Go read Philippians 2:5.
Did that give you a good laugh? Take a big breath.
<> Is the Bible joking?
Let’s be honest with ourselves. The scriptures are hilarious at times. “Your attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ.” That’s a laughable idea. It’s laughable because I know me. I know my lazy, proud, disrespectful, uncaring, apathetic attitude. I know that I generally sacrifice for one reason alone: me. Even deeper than the initial laugh, Philippians 2:5 causes a certain pang of doubt and frustration deep in my soul. It sounds something like this: “Why tell me I should do something that I know I CAN NOT do?!?” I know without a shadow of a doubt that if and when I have set out and tried to have the same attitude of Jesus Christ, I fail within the first few moments of trying. I am not capable of having Christ’s attitude.
<> Why would the Scriptures command something impossible?
I don’t think this is the only time the scriptures command impossible things for our lives.
Go read 1 Thess. 5:16-17; 1 Peter 1:14-15; Philippians 2:14; Matthew 22:37 and 39.
Those are just a few of many examples where if we honestly read the scripture and take it for face value – our only correct reaction is “Wait, that’s impossible.” So why would God command things that we cannot do? Why would God set the moral behavioral standard for our actions, our attitudes our thoughts and words so high that we can barely even imagine what it would be like to live the way we are commanded to live?
Go read Romans 1:5
Paul uses the phrase “obedience that comes through faith” or the “obedience of faith” depending on what translation you’re reading. As I was recently reading through Romans, this phrase threw me off. Why would Paul’s goal for the gentiles be obedience? That sounds very religious. It doesn’t sound like grace and the cross and the gospel. So I looked up the word in Greek. It’s not a rules or law-based obedience. The most accurate definition of the word would be “to listen attentively”. Paul’s goal for the Gentiles is that they would start listening attentively.
<> Is your obedience rule-based or is it listening attentively?
The phrase gets even better. The faith referenced in Romans 1:5 is specifically the saving faith from a relationship with Jesus based on His gift offered to us in the cross. So, the obedience of faith is listening attentively because the cross convinces us that God is for our good. At every level our obedience is relational in nature. We aren’t glad Christ died on a cross and now trying to follow a list of rules on our own. We are blown away by what Jesus has done for us, and the fact that He keeps working in us to live the way He wants us to live.
<> How does relationship with Jesus actively change your life?
<> How does faith based on the cross change your heart in obedience?
Impossible commands force you to obey by faith. When scripture commands that we do things outside our ability, our only reaction is to hit our knees. God wants us to want Him. He wants us to seek Him relationally. He’s not afraid to command us to live impossibly, if that makes us come running back to Him.