Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Responsibility Of The Presence

I must be honest, the word responsibility has always made me cringe a bit. It is a word that carries with it the idea of duty and obligation rather than whimsical freedom, and that alone can cause the sour response. Sometimes it may carry a reward, but most often the reward is simply an inducement or the byproduct of carrying out the task. Like some people say that the reward for a job well done is.... more work. Responsibility is just that; work. So tying responsibility to the presence of God can cause a bit of a reaction. The reaction usually comes from my free gift, grace side of things and wants to accuse me of legalism and a works based salvation. I'm OK with that.

This sense of responsibility really struck me last night when I heard a speaker bring up the Matthew 7:23 passage where Jesus confronts the issue of works. Here He says that even some real good works are not the key and implies that it is knowing God that is the key. From here the speaker took us to 1 John 4:7-8 and said that love is the true test. Loving your enemies and praying for those who hate you is a true test of the knowledge and power of God in our lives. Loving the brethren (and the sistern by implication, of course) is also a test of our salvation. Ouch, maybe we should call it an acid test. Anyway, the point that I got from this was that the presence of God bears with it a responsibility. If I want the presence of God then I will have to love others. It will be impossible to walk in the presence of God and be hating others. It is ongoing as well. When I am at work and someone gets under my skin I must choose whether I want the presence of God or not. If I do then love must rule. The 'must' simply means that I cannot do this without God and therefore His presence and love are synonymous. You can't have one without the other. Call it works if you want, but James was OK with that as well. I think this is what he was getting at anyway. Ever try loving someone who bugs you without the active presence of God; eewwww. Faith in God demands things that are beyond our own abilities. Faith in God brings His presence, obedience to His presence sustains us in all things. Disobedience to His presence unplugs us, and the evidence of a Christian with a dangling plug is painfully evident. Thankfully He continues to woo us to repentance and the partaking of the Divine nature once again.
So really responsibility isn't so bad, just when I try to do it without God. Living without His presence is what is truly unbearable.
I don't think this short post does this justice, but I don't want to write a dissertation here and maybe it'll spark some thought; that's good enough.