What’s In It For Me?

7 12 2012

I have a stubborn dog. He is cute, and relatively well-behaved. Adopted from a rescue shelter, he has been a part of our family for two years now. Yet, no matter how much training he receives, how many treats are offered, or how much attention is lavished, he still has a stubborn streak.

We were trying to get ready to go. The last to-do before we headed out the door was to put our pup in his crate. My husband called the dog’s name and told him to go to his box. Our dog heard his voice, took measure of the moment, and planted himself on the blue mat under my desk. He was trying to decide if obedience was worth it. ‘What’s in it for me?’ was written all over his face.

I recognize that look.

Everyday God calls for my obedience. In obeying, He protects me, provides for me, teaches me, cares for me, and transforms me. Sometimes I get stubborn. His call to obedience requires me to go somewhere unexpected, or hard, or someplace I just don’t want to go. I dig my feet in and try to decide if obedience is worth it. What will it cost me? Why should I go? What’s in it for me?

We could make a list of all of the blessings and benefits of obedience, but that might mean missing the point. ‘What’s in it for me?’ points my eyes in the wrong direction. It steers my heart to think only of myself. It sets up my benefit as the standard for submission.

Obedience, by its very nature, is a gift that we learn how to give. When we learn to obey God, we are learning to give ourselves away in order to make room for His presence and purpose. It is a step of faith, an act of worship, and an open door to transformation.

My Jesus Resolution today is to see obedience differently. Every opportunity for obedience is a chance to step closer to God’s heart. God will use every act of obedience to bless and transform me, but I want to let go of the ‘what’s in it for me?’ mentality.  Jesus’ life is a gift wrapped in obedience. He whispered, “Not my will, but yours be done,” not for what He could get out of it, but for what He could give by it. Through obedience, He gave Himself away. To me. And to you.


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