So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran.
A Backwards Kingdom
The Christian faith is full of apparent paradoxes that only resolve when we understand God for who God really is. Consider: the moment you submit your life to Jesus’ way is the moment you are most free.
To obey God—rather than pursuing what you think will make you happy—is precisely what makes you most happy. To be last—that is, to be a servant—is really to be first in the kingdom: a leader. I hope this all strikes you as bizarre, and that you haven’t lost the peculiarity and wonder of our faith.
Intrinsically of Ultimate Value
The shift we must make is to understand that God (understood as triune: one Being existing as three persons) is intrinsically valuable and the ultimate value. Things with intrinsic value are valuable in and of themselves, simply because they exist. Money is not intrinsically valuable—it is only good if it can get us other things. But God is intrinsically valuable, because whether anything else existed, God would be valuable.
But God is not only intrinsically valuable, He is also the ultimate value in all the universe. I’ve had folks ask me how God isn’t a narcissist because He is jealous for His own name and jealous for His own glory. I respond by asking whether it is better to give someone you love a more or less valuable gift. Inevitably, the answer is a more valuable gift. So, how could God be truly loving and worthy of worship if He gave us anything less than Himself, considering He is the most valuable being in all existence?
To Trust and Obey
All that is simply to say this: obeying God is freedom. Obeying God is true joy. I’m never freer and happier than when I’m obeying God, and I’m never more miserable and more empty than when I disobey God. As the great Dallas Willard quipped: “Don’t confuse legalism with obedience.” If life isn’t where you want it, I encourage you to recognize God’s intrinsic value and start with simple obedience.
There are at least five things a disciple of Jesus does:
- Submit to Jesus’ way of life (Luke 9:23)
- Obey Jesus’ commands (John 14:15)
- Love one another, in the community of faith or small group (John 13:35)
- Multiply themselves (John 15:8)
- Abide in Jesus’ Word—way of life and Scripture (John 13:35)
Pick one of those five to start obeying today. Invite someone to partner with you on this journey. After all, when the righteous get called, they get going.
Consider the areas in your life where it’s time to “get going.” Where do you most need to trust the Lord’s leading and obey in respond to His guidance? Don’t forget to thank Him for sharing the ultimate and most valuable gift—Himself—with us.