Tonight at Beauty for Ashes, Mary shared about obedience. She read I Cor. 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
She then shared the Story of King Josiah that is detailed in II King 22 & 23. He was crowned king at age eight, and unlike the kings before him, he loved God and was trustworthy and loyal to God. She shared how Josiah had ordered for the temple to be cleaned, and found the scroll with God’s Word inscribed. After reading it, he then asked God’s forgiveness, tore down all the idols, and shared what he read.
As she shared, I thought about how this applied to my life now. I reflected back to her initial scripture in I Corinthians. When I came home I dug a little deeper in the Word, reading the story of Josiah from the Word.
Beauty for Ashes is a ministry of restoration and that is exactly what Josiah was working on when he was given the scrolls. He had sent his man to the temple to the priests to find out how much had been collected at the doors for the rebuilding of the temple. Maybe it is just me, but I tried to clean and rebuild my temple on my own too. Man’s efforts fail in comparison to God’s work. When we come to Christ it is because we are led by the Holy Spirit to realize that we are sinners, that our temple needs to be cleaned. By the blood of Christ we are cleaned, not by works.
Just as Josiah did, we begin to renew our mind with the Word of God and begin to realize how far from God our lifestyle really is. Even after we have been saved for decades, God is still working on us, revealing to us deeper changes, deeper levels of obedience that He wants to take us too. This is our Christian walk, daily renewing our mind with the Word.
As he heard the Word, he was convicted. He tore his clothes and repented for what his nation had done. As a nation we are at the point, and have been for some time, that people need to be on their knees before God crying out. We should be repenting for what has been done as we sat idly by and did nothing, and for the things that have occurred even generations before we came along. We need God’s forgiveness for our nation, and in our own personal lives for the things we have placed before Him.
He then tore down the idols and false gods that were in the nation. It is easy for me to think that I have no idols as I do not bow to worship anything other than God. However, anything that I place before Him in my life is a god. There are times in my life I placed myself and my own desires before God. There are times I have placed my children, my spouse, or my family before God. There are times I have placed work before God. I realized those things must come down. I must re-prioritize anything that I would place before Christ and rid my life of things that have no place there.
I also have to realize that this was a process in the nation, it didn’t happen overnight, and in my life it will not likely happen overnight either. If I am obedient when God shows me things that don’t belong, and if I put Him first place, He will honor my obedience. I can not get wrapped up in the length of time it takes, only in being obedient to each step of the process of removing these false gods and idols.
And then Josiah shared with the leaders and the people saving them from the destruction that God had promised to those who didn’t obey. Sometimes in my life, I realize that this is the hardest step, sharing my faults, the struggles, and ultimately the work of God in my life going through those times. It is much easier to wear a mask that all is okay, than to be vulnerable with others. However, it is in our weakness that Christ is made strong. It is in our times of trials and failures that God comes through that can be encouraging to others. It is in sharing the Word, and how alive it really is that lives are transformed.
Obedience isn’t easy. One of the other women at the meeting shared how she was an obedient child, or thought she was, until really she realized that she was going through the motions of obedience. God sees the motives and heart behind our actions. Obedience is more than doing what you are told to do. There is grace as we begin our walk, in doing the right thing even though we don’t feel it. There is even grace given when we admit to God that our motives are wrong and need more of Him. However, when we come to the day of judgement we will not get credit for works done with ill motives and bad attitudes. God doesn’t see those works. Obedience is also a heart thing.