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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
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His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
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[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
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There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
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Friday, July 03, 2009
The Sting of Obligation
There is a man who while riding home from work determined in his heart to perform an act of kindness to his wife that night. He knew there had been company that day (a kids party, and coffee for the attendant adults), and company last evening so that the supper dishes were set aside. In short, he knew that it was his wife's turn to do the dishes, and that the pile was nigh biblical in proportions, and having set his affection on his wife, he determined to surprise her by immediately doing the dishes when he got home.

As is often the case with such things, he dreamed about how happy this would make her, and relished in the thought all the way home.

When he came in the door, even before he had set aside his working clothes, she accosted him at the door, "I have been waiting all day for you to get home, I am going out - I need a break! - do you think you can do the dishes while I am gone?"

This same man who spent the last half hour waiting impatiently to get home so that he could pour out his generosity on his wife in the act of doing dishes, suddenly has a change of heart. What was to be a generous gift, an opportunity to extend affection and kindness - now smells of obligation. The thought that his wife, whom only moments ago he sought so well to please, now expects some service from him stinks in his nose - that kind soul who was but fifteen minutes ago transported by the raptures of heart in the thought of doing some wonderful service for his wife, is not to be found in the wide-eyed, rebel that presently is chafing under this untimely obligation.

His heart churns within him, "She has turned what was supposed to be an act of affection into an act of servitude, and in doing so, spoiled everything!"

What just happened? Did the work load suddenly change? No, he had planned to do the dishes all the way home. Why then does his heart wring itself over this expectation? Not for the work itself, but because the work is expected of him. If it is his idea, then it is a joy, if it is someone requiring it of him, then it is an unwelcome obligation.

That is what rebellion looks like. It has nothing to do with the request, and everything to do with the heart. The rebellious heart says, "I will not have the Lord rule over me!" - that is the default condition of our flesh. We love to serve the Lord when it suits us to do so because our service is a generosity poured out of a sovereign life - but let us feel the yoke of obligation, and that same service is begrudgingly given, and that with much secret resentment.

Everything about the flesh is ugly and sinful. That is the way the flesh is - it hates to be under the yoke of obligation. It doesn't matter what is expected of it - as long as it is expected to do something, or not do something, it instantly rebels against the yoke.

When we see this about ourselves, we see why we mustn't walk in the flesh, but in the Spirit. The flesh is not just a nest of sinful temptations - it is in rebellion against God, and will not, and cannot be made subject to God. That doesn't mean that we can't obey God, it means that obedience - a "right" obedience - cannot rise up from the flesh. All the flesh will do is rebel against any and all obligation.

Understand this about what you do. The bible tells us to do what we do unto the Lord for a reason. The man, had he set his heart on serving God in doing the dishes, rather than in serving his wife in doing the dishes there would have been no room for an upset when the wife dumped on him. Perhaps he would have even smiled to think that the Lord prepared him for it.

Apply this kind of thinking to your walk. When scripture tells us to do what we do unto the Lord, don't let that just be an empty command, dig into it - taste and see that the Lord's way is good, even perfect.
posted by Daniel @ 7:12 AM  
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