommy, you look beautiful! your face does, but i like your hair when it’s down …and your shirt is so pretty. the sleeves go poofy out and then in & then out again like a princess.”  i don’t know if he was prompted to say any of that by another thoughtful guy…but i don’t care. it got the job done.

not long ago i messed up by not censoring (or even praying before i wrote & sent) an email to someone who barely knows me. how stupid was i. now this man’s judgment is clouded by my brutal unsolicited honesty and i’m sure he thinks of me as this or that…but you know, after apologizing, i just had to resign to the fact that i am who i am.

i look like this. i act like that. God, you deal with it, the good, bad & ugly. it doesn’t matter! look at me, naked in the noonday sun. i was made by you & for you…so give it to me straight. what needs changin’. what i think of myself means so little. what others think about me means even less. what solomon wrote in ecclesiastes is true…oh, and in the song, bohemian rhapsody…nothing really matters.

nothing… except a real relationship with my Creator. what he thinks of me is what matters. i can walk with him and talk with him and he tells me i am his own. Genesis 3:8 says, “And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden, in the cool of the day:” oh, to be back in the Garden.

…but what so astounds me is that i can have closeness with him right here & right now… he wants it, like a loving father wants closeness with his child, interested in every aspect & accepting regardless of flaws.

i am amazed and humbled.

as certain as death and texas

with hurricane ike’s death toll reaching 51 as of this morning, this great state of texas has been pulling together to help those who’ve survived. my church, calvary austin, put a team together & traveled to calvary houston which along with most of houston, is on its 5th day without power. this is the most current article i’ve found, written about hurricane ike, if you’re more detail-oriented.

here in austin, 300 miles inland, we were safe and warm. disconnected. only felt a brief wind. and it’s back to normal now. normal, disconnected, apathetic, comfortable, enjoyable. yet there’s a lingering sorrow.

there are so many i’m sure, who’ve discovered that a relative or friend is now dead. they may be wondering where that person is now. if they’re in a ‘better place’…or a worse; if there is even a heaven or a hell.

but these are some of the most commonly asked questions about heaven & the afterlife:

  • do pets go to heaven?
  • should Christians be cremated?
  • will we be married or have sex in heaven?
  • should we try to contact the dead?
  • can a person who commits suicide go to heaven?
  • will we remember our lives when we’re in heaven?
  • can people in heaven see what’s happening on earth? and the most important question of all,
  • is there more than one way to get to heaven?

well, earlier this week, my husband & i watched a really great video by craig groeschel who’s studied them all in depth. he gives Biblical explanations, references, answers and opinions for each one of them. i hope this video brings clarity to anyone on their spiritual journey to truth.

but before you navigate away, if you’re a praying person, could you agree w/me in this short prayer?

God, forgive those of us who forget so quickly those in need. quicken our hearts to action, giving us the faith needed to step out & use our resources, whatever they may be. show yourself real and your love present in the lives of those who have lost people they care so much about. bring them peace, beyond understanding.

you are still our God, unchanging and trustworthy. and we love you.

(photo taken not in texas, but haiti where the death toll is over 300 after back-to-back storms. read this well-written article about haiti if you can)