Begin, Spread, Maintain
They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them. But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. (I Peter 2:8-9)
Obedience is a hard topic to discuss, but a much harder lifestyle to maintain. We WANT to be obedient at ALL times, but we honestly do well to be obedient MOST of the time. How do we get from MOST to ALL? This is the question that has plagued mankind since the Garden of Eden. God's Word seems to be central in what it is we are to use as a 'guide' for our actions, but how is it that we actually get the Word of God to produce the right actions within us when our human nature wants something entirely different?
If we look closely, maybe even read between the lines of these verses, we can probably begin to pick up it isn't about what we know, but about who we are in relationship with at ALL times. While the Word of God is our 'manual' of instruction toward obedient actions, the real obedience begins in taking time to get to know the God we serve. Relationship vs. Religion - the two seem similar, but there is a huge difference. Religion demands obedience to the rules. Relationship shows us how to actually incorporate the rules into our lives, so they become 'first nature' to us and our human nature becomes 'second nature'.
Relationship isn't attained through casual contact - it may be attained in a moment, but it is maintained in many moments, each day, without fail. This is where we get a little 'off course' in our lives - we take a moment 'here and there' thinking all will be well in our lives. While any moment with Jesus is going to strengthen our lives, it is the repetitiveness of being together that actually helps us get to know him and understand his ways. It is as we get to know him deeper and get to know his ways better that we find obedience easier and more frequent in our lives.
We are God's holy people, called out of darkness and into light - not just to enjoy the light, but to have that light reflected into the lives of others. In order to do that, we need to allow the relationship we build moment by moment with Jesus to be built into the lives of those we touch moment by moment. Just think how many 'need' light, but who have no idea where to find it - then you come along, and they begin to see something in you that is different from every other relationship they have experienced. Light began with relationship - it is spread by relationship - it is maintained within relationship. Just sayin!