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Is It That Simple?

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Lately I’ve been reading through the book of Matthew. Jesus tells a lot of parables to try to get the people to understand his message. Sometimes when I read it, it seems like he’s telling the people the same stuff over and over…and they just don’t get it. It seems so simple, yet so difficult. Jesus is just trying to get them to listen to him and follow God’s commands. But they have their own ideas, want to be in control and have a hard time accepting something different than what they know. I normally take each parable on its own…there is meaning to each one. But when I look at them as a whole Jesus is really saying the same things…believe in God, serve only Him, love each other. But there is still a lot of confusion…even for the disciples that walked and talked with Jesus daily.

This idea really struck me yesterday. Funny how life with a toddler can teach you a lot. Yesterday was one of those days where it seemed like Rebecca did not listen to/hear a single word I said. I could repeat 10 times in a row not to touch the ornaments on the tree, but she would not take her hands off. Or I would ask her to come to get her shoes on when it was time to go away…but she would not come. Or at gymnastics she was so distracted by the other kids that she could not pay attention to the teacher, me or what she should be doing. No matter how loudly I spoke, she didn’t even turn in my direction. It was like I wasn’t even there. I got frustrated because it seemed like such a simple thing…listen to what I’m saying and obey. Don’t worry about what the other kids are doing (running away, being silly, etc.), focus on what you are supposed to be doing. I know you might want to keep playing or touch things that are fascinating, but Mommy knows what’s best right now. And as I was reading my Bible it dawned on me that we often act like toddlers when it comes to our Christian life. We read the Bible, but it goes in one ear and out the other. We know God’s commands and yet we don’t always follow them. We worry so much about what other people are doing/what other people think that we don’t think about what God has called us to do. God speaks, but we drown him out and keep doing what we want to do. We have such a simple task…to listen and obey God. And yet we make it so difficult.

In one of my recent devotional emails it talked about obeying God. Here is what it said about obedience:

God smiles when we obey him wholeheartedly. That means doing whatever God asks without reservation or hesitation. You don’t procrastinate and say, “I’ll pray about it.” You do it without delay. Every parent knows that delayed obedience is really disobedience.
 God doesn’t owe you an explanation or reason for everything he asks you to do. Understanding can wait, but obedience can’t. Instant obedience will teach you more about God than a lifetime of Bible discussions. In fact, you will never understand some commands until you obey them first. Obedience unlocks understanding.

Often we try to offer God partial obedience. We want to pick and choose the commands we obey. We make a list of the commands we like and obey those while ignoring the ones we think are unreasonable, difficult, expensive, or unpopular. I’ll attend church but I won’t tithe. I’ll read my Bible but won’t forgive the person who hurt me. Yet partial obedience is disobedience.

Wholehearted obedience is done joyfully, with enthusiasm. The Bible says, “Obey him gladly.” (Psalm 100:2 LB)
 This is the attitude of David: “Just tell me what to do and I will do it, Lord. As long as I live I’ll wholeheartedly obey.” (Psalm 119:33 LB)

James, speaking to Christians, said, “We please God by what we do and not only by what we believe.” (James 2:24 CEV)

God’s Word is clear that you can’t earn your salvation. It comes only by grace, not your effort. But as a child of God you can bring pleasure to your heavenly Father through obedience. Any act of obedience is also an act of worship.

Why is obedience so pleasing to God? Because it proves you really love him. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.” (John 14:15 TEV)
God wants us to listen and obey. Simple, right? Yes, but also not really. But we must try. As someone that struggles with OCD this is especially tough for me. To totally give up control and obey God. But I know that if I do God has great things planned and can fully use me. So I will try. Simple or not.


  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m not sure if I understand. You talk about obeying God, yet you are blatantly disobeying God by using unnatural methods (fertility treatments) to get pregnant. By not getting pregnant, wasn’t that God’s way of telling you that He had other plans for you? By taking matters into your own hands, or rather the hands of science, aren’t you disobeying God?
    I’m not trying to be contrary, but as a devout Catholic, I’ve struggled with my own infertility issues and have often wondered about obeying God vs. using science to manipulate things.

  2. Mary Voogt says:

    Please read my post about What IVF is. No, it is not taking matters into your own hands. Doctors do not make babies. That’s impoossible. By doing IVF I am in no way making myself get pregnant. No matter what you try, it is all in God’s hands. If God didn’t want me to have children, no amount of help from a doctor would have mattered. I know everyone has a different opinion on the topic, but I believe that God is the creator of life. No matter what. And he has also given us the ability to learn and use science and medicine. And there is no way anyone can tell me my beautiful daughter is not meant to be here. God made her…just the same way he made all other children. He knit her in my womb. Please look around and introduce yourself. Feel free to email me if you’d like to discuss it further or would like to understand better what fertility treatments are all about.


  3. Anonymous says:

    I, too, believe that God is the creator of life. While he may have knit your daughter in your womb, I do not see how you say he created her when she was first created in a test tube by doctors. I find it amusing that you say God gave us the ability to learn and advance science when it suits your need of justifying an unnatural way of combatting your infertility. Yet you don’t take advantage of the knowledge and science He has given us to process our foods or create genetically modified foods. In both cases, one is using science to manipulate the natural way. How are you ok with one and not the other?

  4. The Voogts says:

    Seems pretty silly to me to make such bold statements about a topic you obviously know nothing about. There was no test tube involved in the conception of my children (contrary to what you’ve heard who knows where). A human can not be created twice (in a lab and in a body). And no human being (doctor or otherwise) can create life. Plain and simple. Your arguments really make no sense to me. And you are saying contradictory things.

    My blog is not a debate board about IVF. It is about my story and my desire to obey God and be a source of help to others. I feel that going through IVF has been one of the most obedient things I’ve ever done and has brought me closer to God than I had ever imagined. If you have a different opinion that’s fine. But don’t come here and tell me I’m wrong. That is not how I believe a Christian should act. Or if you want to be an adult and actually introduce yourself I am always happy to have an adult conversation about a very serious topic.

    I am a Christian and believe that God is the creator of life. God gives us tools to use. Some use them for good, others for bad. Just because God gives us science it doesn’t mean everyone uses it for good (i.e. GMO). But it also doesn’t mean everyone uses it for evil (i.e. a loving couple strongly desiring children).

    As I’ve said before, doctors do not create life. It’s IMPOSSIBLE. God is the only one that can do that. When HE decided to implant an embryo in my uterus, that is when life was created.

    Please educate yourself on the topic and contact me if you want to have a real discussion. Otherwise please refrain from commenting on my blog. This is not what it’s for.

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