Following Jesus as His disciple requires total trust and obedience. This “all-in” relationship with God is illustrated by three different images in our Scripture passages today. Let’s look at them in reverse chronological order…
Child: “I Want to Be Like You”
In the best relationships between child and parent, small children are not only dependent on their parent(s) for their basic needs, but they also admire and desire to be like their parent(s). We see this in statements from a child to his/her parent(s): “When I grow up, I want to be just like you.”
In Ephesians, Paul reminds the believers in Christ to totally depend on (trust in) God and to totally desire (obey) God like little children with their parent(s): “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children…” (5:1). Dependence (trust) and desire (obedience) affect every attitude and area of the Christ-follower’s life so that the people around the disciple begin to see the family resemblance in the things we do and the things we avoid (5:8).
Sheep: “The Lord is my Shepherd”
In our second passage, David demonstrates this “all-in” attitude again as he compares his relationship with God to a sheep that totally depends on and trusts the shepherd for everything he needs. Provision, protection, peace… it all comes from trusting and following the good and faithful Shepherd! This is a great song (psalm) to memorize so that we remember to praise God for His “goodness and mercy” all the days of our lives.
1 Samuel 15:22-31
Soldier: “To obey is better than sacrifice.”
Our final Scripture passage today is a stark and sobering reminder that God is a leader (Commander) who demands total obedience from His followers (soldiers). Saul thought he could pick and choose which parts of the God’s instructions (through Samuel) to obey. Saul did not fully obey the Lord’s instructions and discovered that there were very serious consequences for his disobedience. Saul forfeited the blessing of God and His position as king because he was a “selective soldier” instead of a “surrendered soldier.” The Lord is still looking for fully surrendered soldiers who will follow Him and His instructions without compromise.
Today, through this Lenten season, and every day, let’s determine to be “all-in” for Jesus. Let’s live like a child, a sheep, and a soldier – totally dependent on our Leader, and desiring to please Him and become like Him in every way.
“Trust and obey, for there’s no other way…”
Rev. Kyle Poole – Lead Pastor Midland Valley Community Church of the Nazarene – Clearwater, SC