The Privilege of Obligation

Many years ago, my wife and I were attending a wedding out-of-town and having a good time. Our good time was interrupted with bad news when we learned that a family member had been diagnosed with a very serious medical problem. The impacted family member was several hours from where we were and there was nothing apparent that we could do. There would be medical procedures over the coming months, but there was no apparent benefit to traveling there at that point. Except for one thing.

This was relatively early in my experience of walking in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor 13:14, “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”) I had known the grace of Jesus and the love of the Father, but this fellowship of the Holy Spirit was a new experience for me.

In the middle of this new relationship, I felt very compelled by Him to go to pray over the illness. I mean really compelled. It was well within the logistical possibilities, although a bit inconvenient. More than inconvenient, though, I really felt like it would be weird. I mean, my wife and I were enjoying time away and to get in the car to drive several hours at night in order to pray for someone? Seemed weird to me, and I was certain that it would seem weird to others. So we didn’t go.

Months went by until God reminded me in a very powerful way of the opportunity and invitation to follow His prompting. He directed me to Romans 8, 12-14, “Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.”

This new fellowship was born out of the Holy Spirit’s willingness to manifest His power within me (Romans 8:11). But with that power and the honor of God dwelling within us, there is an obligation to be willing to join Him in the life He wants to breathe through us. When we are willing to get beyond the prideful restraint of the flesh and agree with the power and life of the Spirit, we will yield to His leading. When we walk obedient to His leading, then we know that we are children of God.

I regret not driving to pray that night and believe it was an opportunity missed. I also repent of that mindset that protects my reputation and believe that God will redeem this experience in a way that glorifies Him.

2 thoughts on “The Privilege of Obligation

  1. Scott, this story is one I could have written. My first pain as a result of not following the prompting of the Holy Spirit was felt when I was obedient to the HS and recognized the difference. I have no idea what I missed, but it was of God and certainly bigger than my imagination could come up with.

    • The contrast between our ways and His ways are pretty glaring, for sure. Thankfully, He is a redeemer and those choices outside of His invitations can be exchanged for the glory He intended all along. Thanks, Bill.

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